Tour of Britain 2014: Mark Cavendish third despite latest crash

Marcel Kittel emerged as the winner of the opening stage

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The Independent Online

Mark Cavendish recovered from a crash to take third place in the opening stage of the Tour of Britain, behind Germany’s Marcel Kittel and Nicola Ruffoni of Italy. Cavendish was taken to hospital last night after injuring his leg crashing into a car as he was paced back to the peleton following a toilet stop, but he was still able to sprint to a podium place into a headwind at the end of the 64-mile stage over eight laps around the streets of Liverpool.

His reaction after the race was that his leg was “f******”  but last night it appeared that unlike his fall in the opening stage of the Tour de France, he would be able to continue.

The expected showdown between Kittel and Cavendish never materialised as the 29-year-old Manxman, just back from the shoulder injury that ended his Tour de France, had too much to make up.

Kittel admitted he had ridden his luck in the final dash for the finish line and the Giant Shimano rider, who won four stages at this year’s Tour de France, said: “It’s always pretty difficult if just before the last kilometre there is a downhill section. The bunch becomes very fast and you almost cannot hold your position.

“Me and my team were pretty lucky that we still could pass on the right side.”

Defending champion Sir Bradley Wiggins, of Team Sky, finished in the peloton.

American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) was fourth, with home favourite in Ben Swift of Team Sky fifth.

Today’s stage is a 124-mile route from Knowsley to Llandudno in north Wales.

Chris Froome lost seven seconds to the overall leader Alberto Contador in the Vuelta a España yesterday, as Poland’s Przemyslaw Niemiec won the 15th stage, five seconds ahead of second-placed home favourite Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), in third. Froome remains third overall.