Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) was lauded for his incredible bike handling on The Breakaway despite crashing in a dramatic sprint on Stage 5 at the Giro d’Italia.
Cavendish was in the mix for a long overdue victory when he brushed shoulders with Alberto Dainese (DSM) on the slippery surface, causing him to lose balance, lurch across the road, nudge a rider from Green Project Bardiani in the barriers, and finally hit the tarmac.
Remarkably, he returned to his feet shortly after the incident, with replays showing the Manx Missile clinging to his handlebars until the last possible moment – which Robbie McEwen and Adam Blythe suggested spared him a serious injury.
“That’s the skills of not just professional cyclists but sprinters,” said McEwen on The Breakaway.
“At 65-70kph…you’ll do anything and everything to keep yourself from going down. Cav is catapulted from left to right, hits the rider from Green Project Bardiani and then came down awkwardly. In the end, it’s probably the smoothest he could have possibly landed – he rode it to the ground.”
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The Manx Missile’s chief goal for this year is to surpass Eddy Merckx’s haul of Tour de France stage victories, with the pair currently locked on 34 wins.
“His bike came from under him and he was off it, flying through the air, still holding his handlebars which is sometimes the best way,” said Blythe.
“As soon as you put your hand down, that’s your collarbone gone.
“He’s crashed a few times in his career…he knows how to crash properly. Holding onto his bike, not letting go of it, forces him to fall without putting his hand down.”
The 37-year-old is in Italy chasing a first win with his new team, who are making the transition from GC powerhouses to sprint hopefuls.
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