CYCLIST Mark Cavendish and his wife were attacked by armed raiders who broke into his home in front of their children.
The Olympic legend was recovering at home in Essex from significant injuries he suffered in a crash when the horror unfolded.
Four intruders broke into his house where his two children and wife Peta Todd were at the time armed with a knife.
Police said they threatened ex-Page 3 girl Peta 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.
“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.”
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...
For the latest news on this story keep checking back at Sun Online.
Thesun.co.uk is your go to destination for the best celebrity news, football news, real-life stories, jaw-dropping pictures and must-see video.
Download our fantastic, new and improved free App for the best ever Sun Online experience. For iPhone click here, for Android click here.