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.
Los escapados cuentan ahora con 3:20 sobre el pelotón.
— Ciclo 21 (@ciclo21) February 21, 2018
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.
#RideToAbuDhabi@MarkCavendish went down in the neutral zone, falling on the same shoulder he broke last year. He got up and chased back to the peloton but had to abondon soon after. More info to come after medical check.
— Team Dimension Data (@TeamDiData) February 21, 2018
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.
His racing programme currently includes Milan-San Remo and Dwars Door Vlaanderen next month, as well as the Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix in April.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.