Is this the photo that sparked Mark Cavendish raid? Olympic champ seen smiling with £2m sapphire watch before robbery

A PHOTO of Mark Cavendish posing at a glitzy GQ Awards bash could have sparked a terrifying raid at his home.

The cyclist and wife Peta, 36, were targeted at home in Ongar, Essex, in November 2021 in a “planned invasion”.

GettyMark Cavendish was pictured wearing a rare sapphire watch before the raid[/caption]

The Richard Mille £2million timepiece could be behind the raid, police believeGetty

Masked robbers made off with £700,000 worth of goods including two Richard Mille watches.

Romario Henry, 31, was yesterday convicted of two counts of robbery. Accomplice Ali Sesay, 28, previously admitted the same charges.

Police now believe the crooks could have targeted Cavendish after seeing him wearing a rare sapphire Richard Mille watch.

The photo at the 2021 GQ Men of the Year Awards shows the dapper Olympian wearing the rare £2million timepiece.

Cavendish is an ambassador for the Swiss brand and had been loaned the sapphire watch for the evening.

The robbers were said to have been “very specific about a watch” after they forced their way into the home.

They had burst into the couple’s rural home on November 27, 2021 – two months after the award ceremony in London.

Peta had gone to investigate a noise downstairs when she heard men’s voices.

She wept as she revealed how she yelled at her cyclist husband to “get back” as the gang started running towards her.

The former model said Cavendish was violently attacked by the robbers, who “dragged him from his feet and started punching him”.

Peta added: “One of the men got him in a headlock and one held a large black knife to his throat. It was serrated.

“They said, ‘Where’s the watches’ and, ‘Do you want me to stab you up in front of your kid?’”

She also told jurors how she shielded their son after seeing the balaclava-clad men during her “worst nightmare”.

The robbers eventually made off with two Richard Mille watches worth £400,000 and £300,000.

They also stole the empty safe, three phones and a Louis Vuitton suitcase.

Sesay, 28, admitted his part in the raid after his DNA was found on Peta’s mobile that had been ditched at the scene.

Henry, 31, was convicted of two counts of robbery for his part in the raid, while co-defendant Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, was cleared of the same charges.

Two more suspects, Jo Jobson and George Goddard, are still on the loose.

Peta and Cavendish said in a joint statement following the verdict: “Reliving our family’s experience from that night in November 2021 has been an incredibly difficult experience.

“What happened that night is something that no family should ever have to go through.

“Although nothing can ever erase what our family went through, there is now some comfort that two men who broke into our family home and stole from us, assaulted Mark and terrified our children are now convicted and will be facing what we hope will be an appropriate sentence for their actions, and we hope moves some steps in preventing this horror happening to another innocent family.”

Henry and Sesay will be sentenced on February 7.

GettyThe couple were at home when the raiders burst in[/caption]

PAThe gang hid their faces to carry out the audacious robbery[/caption]

PAThe intruders made off with Peta’s £300,000 watch[/caption]

PAThey also took Mark’s £400,000 timepiece[/caption]

PAHenry, left, was convicted of robbery while Okorosobo was cleared[/caption]

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