Who was to blame for the heavy crash that wiped out Mark Cavendish in the final hundred metres of the final Tour of Qatar stage? The Team Sky man appeared to point the finger at Roger Kluge (Project 1t4i).

Launching their sprints side-by-side, Cavendish and Kluge went for the same gap. Cavendish bounced off the German, but crashed when he crossed the back wheel of Tyler Farrar in front.

The pair exchanged words by the Team Sky car after the world champion crossed the finish line.

“Did you do that?” an angry Cavendish asked Kluge. Seven inches taller but suddenly seeming to shrink, the German former track star said no.

Their body language softened as Kluge said something and Cavendish replied “I’m not kicking off, am I?” and sat in the Sky team car.

Kluge’s view
CW spoke to Kluge for his side of the story. “I don’t know really [what happened], I was lucky I was in the right side of the space and that I dodged it,” he said.

“I felt something on my left hand, I don’t know if it was a knee or a handlebar. I was lucky that I didn’t go down,” he said.

“It was just from touching,” Kluge said, pointing on at a small cut on his hand. “A second later, they crashed, but okay, I came through and sprinted to the line.”

Olympic points race silver medallist Kluge, who finished fourth, played down Cavendish’s anger. “No, no. It’s just aggression, it’s normal after the race. He [Cavendish] said sorry to me, but there was no discussion. If we had a stage tomorrow, we would talk about it.”

“It’s a pity to finish the race like this,” said Team Sky directeur sportif Steven De Jongh. “Luckily, we have two wins, we’ve got nothing broken and we can move on to Oman,” he said.

Tom Boonen kept safe to win the race overall; Sky men Juan Antonio Flecha and Cavendish finished third and sixth overall respectively.

Cav rides back to hotel

Cavendish had abrasions to his neck, elbow and back. After cooling off in the car,

a ripple of applause from the gathered fans went up as the world champion emerged and signed

autographs for some children.

He rode back to hotel with several Sky teammates. Seemingly no permanent damage done – though Roger Kluge may think twice about baulking the feisty Manxman in a bunch sprint again.

Related links

Demare takes first victory as Cavendish goes down

Tour of Qatar 2012: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

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  • steve

    cavandish getting shirty over someone else allegedly causing a crash?not only is he thoroughly obnoxious,hes a hypocrite too

  • arronski

    Rainbow jersey curse strikes again, may as well have a target on his back, he can’t be beat in a sprint for speed, so i can see a lot more blocking tactics this year, but Cav’s willie enough to beat the jealous peleton !

  • Ken Evans

    Farrar is a crash magnet !

  • Mike

    Well TE, like everyone, you are welcome to your opinion, but I think If you had to earn your living sprinting at 45 mph, and risk a season ending crash because someone was not being professional, you might be slightly miffed at Mr Kluge’s actions.

  • Eric

    Kluge definitely came over on Cav, then, if you watch, he later comes over on Farrar!

  • jj F4:13

    If you watch the overhead view you see Kluge move over at least two if not more positions, made contact with Cavendish hard enough to cut his hand. Kluge has absolutely no one on is right and does it again a couple of yards later also with no one on his right.

    At this level these guys know pretty much where each other are. This is not basketball where you check someone or block them in order to win. Even more important is this behavior can destroy someones career.

    Also I am not happy being denied seeing a final spring by the best sprinters in the field

  • TE

    What a whiner!!

  • Ken Evans

    Renshaw defended Cav very well,
    Sky need to find someone to do the same.

  • JD

    Cav needed a leadout man there. He can do it on his own in many races but it’s obvious that a wingman making some track space in front of him is going to be invaluable.

  • Baz

    Roger “felt something” on his left hand? Not surprising as the overhead camera clearly shows he moved right to left across the road into Cavendish. Kluge should be grateful he only had him to face and not the race jury. If they decide anything it’ll probably be to fine Cav 200 Swiss francs for finishing minus his helmet!