Mark Cavendish crashes on stage four of Tour de France
Wednesday 04 July 2012
World champion Mark Cavendish's bid for a 22nd Tour de France stage win was ended by a crash today as Andre Greipel won stage four to Rouen.
In the close-packed bunch, Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Sharp) spectacularly tumbled over his handlebars fracturing the peloton with around 2.7 kilometres to go of the 214.5km route from Abbeville.
The incident delayed more than two thirds of the peloton, but Greipel had support from his Lotto-Belisol team as he claimed a sprint victory. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) was second, with Tom Veelers (Argos-Shimano) third.
Cavendish (Team Sky) was seeking to draw level with Lance Armstrong and Andre Darrigade by adding to his 21 Tour stage wins, but was seen gingerly picking himself up off the tarmac, his world champion's jersey in tatters and ripped across the back.
Cavendish crossed more than four minutes behind Greipel, but apparently with no more than superficial injuries.
As the collision occurred inside the final 3km of the stage, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) retained the race leader's maillot jaune.
Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), David Moncoutie (Cofidis) and Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) comprised the day's three-man breakaway, which began in the opening kilometre.
Japan's Arashiro led the trio over the intermediate line in Fecamp with 74.5km of the stage remaining.
The peloton followed six minutes later, with Cavendish leading the sprint over the line.
Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge), Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) and maillot vert Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) followed.
The result saw Cavendish move into second place in the points classification standings behind Sagan, the winner of stages one and three, who took nine points.
The Manxman moved to 86 points, with Slovakian Sagan going to 125.
The peloton then increased the tempo in pursuit of the escapees, with Team Sky, BMC Racing, Orica-GreenEdge and Lotto-Belisol to the fore.
A handful of riders broke out of the peloton in an attempt to bridge the gap with 10km to go, and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) stayed clear on the final descent into Rouen.
It was a forlorn break, though, as the sprinters' teams set to work and the peloton soaked up the trio with 3km remaining.
Just as the teams sought to get their teams in position for the finale, an innocuous stage turned sour with a large crash.
With Cavendish down, Greipel was able to avoid the crash and surge to victory, while Sagan, winner of stage one and three, added to his points haul by finishing fifth.
Cancellara rolled in well down alongside Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), who remained second overall, seven seconds behind.
Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
Latest in Sport
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City: Five things we learnt from the Allianz Arena
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal player ratings: How did Ozil and Welbeck do in Germany?
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City player ratings: Joe Hart? Thomas Muller? Jerome Boateng? Who was the star man?
Gareth Bale has his car kicked by angry Real Madrid fans after refusing to stop for autographs
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 3 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 4 Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...
£45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...
£110 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: We are looking for an experie...
£100 - £222 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting f...