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Manx stars attend Dave Rayner Fund Dinner

Mark Cavendish joined a stellar line-up of British Tour de France stage winners at the 14th Anniversary Dave Rayner Fund Dinner in Harrogate on Saturday night.

Four hundred and seventy people packed the grand dining hall to enjoy the Tour memories of Cavendish, Chris Boardman, Barry Hoban, Michael Wright and the main guest of honour, Frenchman Raymond Poulidor.

Poulidor was invited by friend and Rayner Fund President Brian Robinson, who was the first British Tour stage winner back in 1958.

When Cav got up to speak he said his Giro d'Italia stage wins were the point in his sprinting career when he learned how to position himself better, which helped when it came to the Tour de France.

Asked which he considered to be the best of his four Tour wins, he said: "The first. For any sprinter I think that first win holds the most for them." He then related, "Once I'd got my job done with a stage win the others came easily."

This was quickly picked up by British Eurosport commentator David Harmon: "You say easily?" to which a bashful Cavendish clarified his statement with: "Well, easier".

Fellow Manxman Jonny Bellis was also on hand to help with the auction of his signed CSC-Saxo Bank jersey, which added over £200 to the night's fund-raising total.

(Picture: Mark Cavendish crosses the line for his third Tour de France stage win).

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