Nearly three months on from crashing out of the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) says that he is still feeling the after effects. Cavendish was forced to leave the Tour de France on day one, when he crashed heavily during the sprint into Harrogate. He was later diagnosed with a dislocated AC-joint.
“My shoulder’s not going to be all right for a few months yet,” he said in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper. “It still gives me a bit of gyp. I can’t lift too big a weight, which is going to be a bit of a problem this winter, but not too much.”
After the crash, Cavendish was able to get back on his bike – although after quite some time – and ride to the team bus. It quickly became apparent that he wouldn’t be able to carry on however. “As I went to get an X-ray, I took my skin suit off and the shoulder blade was sticking up, so I kind of knew something was wrong.”
Cavendish stuck around to talk to the media the following morning, but was quickly whisked off before having an operation on his shoulder a few days later. It would be the first time in seven years that he would have to watch the Tour de France from home.
“I really missed the Tour. I’ve done it every year since I turned pro in 2007. I don’t want to miss it again. If anything, this year has given me the inspiration to keep going as long as possible. You could say this year has pushed my career on a few more years.”
Unable to sit still for long however, Cavendish was back on the home trainer within two weeks of his crash. He made his return to racing another couple of weeks after that, at the beginning of August in the Tour de l’Ain. As he tries to find his form again, Cavendish has been put into the role of domestique and lead-out man. He helped deliver Gianni Meersman to a stage win at the Tour de l’Ain and supported Michal Kwiatkowski’s bid for yellow at the Tour of Britain.
Recovering from the shoulder injury has been tough on Cavendish, but he is pragmatic about his situation. “What you have to remember it’s not like a computer game where if you crash out you start again next time. I had a grade four shoulder separation just a couple of months ago,” he explained.
“I didn’t watch my crash for a while, I didn’t want to see it. In the past it would have been the end of my world. But my daughter, Delilah, she’s 2½, she put me right. She had this little nurse’s outfit, had the stethoscope out, wearing it the wrong way round over her head, and was going ‘daddy better’. I guarantee I recovered two weeks quicker because of that.”
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