A man has admitted robbing cyclist Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta at their Ongar home.

Ali Sesay, 28, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to robbing Cavendish of a watch, phone and safe, and to robbing the athlete’s wife of a watch, phone and suitcase.

The defendant, of Holding Street, Rainham, east London, had previously denied the two charges but changed his pleas to guilty at a hearing on Wednesday.

Cavendish, a Team GB medallist and Tour de France green jersey winner, and his wife were threatened at their home at about 2.35am on November 27 last year.

Mark Cavendish burgledOne of the watches stolen in a robbery at the home of Mark Cavendish (Essex Police/PA)

Essex Police said no-one sustained serious injuries, but Cavendish said in a statement that his family were “extremely distressed” and “feared for their lives”.

The force said a Louis Vuitton suitcase and two high-value watches were stolen.

Two more defendants, 31-year-old Romario Henry and Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, deny two counts of robbery and are due to stand trial from January 3.

Mark Cavendish burgledA Louis Vuitton suitcase stolen in the robbery (Essex Police/PA)

Henry, of Bell Green, Lewisham, south-east London and Okorosobo, of Flaxman Road, Camberwell, south London, are both remanded in custody.

Judge Mary Loram QC, remanding Sesay in custody, told him that his sentencing would be adjourned until the outcome of the trial of the other two defendants.

The bearded defendant, who appeared by video-link from HMP Thameside, told the judge: “No problem, thank you.”