Looking for an example of someone who is having an unfortunate time as of late? Look no further than the Manxman Mark Cavendish. If you’re having trouble finding him, peer around the broad frame of Germany’s beast Marcel Kittel. Yes, that’s him, the one with the busted leg and a grimace.
Once again, Mark Cavendish battled with lady luck and lost during a race on UK soil. After a crash left him bruised and battered he was unable to put his all into the sprint, and watched as Marcel Kittel took the first stage of the Tour of Britain in Liverpool.
It’s not as serious as the crash he suffered last time he raced in his home country, where he found himself on his back metres from the finish line on stage one of an historical Tour de France Grand Depart. He was forced to retire that evening, which no doubt stung for the man who had drawn a good portion of the crowds lining Yorkshire’s streets that day.
Details of how he hurt his leg in yesterday’s crash were patchy at first, but it seems that it was an unfortunate result of team car traffic. Cavendish reportedly went smack into a Rapha Condor-JLT team car wing mirror – plus one of their mechanics – before hitting the tarmac, all in an apparent attempt to avoid a touch of brakes by a team car whose bumper Cav was pinned to after a peleton toilet stop.
Asked by journalists how his leg was after the stage, Cavendish said: “It’s f****d”. #tob2014
— Cycling Weekly (@cyclingweekly) September 7, 2014
The good news is that despite some swelling and soreness, he will be starting today’s stage, and at least publicly he seems to be taking positives away from placing third yesterday:
Well, normally I’d be pissed with 3rd, but gave a predominately seated sprint a try after an earlier crash in which I’ve hurt my left leg.
— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) September 7, 2014
Mark Cavendish isn’t known as a man to shy away from the dangerous melee of a sprint, so he has come a cropper many a time in his career. That’s what being a sprinter is all about. To be injured at the start of a home nation Tour whilst trying to avoid a car pile up, though, could be a real bruise to his psyche, especially coming after his horrendous Tour de France earlier this year.
Then again, that’s how Cav operates best: in the trenches with something to prove, and a determination born of strife. Kittel and the like had better look over their shoulders.
UPDATE: Cycling Weekly has got the footage of exactly what happened during the incident, filmed by a fan at the side of the road. It’s up on their website here.