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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Mark Cavendish says season not over despite crashing out of Tour de France

It remains to be seen if British cyclist will be fit in time for Tour of Britain in September.

Mark Cavendish sustained the injury in a crash on Tuesday for which Peter Sagan was disqualified. John Leicester / AP Photo
Mark Cavendish sustained the injury in a crash on Tuesday for which Peter Sagan was disqualified. John Leicester / AP Photo

Mark Cavendish is confident his season is not over despite the broken shoulder blade he suffered in the crash which ended his Tour de France early.

Cavendish was knocked into the barriers by world champion Peter Sagan just 120 metres from the finish of stage four in Vittel on Tuesday, with Sagan subsequently disqualified by the race jury for an irregular sprint.

Cavendish needed stitches in his finger but it was the discovery of a fracture in his right shoulder which brought a premature finish to his Tour.

The Manxman had won a three-month battle with the Epstein-Barr virus to start the Tour, but said his recovery from this latest setback should be more straightforward.

"At least it doesn't require surgery which is good," the Team Dimension Data sprinter told ITV4.

"To be honest, at least I know I can kind of train on it, which is better than if I was ill again.

"I am on the turbo trainer for the next few weeks."

It remains to be seen just how soon Cavendish could return, but there are plenty of races he might want to target, not least the Tour of Britain which will have a sprint-heavy route this September.

For now, the 32-year-old's hopes of adding to his 30 career Tour stage wins - and closing in on Eddy Merckx's all-time record of 34 - are over for another year.

Sagan had initially been penalised 30 seconds for causing Cavendish to crash, with Yorkshireman Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) also caught in the incident.

After the race jury had reviewed the footage further, they elected to send the Slovakian home, sparking a huge debate as to whether the punishment for the popular Sagan was too harsh.

"There is always going to be a storm when it comes to me and Peter, I think people are quite polarised on us," Cavendish added.

"How I was maybe in the past, a lot of people don't like me and for obvious reasons a lot of people like Peter."

But Cavendish reiterated he has no issue with Sagan, who visited the Dimension Data team bus immediately after the stage to check on his rival and then called him again later on Tuesday.

"Peter called me last night," Cavendish said. "I didn't get back from the hospital until gone 11.

"I had a message from Peter on my phone. We have a good relationship, we spoke on the phone last night.

"You think it was honourable that he came over and apologised, and then he called me to see how I was in the evening.

"Like I said, I have no bad feelings towards Peter."

Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe team had protested against his expulsion to no avail, and on Wednesday morning the 27-year-old left the race while insisting he had done nothing wrong.

"What can I do? I can accept the decision but for sure I do not agree with them, because I think I have done nothing wrong," he said in a statement delivered outside the team hotel in Vittel.

"It is very bad that Mark fell down, it is important he can recover well, I am sorry for that.

"As you saw it was a crazy sprint, it was not the first one like that or the last one. I wish that Mark recovers well."

Sagan, winner of Stage 3 on Monday, had crossed the line second behind Frenchman Arnaud Demare of the FDJ team before his punishment was delivered.

The disqualification ended Sagan's bid to win the Tour's green jersey in the points classification for a record-equalling sixth straight year.

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