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

 



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions