Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) is out of Tirreno-Adriatico after missing the time cut on stage 1 following a particularly heavy crash. Cavendish completed the 21.5km course in Lido di Camaiore in a time of 29:37, more than six minutes behind the stage winners BMC Racing.
Tirreno-Adriatico was Cavendish's first race back since he suffered a concussion as a result of a crash in the neutral section of the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, which is also run by RCS. In that incident, a brake sensor in the race director's car activated causing it to slow suddenly in the neutral zone, leading to a crash involving several riders including Cavendish to crash. Initially, there had been some concern about his shoulder but the team doctor decided to pull him from the race due to a concussion.
There were no cameras on Dimension Data at the time of his fall in Wednesday's team time trial, but Cavendish came down in the second half of the course and the South African outfit finished with just four riders. Cavendish could be seen making his way to the finish line as Bahrain-Merida passed through to complete their effort, and he eventually crossed the line with his shorts ripped along the right side and blood on his face.
Dimension Data directeur sportif Rolf Aldag later told reporters that he had possibly hit a pothole with his rear wheel, which sent him down to the tarmac.
Despite Cavendish taking a trip to the hospital, the team had remained hopeful that he might be able to start stage 2, depending on the assessment from the doctors. However, the ruling from the UCI commissaires makes sure that he will have to sit out the remainder of the race.
This latest crash is another big blow to his ambitions for Milan-San Remo next week. Cavendish is also due to lead the Isle of Man team at the Commonwealth Games in Australia next month.