Mark Cavendish saw his chance for a stage victory on stage 3 of the Tour of Britain disappear after he was caught behind a crash that brought his teammate and race leader Petr Vakoc come down. Cavendish eventually crossed the line around three minutes behind winner Elia Viviani, while the wounded Vakoc was some 10 minutes down. It all happened so quickly that he and his teammates were at a loss as to what actually happened.
"It was a big crash but I don’t know how it happened," Cavendish told Cyclingnews. "I was behind it. I think that I was one of the last riders not to come down but I f**ked my back wheel. Another second and I might have come down. I was lucky but Vakoc wasn’t."
Cavendish appeared in good form despite the missed opportunity but his teammate Vakoc struck a different figure as he rode over the gravel to the team bus outside Floors Castle. Vakoc took a hard hit in the incident and was reportedly dazed in the immediate aftermath of the crash. When he did come over the line, his left index finger was heavily strapped to protect a suspected broken finger and he suffered cuts to his right elbow. There may be more injuries to add to that list when he gets a full check-up later on. He now hands the yellow leader’s jersey to Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar).
Etixx-QuickStep still had options in the sprint with Matteo Trentin escaping unscathed. He had little in way of help in the chaotic finish and had to wheel surf his way forward. The Italian took third in the end, overhauling a fading Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling) but lamented what could have been a better result, branding his sprint amateurish.
"It was a little bit hectic because between five and the last corner entering the city it was really crazy. Everyone was looking like they were making a super leadout and then they just stopped before the city so I could pass and go in the wheel of Viviani," Trentin explained to Cyclingnews.
"I was in the wheel of Viviani then Lobato and then the guy from IAM. I have to say that I acted like an amateur because Viviani jumped on the wheel of the guy from IAM straight away and then I jumped but it was too far away. I just saw him still pedalling and launching his sprint 150 metres later. He was just stronger and smarter than me."
The third place means that Trentin is currently Etixx-QuickStep’s best-placed rider in the general classification at 18 seconds down.