Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) has dropped out of the Tour de France after fracturing his scapula in a stage 4 crash that led to Peter Sagan's disqualification from the race, Dimension Data confirmed Tuesday evening. Initial X-Rays did not reveal the break, which showed up in a subsequent MRI.
"Mark suffered a fracture to the right scapula," Dimension Data team doctor Adrian Rotunno said in a statement released by the team. "Fortunately, no surgery is required at this stage, and most importantly, there is no nerve damage. He's been withdrawn from the race for obvious reasons, and we'll continue monitoring him over the coming days."
Cavendish came into this year's race just four stage wins shy of the record of 34 held by Eddy Merckx. Despite suffering glandular fever earlier this season, Cavendish took the start in Dusseldorf hoping to add another win this year. Those hopes literally came crashing down on Tuesday in the finishing straight of stage 4 when he and Sagan tussled near the barriers on the right-hand side of the road.
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Cavendish plowed into the barriers but was eventually able to remount and finish the stage. Sagan immediately sought out Cavendish at the team bus to offer an apology, which Cavendish appeared to accept. The race jury initially relegated Sagan, who crossed the line second to stage winner Arnaud Demare, to 115th place before deciding to disqualify the world champion from the race.
"I'm obviously massively disappointed to get this news about the fracture," Cavendish said. "The team was incredible today. They executed to perfection what we wanted to do this morning. I feel I was in a good position to win, and to lose that and even having to leave the Tour, the race I've built my career around, is really sad.
"I wish the best of luck to me teammates for thereat of the race. Now I'm looking froward to watching the race on TV, seeing my team fly the flag for South Africa and raise awareness for Qhubeka."