Stage 4 of the Tour of Turkey saw Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) continue his stunning return to form as he took a third win in a row in Kemer, but the sprint finish was marred by a mass crash as riders collided with the barriers on both sides of the road.
While the Manxman and eventual runner-up Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) battled for the win up front, what looked like a touch of wheels between two of Philipsen's teammates just inside the 200-metres-to-go mark caused a chain reaction on the left-hand side of the road.
On the right, a Nippo-Provence-PTS rider also went down, hitting the barrier as riders behind him had nowhere to go.
Multiple riders hit the ground and the barriers, which looked to collapse due to the force of the hits. Only around 20 riders escaped the carnage, with much of the peloton caught behind the crash.
Riders from various teams were taken away from the scene on stretchers wearing neck braces, including Noah Granigan (Wildlife Generation), Hijiri Oda (Nippo-Provence-PTS), and Manuel Belletti (Eolo-Kometa).
Nippo-Provence-PTS later confirmed that Oda had avoided any serious injury at the race, while Eolo-Kometa also said that Belletti had avoided fractures. Granigan needed stitches in hospital but also got away without any broken bones.
"Unfortunately the final metres saw that nasty crash that involved Manuel: the important thing is that nothing is broken," said Eolo-Kometa general manager Fran Contador. "Now we’ll see how things develop over the next few hours. Of course it’s a pity because Belletti is a very important rider for us. We hope he recovers immediately."
Alpecin-Fenix have reported that Alexander Krieger has been taken to hospital for examinations – he has also avoided serious injury or any fractures. Euskaltel-Euskadi confirmed that Juan José Lobato was involved but is OK.
📌 #TUR2021. "Bad luck strikes again for Manuel Belletti. He falls in the sprint, but tests rule out fractures": https://t.co/Pfu1sl7Mxw. #EOLOKOMETACyclingTeam #PresidentialTourOfTurkey [📷 Yücel Yüksek] pic.twitter.com/IZFZp6lmU6April 14, 2021
We are very happy to report, that @hijirioda has been cleared from any serious injury and will join the team at the hotel. We wish him a speedy and full recovery!#pinktrain pic.twitter.com/AjXwo9s207April 14, 2021
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