‘Cav’ catches Virgin Trains’ cab to Tour de Yorkshire launch.(Virgin Trains)

Mark Cavendish in Virgin Trains’ driving seat en route to the Tour de Yorkshire route launch.(Virgin Trains Image)

World Champion cyclist Mark Cavendish MBE has swapped his famous sprint finishes on his bike for the ride of a lifetime with Virgin Trains.

“Cav”, as the winner of 30 stages of the Tour de France is known to cycle fans across the world, is a regular user of Virgin Trains.

The former Sports Personality Winner of the Year was whisked up to the full route launch for the Tour de Yorkshire 2018 cycle race yesterday while sitting alongside the driver of a Virgin Trains service which reached 125mph.

Mark said:

“The speed of the train was fantastic and the views you get from the front cab of a train are amazing. It was a great experience and, although I travel with Virgin Trains a lot, I’ve never previously appreciated just how quickly the trains move.

“I was also delighted to be invited to help launch next year’s Tour de Yorkshire route. My family are from Yorkshire and it’s such a passionate area for cycling.”

Mark, who hopes to join the Tour de Yorkshire next year, is also now planning to experience what it’s like to drive what will become one of the UK’s fastest ever trains.

Natasha Wilding, General Manager for Virgin Trains on its east coast route, explained:

“After giving him the chance to get the views from our cab, Cav is now keen to experience what it’s like to actually drive one of our trains.

“So, we are now arranging for Cav to drive one of our new Virgin Azuma driver simulators so that he can experience what it will be like for our drivers when they introduce our fantastic new fleet of Azuma trains into passenger service from December 2018.

“Our 65 Virgin Azumas will bring greater speed, acceleration, comfort and increased capacity to travellers across our east coast route.

“In the meantime, Virgin Trains is proud to sponsor the King and Queen of the Mountain for the Tour de Yorkshire 2018 – and to welcoming people on-board as they travel to one of the top events in the UK sporting calendar.”

The fourth edition of the race has been expanded from three to four stages and will take place between 3-6 May 2018.

Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said:

“We know how proud Mark Cavendish is of his family hailing from Yorkshire, and it was great that he could join us to launch the route for the Tour de Yorkshire 2018 by travelling up to the county with help from one of the Tour’s major sponsors, Virgin Trains. 

“Last year’s race attracted 2.2 million spectators and generated £64 million for the local economy, and now that is has been extended from three to four days, the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire promises to be the biggest and best one yet.”