Mark Cavendish 'so, so fortunate' after 'bike destroyed' in crash on Tour de France stage three

The Deceuninck - Quick Step rider will be hoping that stage four is a calmer affair

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Getty)

Mark Cavendish may not have contested the sprint finish on stage three of the Tour de France like hoped, but the British rider was just thankful to be standing injury-free afterwards.

On a day full of crashes involving the race’s biggest names, Cavendish was unable to try and win his 31st Tour stage, held back by one of the many late crashes and finishing on a bike that he says was “destroyed”.

The 36-year-old, however, wasn’t frustrated by not being able to challenge stage winner Tim Merlier for victory, instead satisfied that he didn't crash hard.

Caleb Ewan, the favourite for the stage, crashed into Peter Sagan in the final 500m and has fractured his collarbone, in scenes reminiscent of 2014 when Cavendish crashed out on the race's opening stage in Harrogate.

“I was so, so fortunate,” Cavendish said after the race. “There were a lot of guys who unfortunately went down.

“I didn’t come down, but I just destroyed the front end of my bike.

“There was a wave in the peloton: lots of guys down, me just being behind [Michael] Morkov.

“I thought I was going down, my foot was out, but I managed not to go down. But the bike was destroyed and because of the crash the cars were way behind.

“I count myself fortunate. I came in and saw Caleb there holding his shoulder and I just hope he and everyone else who came down is OK.”

Earlier in the stage, Cavendish lost out to Ewan in the intermediate sprint for the second day running, the Manx man clearly frustrated by being pipped to the line by the Australian.

Perhaps crucially, though, Cavendish did take five points on Peter Sagan and now sits level with the Slovakian on 24 points in the race for green.

Currently, Cavendish’s teammate Julian Alaphilippe is the wearer of the green jersey, with the best-placed sprinter being stage three’s victor Merlier, who has 50 points. Michael Matthews of BikeExchange shares the same figure.

Stage four should, on paper at least, represent another chance for the sprinters, and at the time of writing it looks like Ewan is the only sprinter who has abandoned the race.