Cavendish avoids injury mishap

2012-07-04 21:25

Rouen - Britain's Mark Cavendish avoided injury, and the possible end of his Olympic dream, after surviving a crash at the end of the Tour de France fourth stage on Wednesday.

The Team Sky rider, a favourite for Olympic road race gold in London on July 28, got his Tour campaign off to a great start after sprinting to victory on stage two on Monday.

But on the second ideal stage for a bunch sprint, Cavendish was one of seven or eight riders caught in a pile-up which appeared to have been caused by a fall from South African Robert Hunter.

The Isle of Man sprinter got back on his bike to finish the 214 km stage from Abbeville to Rouen, but was well out of contention for a bunch sprint won by German rival Andre Greipel ahead of Italian Alessandro Petacchi.

Cavendish got back to his team bus an angry man, but will live to fight another day according to Sky principal Dave Brailsford.

"I can't repeat what he said when he came into the bus," Brailsford told French television.

"Mark's lost a bit of skin but it's not bad. He's in a little pain but he's okay."

Brailsford seemed more concerned about Cavendish's roommate and key sprint helper Bernhard Eisel of Austria.

"Bernie has a big hole above his eye and he's getting treatment as we speak."

The race's medical report later said Eisel had received stitches to the cut on his forehead and that Cavendish had suffered "multiple grazes".

Cavendish appeared upbeat after posting on his Twitter site: "Ouch... crash at 2.5 km to finish today (Wednesday). Taken some scuffs to my left side, but I've bounced pretty well again. Congrats to @Andre Greipel."

However Sky sports director Sean Yates admitted he would rather not see his riders hitting the deck at speed.

"It was certainly not what we wanted to see," he said.

"The lead-up to a sprint is very dangerous and we see this kind of thing time and time again. Nobody wants to see crashes for anybody and we were among the victims again today.

"There wasn't a lot of room there in the bunch. At that speed with a touch of wheels, before you know it you are lying on the deck.

"The guys are battered and bruised but they will fight on. These guys are tough. We saw Cav jump back up after his accident at the Giro."

Although Cavendish is regarded as the fastest man on two wheels and came into the race with 20 stage wins, Team Sky are focusing all their efforts on Bradley Wiggins' bid for the yellow jersey.

Wiggins, who crashed out on stage seven last year, finished safely with all the race contenders to sit 7sec behind leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, who is not a yellow jersey contender.

His main rival, Australia's defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) is seventh overall at a further 10secs off the pace.