News comes as he prepares to make Team Sky debut on Sunday in Qatar

World champion Mark Cavendish, who makes his Team Sky debut on Sunday in the Tour of Qatar, has revealed that he has written off his  bike in a crash near his Essex home. The rider himself suffered nothing worse than bruises.

The 26-year-old tweeted news of the incident on Wednesday, saying: "So with less than 20km to go of my nice little ride today, I had my 1st crash of 2012. Bike & shoes written off. Not a scratch on me".

"Front wheel went from under me, but kept my body upright, trying to sort of run off of my bike. Obviously, can't run that speed, so went over with a bang, ripping my buckle clean out of my shoe. I say I'm not scratched, but a little bruised. Thanks for concern"

Last year, the start to the Manxman’s season was overshadowed by crashes, with Cavendish suffering cuts and bruises after a heavy fall in Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under in January followed less than a month later by another hard tumble in the Tour of Qatar Prologue.

Meanwhile Cavendish, who will seek to defend his Tour de France green jersey in July, reiterated his ambitions to win the first gold medal on offer at London 2012 in the men’s road race on Saturday 28 July.

"I've won National, European, World and Commonwealth Championships medals — but this is the one thing that's missing,” he told The Sun.

"But I'm not focusing on the Olympics purely because of that. I'm going because it's in London, my own country, and we're one of the favourites to win it.

"I still get a lot of national pride whenever I pull on my GB jersey.

"To do the nation proud, especially with it being the Games' first gold on offer, is a big motivator for me," he added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.