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Fears that Mark Cavendish may have been seriously injured in a chilling crash towards the end of Milan-San Remo have thankfully been assuaged, with his team reporting that he is not badly injured.
The 2009 race winner was in contention heading towards the Poggio, but then Cavendish crashed heavily inside the final ten kilometres. He followed a rider who moved to the right, but didn’t realise that he was doing so in order to avoid a large yellow traffic bollard.
The Briton collided with it at high speed and was catapulted over his handlebars, doing a full flip to land on his legs and buttocks.
The violence of the fall raised many concerns, although TV images showed him moving afterwards, relieving fears he was unconscious.
There was however a long wait for confirmation that he was not badly hurt. The first news came from former pro and current TV commentator Brian Smith, who worked with the team for a period several years ago.
From what i hear Cav has no broken bones but has more whiplash to deal with. Horrendous crash. Glad no serious injuries. Hope the wee man's luck changes soon…. #MSR
— Brian Smith (@BriSmithy) March 17, 2018
The led to collective sighs of relief for concerned fans, then a subsequent all clear from one of the team’s doctors.
Yes, Cav is okay. No serious injuries, details to follow from the team.
He even managed to preserve his sense of humour.
— Jarrad Van Zuydam (@JarradVZ) March 17, 2018
Trek-Segafredo rider Koen de Kort gave his perspective on what happened, and wished Cavendish well.
In other news, how is @MarkCavendish? He was just behind me, that traffic island popped up out of nowhere with no warning. Feel sorry for him. Hope he's okay, that sounded brutal.
— Koen de Kort (@koendekort) March 17, 2018
His team has since released the following statement.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka can confirm that, thankfully, Mark Cavendish sustained no serious injury following a major crash within 10 kilometres of the finish of Milan-Sanremo on Saturday.
The 32-year-old fell heavily after striking a bollard and was immediately assisted by race medical personnel, after which he was taken to a local hospital.
Following medical imaging, it was determined that he avoided major injury.
He did sustain a new rib fracture (5th) on the same side as the one that he damaged in the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico (7th).
He also has bruising and abrasions consistent with the scale of the crash as well as a possible “ligamentous ankle injury” that will require further assessment once he returns home on Saturday.
The team would like to extend a big thanks to everybody who has sent messages of concern; and we will keep you updated as and when, should additional information become available.
Cavendish has had appalling luck in the past 12 months. He suffered glandular fever last year and while he was able to recover in time to start the Tour de France, he crashed hard at the end of stage four while in contention for the stage win. That spelt the end of his race.
Having returned to competition at the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in September, he took his first victory in over a year in February when he won stage 3 of the Dubai Tour. He then crashed out of the Abu Dhabi Tour in the neutral section on stage one, suffering concussion, and then fractured a rib during the opening team time trial in Tirreno-Adriatico.
Saturday’s crash was his third in the past month. His team will hope the old saying about bad luck coming in threes is accurate, and that his fortune will change now.
[Due to the graphic nature of the crash, we haven’t embedded a tweet with the clip. It does appear in the race highlights above].
See the full race report here.