Weeks after he had a bad crash in stage two of the Tour Down Under, Mark Cavendish has suffered a second bad fall of the season in the opening prologue of the Tour Down Under.
Cavendish fell on the same side that he injured in Australia and although able to complete the course the 25-year-old was looking groggy when he crossed the line in last place on the stage.
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The HTC-Highroad pro went down close to the finish of the two kilometre prologue whilst travelling at full speed.
The course was rendered risky by the sandy, cobbled road surfaces, coupled with 11 corners and strong winds, although Cavendish and Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) were apparently the only two to go down.
Flecha’s front tub slipped off his wheel after he had to ride over two crash barriers that fell just before him. Then he fell just after the line, badly scraping his right forearm but, despite the spills, still managed to take fourth.
“It’s the first time I got air in a prologue,” added his team-mate Russell Downing, “I took off over one of the ramps so that was a bit scary.”
Barring Cavendish, Britain’s nine other pros came through unscathed, with Sky’s Alex Dowsett delighted with his fifth place and Best Young Rider’s jersey in his first race for his new team.
“To be up amongst the top names like that is great,” Dowsett said. “it’s a really amazing start.”