Cavendish's Tour de France in doubt after crash in bunch sprint

Sagan disqualified from race for his part in incident on stage 4

Mark Cavendish's Tour de France is in doubt after he was caught up in a crash during the sprint finish of stage 4. The Dimension Data rider went down, colliding with the barriers, when Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) stuck his elbow out as Cavendish tried to come up the inside.

Cavendish returned to the team bus with his hand heavily bandaged and came out a few moments later with his arm in a sling. His hand had been bleeding profusely and there were concerns about whether or not he had broken it, but his shoulder was also a major worry.

The Manxman fell heavily on his right side, the same side he fell on and injured in a crash on the opening stage of the Tour de France in 2017.

"I'm going to go and get it checked out. I'm definitely going to need stitches in this finger. It's bleeding a lot. And the shoulder, it's something to do with the shoulder that I did in Harrogate," Cavendish told the press outside the Dimension Data bus in Vittel. "I just sat backwards. I don't know if I've snapped the ligament or what. I'm not a doctor, I don't know what, but from the feelings I'm not optimistic."

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The crash happened in the final metres as riders switched left and right. Eventual stage winner Arnaud Démare (FDJ) had a coming together with Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) at almost the same time as the Cavendish and Sagan incident, but he avoided any sanctions.

"I was just following Démare and Sagan came over, and that was it," Cavendish explained. "I get on with Peter well, but if he came across that's one thing, but the elbow… I'm not a fan of him putting his elbow in me like that. Like I said, I get on with Peter, a crash is a crash, but I just need to know about the elbow, really."

Team manager Doug Ryder shared Cavendish's concern about his future in the race. "His shoulder does not look good. We can only hope. He's a hard guy, but I'm not sure,” said Ryder. "He's in a lot of pain but it's just happened. We'll have to wait for the x-rays.”

After speaking to the press, Cavendish paid a visit to the radiology truck at the Tour de France's permanence. An x-ray confirmed that he had no fracture in his right hand, although it had to be sutured. He had hurt his shoulder and the team have taken him to hospital for further checks.

Dimension Data have said that they will prepare as if Cavendish will ride the stage, but Cavendish did not appear confident when speaking to the press after visiting the doctor.

"I'm a little bit of pain with it at the moment. I've got no movement,” he said in a video published by NBCSN. “Ultimately, I don't want to be a risk to the other bike riders. If I can't pull on my handlebars, or use the brakes because of the finger… I know that some other guys might try but I don’t want to be a hazard to the other guys."

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