Mark Cavendish crashed out of contention on the final cobblestone sector of Belgian semi-classic Nokere Koerse this afternoon. In a separate crash minutes later, his teammate Jannik Steimle went down and at first appeared to be seriously injured at the side of the road. Deceuninck-Quick-Step has now confirmed Steimle has suffered a separated shoulder, fractured rib and concussions, but is expected to make a full recovery.
Ai! Nokere Koerse is voorbij voor Cavendish na val op 6km van het einde pic.twitter.com/kMHCNQVqv9
— Sporza 🚴 (@sporza_koers) March 17, 2021
Deceuninck-Quick-Step says Cavendish still managed to finish the race on his spare bike after the fall six kilometres from the end.
"He is back on a spare bike, but unfortunately Nokere Koerse is over for him," the team confirmed before updating us with the news that the Manxman finished alongside Stijn Steels in 84th place, 5:50 behind the front group.
— Ilya_Troshin (@Ilya_Troshin) March 17, 2021
Steimle's crash occurred shortly after Cavendish's, with live footage of the race cutting out as the 24-year-old appeared motionless on the floor. The German was taken to hospital and to everyone's relief, it looks like his injuries aren't as severe as first feared.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step's statement released this evening says:
"Following his crash in the closing kilometers of Nokere Koerse, Jannik Steimle was taken to the hospital where he underwent a detailed examination to determine his condition. It was immediately revealed that the 24-year-old had suffered an AC luxation of his right shoulder, which will require surgery.
"At the same time, Wednesday’s incident left Jannik, who was making just his fifth outing of the season, a fractured rib, a minor pneumo and concussions. Fortunately, the CT scan he had showed no cerebral lesions.
"Jannik will remain in hospital overnight to be observed. We wish him a fast and complete recovery!"
Steimle's crash was a particular cause for concern because he underwent heart surgery in January of last year. While not going into specifics at the time, he announced on his Facebook page that he had successful surgery at Brussels University hospital after being told that "something is wrong".
After the chaos of the final kilometres, Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles' Ludovic Robeet held off the charging peloton for a solo victory on the short cobbled climb to the finish. Breaking away from a front group of eight with Damien Gaudin (Total Direct Énergie) in the final lap, Robeet kicked on and dropped Gaudin with around 2km to go.
Dan joined road.cc as live blog editor last year. He has previously written about various sports including football and boxing for the Daily Express and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been enjoying life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends exploring the south of England.