Dimension Data rider also sustained whiplash injury in incident on opening day of race

Mark Cavendish has abandoned the Abu Dhabi Tour after a crash in the neutral zone at the start of today’s opening stage of the race, with his Dimension Data team saying he sustained a concussion and a whiplash injury in the incident.

In a tweet following his abandonment, the 32-year-old sprinter’s team said he had fallen on the same shoulder he broke last year in a crash at the Tour de France.

The team added that an update on Cavendish’s medical condition would follow.

In a subsequent update, team doctor Adrian Rotunno said: "Mark sustained a concussion and a whiplash injury after his crash today.

"Due to the concussion, we were not willing to risk rider safety and the call was made for Mark to stop the race.

"A serious neck injury has been excluded in hospital. He currently has some concussive symptoms and neck pain, but is otherwise stable.

"We will monitor Mark’s condition closely going forward.” 

The crash happened after the driver of the race director’s car appeared to slow down suddenly, causing the riders behind to brake.

Cavendish got back on his bike, but was forced to abandon around 5 kilometres into the stage.

After a 2017 season disrupted by glandular fever followed by that broken shoulder, Cavendish took his first victory in almost a year at the Dubai Tour earlier this month.

> Video: Mark Cavendish takes first win in almost a year at Dubai Tour

His racing programme currently includes Milan-San Remo and Dwars Door Vlaanderen next month, as well as the Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix in April.

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.