The British sprinter’s Dimension Data team confirmed on Wednesday night that Cavendish had suffered a broken rib among other injuries, including multiple abrasions on his right-hand side.
The 32-year-old had crashed heavily during Dimension Data’s team time trial effort and rolled across the line on his own to finish the stage. It was later determined by the race jury that he had finished outside the time limit.
Cavendish was attended to by team medic Dr Jarrad van Zuydam. As Cavendish had complained of chest pain, he was taken to hospital for checks – where it was discovered that he had broken a rib.
Dr van Zuydam said: “Unfortunately Mark was involved in a crash with about 5kms to go in today’s team time trial. He came down pretty hard at around 55km/h and he sustained multiple abrasions and soft tissue injuries to his knees, hips, hands and some swelling on his face as well; but he had a lot of rib pain which we went to x-ray, and found that he has a fracture of the seventh rib on the right side.
“The fracture’s nice and stable and should heal well,” Dr van Zuydam added.
Before news broke that Cavendish was out of the race, he had intended on continuing despite his injuries.
“The plan was to let him start the race tomorrow (stage two) but unfortunately it was ruled he finished outside the time limit today and so won’t be allowed to take the start tomorrow,” said Dr van Zuydam on Wednesday evening.
It was Cavendish’s first race back after abandoning the Abu Dhabi Tour in February after crashing on the opening stage and suffering from concussion.
Cavendish himself said that he was “disappointed” to be leaving the race but “pleased that there’s no major damage done”.
“Thanks, as always, to everyone that’s sent messages, it’s hugely appreciated. It’s frustrating to have crashed today, particularly in light of the concussion that I sustained in Abu Dhabi, but I’m just pleased that there’s no major damage done.
“Despite the pain from my injury I was really looking forward to a fast second stage and naturally disappointed that I’m not going to be a part of it.”
Cavendish was scheduled to complete Tirreno-Adriatico and then take part in Milan-San Remo on March 17, the race he won in 2009.
BMC Racing won the Tirreno-Adriatico team time trial ahead of Mitchelton-Scott and Team Sky.