Tour de France: Bottle brings Mark Cavendish down – but he's not out

Two more Sky riders in the wars as quest to match Armstrong's record is put on hold

A late crash in yesterday's fourth stage into Rouen saw Mark Cavendish cross the line well behind the main pack, with his chance to draw level with Lance Armstrong's total of 22 stage victories postponed until at least today.

Crashes are so frequent in the first week of the Tour that they can almost be categorised, and yesterday's was depressingly typical: the bunch had roared in at up to 70kmh (40mph) on the broad boulevards approaching the city-centre finish, and as the sprinters jostled and swerved for position a rider apparently skidded on a discarded plastic drink bottle and fell.

In a split-second domino effect, half of the field was caught up in a mass of tangled bodies and bikes, with Cavendish in the thick of it.

His left side blackened with road dirt and his world champion's rainbow jersey ripped, the Manxman slowly rose to his feet looking dazed, before slowly pedalling away and crossing the line with a face like thunder. His team-mate Bernie Eisel, the only other Sky rider affected, took noticeably longer to recover before he, too, all but freewheeled to the finish.

"Bernie is OK, he got a cut eyebrow which will need stitches, otherwise I don't think it's anything serious," the Sky team's sports director, Sean Yates, reported. "It was a major crash, it split the whole peloton up. It wasn't as if the road was narrow there, but they were all riding along in the gutter."

As for Cavendish, Yates said: "He's battered and bruised, as anyone would be if they hit the ground at 70kmh. It's a miracle they get up and ride away."

Not only ride away, but Cavendish later managed to tweet away too: "Ouch... crash at 2.5 kilometres. Taken some scuffs to my left side, but I've bounced pretty well again. Congrats to André Greipel."

Cavendish has had a tough season with crashes. He suffered a heavy fall in the last stage of the Tour of Qatar, then in the Tour of Italy's first stage he hit the deck.

Yates, though, said that while the injuries looked nasty, he expected Cavendish to make a rapid recovery. "He's covered in cuts. All over – on his back, legs, shoulder and hip. So yeah, he's beaten up. [But] get a good night's sleep, and with some massage and a bit of physio we should sort it out."

Following the abandon of Sky's climber Kanstantsin Sivtsov the previous day, Yates said two more of his riders crashing was "not what we wanted at all, not what we needed."

Cavendish's target yesterday was his second stage victory in three days and the 22nd of his Tour career, which would have put him on an equal footing with Armstrong. Although today's stages to Saint-Quentin and tomorrow's from Epernay to Metz offer him two good chances to match the American, yesterday Greipel exploited his absence to bring his Tour stage win total to all of two.

Asked about Cavendish, the German said that "crashes are part of the course. On Monday [at Tournai] I was up there in the sprint. [But] I hope he is OK – and I hope I can have the chance to beat him."

Overall, Sky's Bradley Wiggins remains joint second with Sylvain Chavanel, 7sec behind Fabian Cancellara, with Peter Sagan retaining the green points jersey.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine