Mark Cavendish has said he has 'nothing to prove' after making an 'amateur mistake' in Nokere Koerse.
The 35-year-old Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider was in the main group of favourites with six kilometres to go before he crashed on the final cobbled sector.
Speaking in an interview with Sporza, he said: "Ah it was my own fault... I just caught the lip of the cobblestones and went down which is just something that happens.
"It’s an amateur mistake to make. It's something that if someone else does you laugh at them for doing it."
After his race was essentially ended on the Huisepontweg section of cobbles with six kilometres to go he rode alongside teammate Stijn Steels to finish in 84th place, 5:50 behind winner Ludovic Robeet of Bingoal Casino-Wallonie Bruxelles.
Despite the crash Cavendish, who looks to be in encouraging form, said he was enjoying being back racing.
He added: "I love it honestly, like that was a full on race."
Nokere Koerse was the fourth race of the year for Cavendish, who finished second in the Grote prijs Jean-Pierre Monseré a few weeks ago.
That success was the first podium for the Manxman since a third place on stage 3 of the Tour of Turkey in April 2019.
Cavendish currently has a one-year contract with Deceuninck-QuickStep, making it his 15th season at the WorldTour level.
He competed at the Tour de France from 2007 through 2018, and won 30 stages in total.
However, he is still four stages short of the record for total victories at the Tour with Eddy Merckx taking a staggering 34 during his career.
This year, Cavendish is riding for a team with genuine Green Jersey hopes and it is likely that Irish sprinter Sam Bennett will be the team's top pick.
Cavendish continued: "I don’t think there is anything [for me] to prove. I have pretty much won everything."
Last year after Gent–Wevelgem an emotional Cavendish told reporters that it could have been the last race of his career.
However, after rejoining Quick Step this year, he now has another season of racing ahead and seems content to just enjoy being in the peloton.
He added: "Whose f***** business is it if I stop [racing] except for my own.
"It's mine and my family’s choice how long I do this for. I don’t have to prove anything to anybody."