OLYMPIAN Mark Cavendish and his wife were attacked by armed raiders who broke into his home in front of their children.
The cycling legend was recovering at home in Essex from significant injuries he suffered in a crash when the horror unfolded last month.
Four intruders broke into the house, where his wife Peta Todd and two children were inside at the tiem.
Police said they threatened ex-Page 3 girl Peta with a knife before assaulting Tour de France hero Mark.
The masked thugs then made off with a Luis Vuitton suitcase and two high-value watches.
Thankfully no one was seriously injured but police said the family have been left "shaken" by the raid on November 27.
Mark said in a statement: “As I’m sure you will understand, this incident has left our family extremely distressed – not just myself and Peta but our children as well, who feared for their lives and are now struggling with the after-effects.
"No one should have to experience the sort of violence and threats made against us, let alone this happening in a family home – a place where everyone should feel safe.
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“The items taken are simply material goods and our priority at the moment is to make sure we all recover from the incident as a family, and we know this is likely to take some time.
“We would like to place on record our thanks to Essex Police for a really quick response and the professionalism and the focus they are clearly putting into the investigation.”
Mark crashed with Lasse Norman Hansen in a nasty incident in teh final event of the Ghent Six on November 21.
His wife has begged anyone with any information to come forwards and speak to police.
Peta added: "Amongst what was taken were two watches of great sentiment and value.
"But far, far worse to be taken was the sense of security, safety, privacy and dignity that our young family and everybody else is entitled to intheir own home.
"The effect that this nightmare has had on our family is already heart breakingly evident."
Essex Police have now released CCTV images of the attackers, who are being hunted.
Detective Inspector Tony Atkin, who is the senior investigating officer, said: “This was undoubtedly a targeted incident at the home of a celebrated British Olympian, who at the time was recovering from significant injuries resulting from a crash whilst competing, which was well publicised.
"Our investigation is moving along at pace and we are following a number of lines of inquiry as we seek to catch those responsible.
“Mr Cavendish and his wife were assaulted and threatened in their own home, in the presence of their young children, who witnessed these events. Thankfully, they are recovering, but the traumatic effect will be long standing.
“Today, we are releasing images of the people captured on CCTV fleeing the scene and we would urge anyone who recognises them to get in contact with us immediately."
The force has also shared pictures of the designer watches in the hope they can lead officers to the culprits.
They are urging anyone offered one of the timepieces or the high-end bags to get in touch.
DI Atkin added: “We know an incident such as this will naturally cause a lot of concern within the community.
“There will continue to be a visible policing presence in the area as our investigations progress in the coming days.”
Mark suffered two broken ribs and a collapsed lung in a crash at the Six Days of Ghent in November.
Anyone who was in the Ongar area between 2am and 2.40am on 27 November and saw anybody acting suspiciously can call police on 101 quoting reference 42/275184/21.
More to follow…
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