Former coach does not blame the Manxman for crash
Rod Ellingworth, Mark Cavendish's mentor and former coach is confident the British sprinter will bounce back from his shoulder injury and withdrawal from the Tour de France and refused to blame Cavendish for the high-speed crash.
Cavendish clashed with Simon Gerrans as he tried to find a clear run to the finish line in Harrogate at the end of stage 1. However, he went down heavily and was diagnosed with torn ligaments and an AC-joint separation in his right shoulder. He was unable to start stage 2 to Sheffield and headed home after again apologizing for causing the crash.
"I saw Cav last night after the crash and before the stage when it was clear he wouldn't be able to carry on in the Tour. He's gutted, but I'm sure he'll bounce back," Ellingworth told Cyclingnews.
"I think he looked good and was perhaps going to win the stage. Loosing after one day is a blow for the whole race, for British Cycling, for him and his team. But unfortunately crashes are part of bike racing."
Ellingworth discovered Cavendish when he was a teenager and helped honed his raw talent at the British Cycling Under 23 Academy. He later managed Project Rainbow that ended with Cavendish winning the world road race title for Great Britain in 2011.
He knows more about Cavendish's sprinting style than anyone else and is convinced Cavendish would have won the sprint to Harrogate without the crash.
"I think everybody wanted him to win that stage, and I thought that he would have won. He looked to be in the right place because he'd told me he wanted to be eighth or 10th place after the rise in the road. He felt it was a similar finish to as he won the world championships and that he could accelerate from behind," he said.
"However, he couldn't get out and open his sprint in that moment because Simon Gerrans was alongside him. I think that his instincts told him that he had to go in that moment or else he would get stuck there and loose."
Was it Cavendish's fault?
Some people have suggested Cavendish should have been disciplined or even disqualified for dangerous riding, but Ellingworth did not agree.
No, I don’t think so," he said.
"I think he needed to make the space to sprint. Sprinting is dangerous and these guys take risks in the sprints. The sprint was open to several different kinds of riders, not only sprinters. Simon Gerrans doesn’t usually contest flat sprints and pure sprinters are different animals to other riders. They can do amazing things on bikes but they do take risks. But it's one of those things. It only takes a moment and a crash can happen."
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