Mark Cavendish's Dimension Data team have confirmed that the Manx sprinter broke a rib when he crashed during the team time trial at the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico yesterday.
The injury to Cavendish, who was resuming racing after recovering from concussion sustained in a crash at last month's Abu Dhabi Tour, comes less than a week and a half before Milan-San Remo - a race he has never missed after winning it at his first attempt in 2009.0
It also follows a 2017 season that was disrupted first by illness in the shape of glanduar fever, then injury following the crash with Peter Sagan at the Tour de France in which Cavendish broke his shoulder.
While the 32-year-old managed to finish the stage yesterday, he was outside the permitted time limit so was disqualified from the race.
Dimension Data team doctor Jarrad van Zuydams said; “Unfortunately Mark was involved in a crash with about 5kms to go in today’s team time trial. He came down pretty hard at around 55km/h and he sustained multiple abrasions and soft tissue injuries to his knees, hips, hands and some swelling on his face as well; but he had a lot of rib pain which we went to x-ray, and found that he has a fracture of the seventh rib on the right side.
“The fracture’s nice and stable and should heal well,” Dr van Zuydams continued. He added that the team had planned for Cavendish to race today until they learnt he was outside the time limit.
Cavendish said: “Thanks, as always, to everyone that’s sent messages, it’s hugely appreciated.
"It’s frustrating to have crashed today, particularly in light of the concussion that I sustained in Abu Dhabi, but I’m just pleased that there’s no major damage done."
He added: “Despite the pain from my injury I was really looking forward to a fast second stage and naturally disappointed that I’m not going to be a part of it.”
— Team Dimension Data (@TeamDiData) March 8, 2018
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.