Ongar's Mark Cavendish crashes on first stage of Tour de France

Mark Cavendish, left, at the 'Grand Depart' with defending champion Chris Froome, centre, and fellow sprinter Andre Greipel. Picture: Action Images

Mark Cavendish, left, at the 'Grand Depart' with defending champion Chris Froome, centre, and fellow sprinter Andre Greipel. Picture: Action Images

First published in Sport
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Group Sports Editor

Mark Cavendish's hopes of winning the opening stage of the Tour de France have ended in dramatic fashion after he crashed heavily near the finishing line.

The Ongar cyclist clashed shoulders with Australian Simon Gerrans around 350m from the finish, went over his handlebars and landed badly on his shoulder.

Cavendish was on the ground for several minutes and was in visible pain as he clutched his collarbone before he managed to get back on his bike and slowly wheel over the finish line.

Massive crowds had lined the route from Leeds as Cavendish hoped to win the leader's yellow jersey for the first time in his career in his mother's home town of Harrogate but it was German sprinter Marcel Kittel who grabbed the glory, just as he did on the opening stage 12 months ago.

The 29-year-old's Omega Pharma-Quick Step team had looked to be in control of the race going into the final 1km but then Swiss star Fabian Cancellara launched an attack to disrupt what had looked to be a finish for the very fastest in the peloton.

And that was ultimately how it transpired as Kittel prevailed over Peter Sagan, although Cavendish was in the mix before crashing as the sprinters sought to bridge the gap to Cancellara.

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