The world’s number one sprinter Mark Cavendish pushed ahead in the Tour Down Under today in Stirling, Australia. He suffered from scrapes and bruises due to a crash in the sprint finish yesterday.

“I am feeling all right, it was a little bit of a restless night, but it always is,” said Cavendish this morning. “You are used to that as a bike rider now. A couple of pain killers and that’s it.”

Cavendish crashed with his HTC team-mate Matt Goss and others, including Sprinter Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo). They lost control on a tight 45-degree left-hand turn with less than four kilometres to race.

After losing several seconds on the ground, Cavendish re-mounted his bike and finished with the rest of the race. He finished the stage 3’47” behind stage winner, Brit Ben Swift (Sky).

Cavendish, though, was just doing his job.

“It is my job, whether I crash or not. I got to do it,” Cavendish said.

“That’s what separates bike riding from other sports, the reaction in a lot of other sports is just to lie down and play it easy. I think if you are a real cyclist, your initial reaction is to get up and ride your bike. It is your job to get up and carry on with the race, and find out what’s wrong later.”

Cavendish had been in an unusual position prior to the crash. He was following Mark Renshaw’s lead out, but sat ahead of team-mate and then race leader, Matt Goss. Cavendish said it was not any different than sprinting for himself, but was unable to remember the last time he had such a role.

What’s important, he said, is that the team wins. Goss won the pre-race criterium in Adelaide on Sunday and the first stage to Angaston on Tuesday. Today, he finished third and took back the race leader’s orange jersey

Cavendish “was just coming back for bottles for the other guys and for some ice bags. At this stage, with his injuries, that is all he can do. They are very grateful for the help,” sports director, Allan Peiper said after today’s stage.

Peiper said that tomorrow Cavendish might be back in HTC’s train to help Goss win the stage.

“To be honest, the last time he led out was in 2007 at his first race as a pro’, when he led out Greipel at the Etoile des Bessèges.”

Mark Cavendish

Cavendish after stage two

Related links
Tour Down Under 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Cavendish plans to fight on despite Down Under crash
Swift benefits from Sky’s strength and crashes for first win
Armstrong grumpy Down Under due to new doping allegations
Swift settles into Sky’s lead-out role
Cavendish holds fire at Tour Down Under
Cavendish-Greipel duel: Let the fun begin
Sky’s Thomas keeping covered Down Under
Armstrong faces questions on doping investigation and 2009 payments
Armstrong in Adelaide: One more time
Tour Down Under 2011: Who will win?
Tour Down Under 2011: Start list
Farrar heads Garmin-Cervelo’s Down Under assault
Cavendish to face Greipel Down Under with in-form Goss
Cavendish to start 2011 Tour Down Under
Farrar to ride Tour Down Under

Tour Down Under 2011: Stage reports

Stage three: Matthews takes first pro win

Stage two: Swift avoids crashes to take win

Stage one: Goss takes TdU opener

Cancer Council Classic: Goss wins Down Under opener after Sky crash

Tour Down Under 2011: Photo galleries

Tour Down Under stage three gallery

Tour Down Under stage two gallery

Tour Down Under stage one gallery

Cancer Council Classic gallery