Cavendish visits hospital after hard crash

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Mark Cavendish (Sky) visited hospital this morning in Belgium following a crash yesterday in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

"Just on my way for an echo scan on my shoulder after the crash," he Tweeted. "Feels sore, but not too bad, but just to be safe."

The World Champion crashed 15 kilometres from the finish in the 200-kilometre Belgian semi-classic. He blamed the incident on a discarded water bottle from a team Katusha rider.

"Peloton's riding easy and a d**khead throws a bottle in my front wheel. Crashed hard," he wrote yesterday. "Said it before: EVERYONE involved in a bike race should take a written and practical test to get licence."

Sports Director Steven de Jongh, said in a press release, "His shoulder is hurting but that's from the impact itself and he looks to be okay."

He is based with the team in Kortrijk for a week of racing, including Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday. The race is next big objective following a missed opportunity to win Milan-San Remo in the rainbow jersey.

Milan-San Remo route change?

Milan-San Remo organiser may change the finish for next year to promote the chances of attackers like Vincenzo Nibali.

Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) won on Saturday following Nibali's attack on the Poggio. The two escaped with Fabian Cancellara and rode free for the 6.2 kilometres from the top of Poggio to the finish line.

"True, it was a great finale, but again, the Poggio climb didn't allow Nibali to make the selection," operations director, Mauro Vegni told French newspaper L'Equipe. "If an attacker doesn't have the chance to finish it off then it's not a race anymore. We need to modify it, make it harder."

The finish line shift to Via Cavalotti, around two kilometres earlier. Since 2008, Milan-San Remo finished close to the Ligurian seaside on Italo Calvino. The Via Roma hosted the finish from 1949 to 2007.

Vegni is said to also be considering taking the cyclists further above the Cipressa or the Poggio climbs.

Dean fractures leg

Julian Dean (GreenEdge) fractured his leg in Tour of Catalonia stage three yesterday in Spain. The injury sidelines Dean and may ruin his chance to represent team New Zealand in the London Olympics.

"From a sporting perspective, it's terrible to lose a rider to a crash," Sports director, Neil Stephens said in a press release. "From a personal perspective, we really feel for him. He has a lot of bad luck this year, and Catalunya was his first race back after a previous injury."

Dean crashed at the start the stage, which was shortened due to bad weather. He was corning when he tried to avoid downed cyclists.

"Julian swerved and he hit a parked car."

According to the team, He travelled to his European base last night in Valencia and underwent surgery.

Paris-Roubaix invites 25 teams

The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) has invited 25 teams to race Paris-Roubaix on April 8. It announced on Monday the seven second division teams that will join the 18 first division, ProTeams.

It invited four French second division teams - Bretagne-Schuller, Cofidis, Saur-Sojasun and Europcar - and Farnese Vini-Selle Italia, Project 1t4i and NetApp. German team, NetApp also received a wildcard invitation to the Giro d'Italia.

Farnese Vini boasts Filippo Pozzato, who fractured his collarbone in the Tour of Qatar on February 9. He returned after nine days to race Trofeo Laigueglia.

Puccio, Sky's budding champion

Sky's Salvatore Puccio makes his professional debut this season following a win in the Under-23 Tour of Flanders last year. Sky already promoted the 22-year-old Italian to its A-team, fielding him to help Cavendish in Milan-San Remo on Saturday.

Cavendish thanked Puccio with a pat on the back after his team gave up the chase in Italy. Puccio was there again for Cavendish yesterday in Dwars Door Vlaanderen and will race the E3 Prijs tomorrow in Harelbeke.

"He's a punchy rider, not a big sprinter, a bit like Edvald Boasson Hagen. He's pretty tough and we hope matures into a good rider," sports director, Sean Yates told Cycling Weekly.

"He won't be thrown in the deep end; he'll do some smaller races. I think it's too soon for Flanders, but not for the minor Belgian races, like E3."

Puccio is one of the few pro cyclists from Sicily, which boasts 2010 Vuelta a España winner, Vincenzo Nibali.

Related links

Brajkovic wins shortened stage of Tour of Catalonia; Albasini remains leader

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