• Tour de France

Cavendish out of Tour de France

ESPN staff
July 6, 2014
Mark Cavendish gingerly crosses the finish line after crashing on the final straight of the opening stage © Getty Images

Mark Cavendish's Tour de France is over after he suffered a dislocated shoulder during a dramatic crash on the final straight of the opening stage.

Cavendish boarded his Omega - Pharma Quickstep team bus early on Sunday morning, despite having little sleep due to the extent of his injury. It was then deemed he was unfit to ride in Sunday's second stage - a 201-kilometre route between York and Sheffield - and, as a result, he has been withdrawn from the event.

He addressed the media on Sunday and said he was "absolutely devastated" over the crash and revealed he may need surgery on the injury.

The team also confirmed Cavendish will speak to the media ahead of the start of the second stage.

Cavendish was looking to claim his first Tour yellow jersey with a fairytale win in his mother's home town of Harrogate, after the race had kicked off in Leeds on Saturday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with Prince Harry watch as Mark Cavendish falls from his bike near the finish line © Getty Images

However, as the race geared up for a hotly-contested sprint finish, Cavendish was sent sprawling to the tarmac after touching wheels with Orica-Greenedge rider Simon Gerrans as they jostled for position in the final 300m. Marcel Kittel went on to win the 190.5km stage, finishing with a time of 4:44:07.

Cavendish, who lies joint-third on the all-time list for Tour de France stage wins with 25, was seen clutching his shoulder in anguish but was helped back onto his bike and crossed the finish line to a warm round of applause a few minutes after the Peloton.

He was then taken to hospital for tests, which showed he had avoided a fracture, though his team later revealed he had dislocated the joint connecting his collarbone and shoulder blade.

Cavendish said: "I'm gutted about the crash today. It was my fault. I will personally apologise to Simon Gerrans as soon as I get the chance.

"In reality, I tried to find a gap that wasn't really there. I wanted to win today, I felt really strong and was in a great position to contest the sprint thanks to the unbelievable efforts of my team. Sorry to all the fans that came out to support. It was truly incredible."

After the race, Cavendish's lead-out man Mark Renshaw had said: "He's not in great shape but in saying that I am sure he will be OK. He's a tough guy."

Patrick Lefevre, Cavendish's team boss at Omega Pharma - QuickStep, said: "He was very impatient. He wanted to win. He has already done this sprint 100 times in his head before.

"It's his home tour. He was very focused, maybe too much. He was so sure to win that he probably made a mistake. Gerrans came next to him, slowed down, he wanted to get out, and [Mark] pushed him with his shoulder. Gerrans pushed back and boom, they crashed."

Chris Froome got his defence off to the perfect start by finishing safely in sixth position, four seconds behind Giant-Shimano's Kittel who held off fellow sprinter Peter Sagan. Lithuania's Raimundas Navardauskas took third place.

Kittel said afterwards: "It was so, so hard up the last little hill until the 1km sign. We rode like in a tunnel it was so unbelievably loud, the fans were cheering.

"My boys did an amazing job, they rode so, so strong. I felt so motivated, I had good legs today and I'm so, so happy with this win. I still can't believe it. It's unreal, it's so great."

Of Cavendish's crash, Kittel added: "That's very disappointing. I hope it's not too bad and hope he gets well soon."

Cavendish missed out on becoming the seventh man after Tom Simpson, Chris Boardman, Sean Yates, David Millar, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Froome to wear the yellow jersey.

The Grand Depart was held in Yorkshire for the first time with a ceremonial start seeing the Duchess of Cambridge cut the ribbon. An estimated 285,000 people crammed into Leeds to watch the race begin.

It was just the second time the Tour has kicked off in Britain, with the 2007 Grand Depart taking place in London, and the fourth time overall that stages have been held in the country.

Stage One result:

1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano, 4:44:07
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale, "
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit) Garmin-Sharp, "
4. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar, "
5. Mick Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo, +4secs
6. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, "
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha, "
8. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin, "
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar, "
10. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge, "

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