Champion cyclist Mark Cavendish is bringing a touch of the FIFA World Cup to the Tour de France with a pair of cleats which look more at home on the football field than the peloton.
Inspired by the famous Mercurial R9 worn by Brazilian great Ronaldo at the 1998 World Cup in France, Nike have transformed the iconic football boot design into a high performance cycling shoe.
The man known as the ‘Manx Missile’ is a diehard football fan and jumped at the chance to pay homage to the design which first wowed him as a teenager.
"20 years ago, during France 98, I saw Ronaldo wearing the first Mercurial. Immediately I wanted them,” Cavendish said.
“Those R9 Mercurials started my obsession 20 years ago.
“It’s a dream for me to wear these at 33 just as it was when I was 13."
It isn’t the first time the Data Dimension team rider has teamed up with Nike for a football inspired cleat.
Earlier this year Cavendish donned a pair of bright orange cleats based on the same Mercurial Superfly boots worn by Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
The 33 year old has 30 career stage wins at the Tour de France and will be out to break Belgian legend Eddie Merckx record of 34 victories during this year’s race.