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More bad luck for Cavendish

Mark Cavendish's only crash free stage so far

Mark Cavendish's only crash free stage so far (Image credit:

By Shane Stokes in Gent

Had everything gone to plan, Mark Cavendish would have been fighting it out for the stage win at the end of Sunday's stage of the Tour de France. However a crash with 23 kilometres to go plus delays due to wheel and bike changes meant that he didn't get back to the bunch. Missing out on the chance of Tour victory on home soil was a hugely disappointing turn of events for him, and he finally crossed the finish line 186th, 2'45 down, he quickly pedalled down the road to the team bus.

T-Mobile directeur sportif Brian Holm was sure that the first year pro would quickly bounce back. "I think I can promise you that when stuff like that happens, when things don't go his way, it just makes him stronger. Don't worry about that."

As Holm suggests, Cavendish is a highly motivated and determined young rider. However any hopes that he would be fighting it out for victory in Gent were dashed when he was caught up in the big crash with about two kilometres to go. He was fourth in line in the T-Mobile train which was trying to ensure he was in a good position for the final sprint, but once the crash began to unfold he was catapulted to the right hand side of the road and hit the barriers there.

He lay on the road for some time, then remounted and limped across the line. Cavendish had a trickle of blood running from his knee and the back of his jersey was badly shredded. As was the case on stage one, he looked very upset and didn't want to comment.

"Mark was in the middle of it alright," T-Mobile Sporting Director Valerio Piva told after the race. "Luckily the crash was not as bad as it looked. Mark has suffered bruising to his left knee and heel which took the brunt of the crash. There is also bruising elsewhere but he should be OK. Obviously he'll spend a lot of time with the doctors and soigneurs tonight."

Cavendish's fans will be hoping that his luck improves from stage three onwards, and he finally has a chance to show his speed against the world's top sprinters in cycling's top event.

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