Mark Cavendish’s Etixx-QuickStep team has said it will move quickly to investigate what caused the Manxman's chain to drop and so spark a crash at the end of stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico in Cascina. It seems that Tom Boonen suffered a similar problem in a sprint at the Tour of Qatar.
Cavendish was perfectly placed and about to launch his sprint with 250 metres to go when his chain jumped outwards and off his big chain ring. Cavendish managed to stay upright despite the sudden loss of power but moved slightly. Elia Viviani (Team Sky) was unable to avoid Cavendish and was the first to crash. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) and several other riders also went down hard. Both Viviani and Modolo got up and finished the stage but suffered multiple injuries
Cavendish stood just after the finish line waiting for a new wheel but initially refused to talk about the crash. He later confirmed that his chain came off his front chainring.
"Everything was perfect," Cavendish said. "I was in good position to launch my sprint. But when I tried to go, my chain dropped off from the big chainring to the right, and the momentum from the sudden loss of torque caused me to move right. There's nothing I could have done to avoid it, and it's a miracle I didn't crash. I watched the sprint after the stage in the team bus. I feel sorry for Elia Viviani who went down behind me, and the other guys involved. Hopefully it's nothing serious."
The team’s sport and development manager Rolf Aldag gave more information to the media at the Etixx-QuickStep team bus, including Cyclingnews.
Etixx-QuickStep switched from SRAM to a mix of FSA chainsets with power2max power metres and Shimano gears for 2015. Aldag confirmed that the team also uses Shimano chains. The Belgian team is apparently waiting for FSA to complete its full groupset of electronic components.
“We still don’t know what happened but if you watch from the helicopter, you can see that his rear wheel jumped and that his chain is off on the front. That’s very likely what happened; when he was waiting to accelerate or when he started his accelerated, his chain came off to the right side. That caused him to lose his balance and move like that. You don’t move like even if you try on purpose," Aldag explained.
“Cav feels really sorry for Viviani and we’re really sorry for him. We’re also sorry for a missed chance but it's important that we analyse what happened, how it happened and that it does not happen again.
“We’ve seen it (on television) on the bus and Cav will really try to remember what happened. We’ll not clean the bike tonight and look for marks on the chain and the chainring for a bent tooth or something.
“We had an issue with Tom Boonen also dropping his chain on the right side in Qatar this year,” Aldag revealed. “We renewed some products after that. Unfortunately Tom will not ride his bike for while, so we can’t find out more. Now we have to know exactly what issue Cav had, to understand if it’s the same issue. It would be unfair to blame the product or anybody but it’s clear the chain came off to the right and we have to look at it.”