British cyclist Mark Cavendish may have been knocked out of the Tour de France in an ugly crash that may have been accidental but has a lot of people screaming foul.
The final kilometers at the end of the fourth stage of the Tour de France were expected to be exciting and potentially dangerous, but once the lead riders cleared two sharp turns it was expected to just be a sprint to the finish.
But as the leaders raced for the finish line at more than 30 mph, Cavendish tried to pass his sprint rival Peter Sagan and was knocked into the barriers and causing him to go down hard. To make matters worse, two trailing riders could not avoid Cavendish and went over the fallen rider as Frenchman Arnaud Démare crossed the line first to win his first-ever stage at the Tour de France.
The crash was controversial as replays showed that Cavendish went down when Sagan’s elbow swung out wide.
When Cavendish was asked after the race about the crash and whether he thought the elbow was intentional, he would only say he wants to “speak with Peter [Sagan]” about the incident, according to The UK Telegraph.
However, many also felt that the elbow was inadvertent and wasn’t malicious, saying it is an instinctual move to swing out the elbow if you feel you are losing your own balance.
Either way, it now appears the Cavendish, who has won 30 stages in his career at the Tour, is in danger of being out of this year’s race, saying after the stage that he is “not optimistic” about continuing. According to The Guardian, Cavendish suffered “suspected shoulder injury and cuts and bruises to his back and arms.”
This crash came just moments after a separate wreck took out race leader Geraint Thomas of Team Sky. However, since that crash happened in the final three kilometers, he is credited with the same finishing time as the stage winner and will retain the yellow jersey.