Mark Cavendish crashed during the opening team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico in Lido di Camaiore on Wednesday. The Dimension Data rider sustained lacerations to his face and road rash on his right arm and leg. He got back on his bike and finished the stage, but was later taken to hospital. The full extent of his injuries is not known, and it is unclear whether he will start stage 2.
"It was very likely a pothole that hit his back wheel," said Dimension Data director Rolf Aldag. "There's a lot of holes in the riding line, he probably hit one of those and at 60kph, it never ends really good. On the TT bike, you're down low with the load on the front, so if you go down, you go on your head so of course that's not too cool.
"He wasn't last but he was near the end of the line. The other riders got around. It went so quick. We have it on camera so we will see it and analyse it and see what happened. It does not really matter right now. The fact is that he went down really, really hard and it's up to the doctors to see what that caused and how we go from here."
Tirreno-Adriatico marked the first race back for Cavendish after recovering from a concussion sustained in the neutralized zone of the first stage at the Abu Dhabi Tour. He took one week off the bike on medical advice.
Although he admitted his form was not at its best, Cavendish said he was looking forward to getting back to racing with his team Dimension Data at Tirreno-Adriatico, and that he was looking to do well in the likely sprint finishes to stages 2 and 6.
Dimension Data sent a team to support him with Bernhard Eisel, Mark Renshaw, Scott Thwaites, Julien Vermote and Edvald Boasson-Hagen, while Louis Meintjes would be saved for the climbing stages and the overall classification.