Manx superstar cyclist Mark Cavendish and his wife were robbed at knifepoint by a masked gang, while one of their children was hidden under bed covers, a court in England heard yesterday.

The armed robbers threatened to stab the cyclist, as Mr Cavendish’s wife, Peta, hid their three-year-old son under the duvet in their bedroom to stop him seeing the robbery.

The intruders, wearing balaclavas, made off with two Richard Mille watches, worth £400,000 and £300,000 respectively, during the incident in Ongar, Essex.

Edward Renvoize, opening for the prosecution at Chelmsford crown court, said Mr Cavendish and his wife were in bed with their three-year-old in the early hours of November 27, 2021 , when they were awoken by noises.

The cyclist, who was recovering from injuries at the time, thought he could hear male voices and people walking around in the house', Mr Renvoize said.

His wife went down to investigate, thinking she could hear voices coming from the kitchen.

'She was next aware of figures of people running towards her,' Mr Renvoize said.

'She ran back up the stairs, shouting for her husband to get back into the bedroom.” Cavendish then looked for a panic alarm and set it off, the court heard.

The jury was told that some of the raiders then 'jumped on' Mr Cavendish, and began punching him in an attempt to get him to turn the alarm off.

Mr Renvoize said: “One produced a knife and threatened to stab him up in front of his children. At this point there were three in the room and they began asking where the watches were.

'There was a safe in the room and [Mark] was ordered to open it.'

However, the battery on the safe appeared to have gone flat, and Mr Cavendish told the group it was empty after a previous burglary.

Meanwhile, his wife was 'keeping her three-year-old son under the duvet to prevent him seeing the ordeal in the bedroom', the court was told. She tried to use her phone to call the police, but one of the robbers grabbed it from her. Renvoize said the assailants collected all the phones from the bedroom.

At this point, Peta was 'asked for the watch' and Mark 'pointed to his watch on the windowsill'.

'One of the intruders said, "that’s not it",' said the prosecutor, who added that it was a Richard Mille piece valued at £400,000. He said that Peta’s watch, also a Richard Mille and valued at £300,000, was also taken.

One of the group then came into the bedroom with a Louis Vuitton suitcase. They then ordered the gates to be opened, and left, taking the phones, suitcases and watches with them, the court heard.

One of the phones was dropped outside the property, which detectives examined for DNA evidence. It was matched to Ali Sesay, aged 28, of Rainham in east London, who has already pleaded guilty to robbery, the jury was told.

Mr Renvoize told jurors that police “were able to identify a number of other individuals who appeared to have been in communication with a telephone belonging to Sesay”.

Romario Henry, 31, of Lewisham, and Oludewa Okorosobo, of Camberwell, deny two counts of robbery. They are accused of robbing Mr Cavendish of a watch, a phone and a safe, and his wife of a watch, phone and suitcase.

The trial, which is estimated to last two weeks, continues.

Mark Cavendish was born in Douglas and who grew up in the Isle of Man.

He is regarded as one of the best sprint cyclists of all time, and won BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2011. He was awarded an MBE in the same year, and married Peta two years later.