Tour de France 2013: Crash leaves Mark Cavendish too exhausted for final sprint

 

with the Tour de France

Britain's Mark Cavendish failed to take a widely expected second straight stage victory following a crash in the final hour of racing and was forced instead to settle for fourth place behind the German winner André Greipel in Montpellier.

With his National Champion's jersey ripped and blackened with road grime, Cavendish sped into the final kilometre in the middle of the main pack of sprinters. Clearly in danger of being blocked, he accelerated through the front end of the bunch as the final surge for the line began. But after having to weave past a rider fading out of the sprint depleted Cavendish's energy reserves even further, the Briton's drive for the line sagged in the crucial last metres.

Even while Greipel was raising his arms in the air, Cavendish was already easing back, implicitly recognising that this time he was about to experience a rare sprint defeat. Although it is all too frequent for riders to touch wheels and go flying in the fraught, high-paced first week finales of the Tour, sitting at the foot of his team bus stairs – his default position for discussing defeats with the press – Cavendish said that on this occasion it was pure bad luck that he went down with around 35 kilometres to go.

"I came out a roundabout, it was tight coming out and my front wheel went from under me and I ended up on the ground," he said.

Asked if it had cost him the win, Cavendish said: "Not necessarily a factor, but it took a lot of energy to get back and André is a very good sprinter." He was, he said, "very disappointed," but pointed out that the team had ridden well and he already had a win in the bag. "It's okay," Cavendish concluded, "you just have to accept it."

"I think the crash really took it out of him, he's not at 100 percent," Cavendish's team-mate Michael Kwiatkowski said. "It's a pity he didn't win but we must remember we still have many stages to go."

Cavendish's last bad crash in the Tour came at stage four's bunch finish sprint to Rouen last year, when a rider skidded on a discarded plastic bottle and Cavendish fell heavily in the middle of the pack. That was the third in a season which had started with one big crash in Qatar and was followed by another when a dangerous manoeuvre in the Giro d'Italia by rival Roberto Ferrari saw Cavendish poleaxed at 60 kmh again. Following a much more accident-free start to the 2013 season, today was a brutal reminder of how fine a line between fortune and disaster it is that Cavendish and the remainder of the Tour peloton are riding.

Whilst Cavendish looks certain to continue racing, albeit battered and bruised, the high speeds and crashes of the Tour's first week are beginning to take their toll amongst the general classification contenders.

Greipel's Belgian team-mate Jurgen van den Broeck, twice fourth overall in the Tour, failed to start after badly injuring his right knee in a late pile-up on Wednesday and 2012 Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal has been racing with a broken rib since the big crash on the very first stage. Slovenian Janez Brajkovic, ninth overall last year, crossed the line over 10 minutes down with blood pouring down his chin after crashing in the last kilometres.

The yellow jersey, meanwhile, remains in the possession of Australian squad Orica-GreenEdge, but is now held by Daryl Impey, the first South African to lead the Tour in the race's history thanks to his better placing in the sprint than overnight leader and team-mate Simon Gerrans. "We'll try and hold it until the mountains," Impey said, with today's rolling stage to Albi, looming fast on the horizon.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Application Support - Enterprise Java, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A well-established financial soft...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape