Injured Cavendish ruled out of Tour de France

Sun Jul 6, 2014 8:42am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

YORK England (Reuters) - Mark Cavendish's Tour de France came to a brutal end after the British sprint specialist failed to recover from a horror crash at the end of the first stage and pulled out of the race on Sunday morning.

"It's devastating," Cavendish, who will have an MRI scan on a dislocated shoulder and torn (shoulder) ligaments, told reporters outside his Omega Pharma-Quick Step (OPQS) bus before the second stage, a tough 201-km ride to Sheffield.

Cavendish, aiming for a 26th Tour de France stage victory and the yellow jersey he has never won, dislocated his right shoulder in the finale of the opening stage from Leeds to Harrogate on Saturday, his mother's hometown.

The 29-year-old Cavendish had appeared too eager to succeed in the closing stages and, using his shoulders for extra leverage to prevent being squeezed for room, swayed towards Australian Simon Gerrans, bringing both of them down.

German Marcel Kittel narrowly avoided the carnage and sprinted clear of the pack to claim the overall leader's yellow jersey following his fifth stage win overall.

"Normally I bounce well when I crash but when I was on the floor yesterday I knew something was wrong, for the first time in my career I knew something was wrong.

"I wanted to cross the finish line as it was in Harrogate, I got back on the bike but couldn't hold the handlebars.

"When I took my skin suit off my shoulder was sticking out the way it shouldn't," Cavendish, who had won at least a stage in every Tour since 2008, said.   Continued...

Omega Pharma-Quick Step team rider Mark Cavendish of Britain gets assistance after crashing during a mass sprint next to the finish line of the first 190.5 km stage of  the Tour de France cycling race from Leeds to Harrogate, July 5, 2014.     REUTERS/Fred Mons/Pool