Ghent Six crash 'ripped a hole in my lung behind my heart', reveals Mark Cavendish

The Manxman expects to be back on the bike in a matter of weeks

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Getty)

Mark Cavendish is back home safe and sound after his big crash at the Ghent Six, having spent a painful few days in hospital in Belgium.

As soon as he hit the floor, the Manxman says he knew he'd done some damage but wanted to put on a brave face as his children were in the audience. After medical examination, it was revealed he'd broken a number of ribs and ripped a hole in his lung.

“When I crashed I knew I’d done some damage and was in a bad way, that scares you," Cavendish told the Sun. "But the kids were there and my instinct was to stand up so they’d know I’m OK. I walked back to the cabins we stay in at the velodrome and when they’d gone I was stretchered off to hospital.

“It was a freak accident caused by water on the track after a rider spilled his drink. There was a slip of wheels in front which started a chain reaction and caused the crash. I landed on a bike, broke my ribs and ripped a hole in my lung.

“The hole is behind my heart, which complicates things and makes it harder to monitor, because it doesn’t show on X-rays, but I’ll survive.”

While Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere had been trying to hurry up contract negotiations with the sprinter before the crash, the Belgian realises "other things take precedence now", although the deal is still expected to be signed off at some point.

For Cavendish, he anticipates being back on the bike in a matter of weeks as he looks toward a second season with the Belgian outfit and hopefully continue his winning ways after a resurgent 2021 campaign.

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“As professional sportspeople you know your body well enough to know what it means and what the recovery time is," he explained. "We’re used to broken bones and lungs heal quite quickly, so I should be back in the saddle in a few weeks.

“It might push my season back a bit, and I’ll be in pain for a while, but I heal well so it’s not too bad.”

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.