Mark Cavendish has revealed he currently has a ‘hole behind my heart’ after suffering a serious crash at a track cycling event in Belgium last week.
Cavendish was competing at the Ghent Six Day race when water on the track from a spilled bottle caused several riders to fall, and it was the Manxman who came off worst.
The 36 year old suffered two broken ribs and a collapsed lung during the tumble and has told The Sun the position of the tear in his lung is complicating his recovery.
He said of the crash: “It was a freak accident caused by water on the track after a rider spilled his drink. There was a slip of wheels in front which started a chain reaction and caused the crash. I landed on a bike, broke my ribs and ripped a hole in my lung.
“The hole is behind my heart, which complicates things and makes it harder to monitor, because it doesn’t show on X-rays, but I’ll survive.”
Immediately after the incident Cavendish was able to get to his feet and wave at the crowds, but has now admitted he only did so to not alarm his children who were in the velodrome on the evening.
He added: “When I crashed I knew I’d done some damage and was in a bad way, that scares you. But the kids were there and my instinct was to stand up so they’d know I’m OK. I walked back to the cabins we stay in at the velodrome and when they’d gone I was stretchered off to hospital.”
Just want to say how overwhelmed & thankful I am for all the support and well-wishes.
So @zesdaagseGent didn’t end the way we’d have preferred, I think it’s fair to say 😅 Some water on the track, a high speed crash and a few barrel rolls later, I’m being treated for some pic.twitter.com/Alvhn1Jnjk
— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) November 22, 2021
Despite his injuries, the 34-time Tour de France stage winner was released from hospital earlier this week and expects to be back on his bike before the end of the year:
“As professional sportspeople you know your body well enough to know what it means and what the recovery time is. We’re used to broken bones and lungs heal quite quickly, so I should be back in the saddle in a few weeks.
“It might push my season back a bit, and I’ll be in pain for a while, but I heal well so it’s not too bad.”
Nick has been entrenched in the world professional cycling since 2010. He spent six and a half years with Team Sky before becoming Communications Manager for both the Tour de Yorkshire and Yorkshire 2019 UCI Road World Championships. Since then he has worked for Velon and Rouleur and is now part of the team at road.cc. Still based in Yorkshire, he rides his road bike as much as he can, although those opportunities have been significantly diminished since becoming a father three years ago.