The Manxman’s crash was not captured by television cameras, but he appears to have hit the deck with some force, crossing the line in Lido di Camaiore on his road bike and looking considerably cut up.
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With his green time trial helmet askew, Cavendish had a large bump and cut under his eye and a cut on his upper lip, with his skinsuit ripped and abrasions to his skin on his left shoulder and right hip.
With Cavendish rolling slowly across the line alone, the four Dimension Data riders who were left posted a time of 23-35, placing them in seventh place at the time.
Tirreno-Adriatico is a regular fixture on Cavendish’s spring calendar, with the 32-year-old using it as preparation for Milan-San Remo.
However Cavendish had been a doubt for the race after abandoning the Abu Dhabi Tour after just five kilometres of the opening stage following a crash caused by an official car in the neutralised zone prior to the stage.
The left him with concussion, but Cavendish was able to recover in time to take to the line of the opening team time trial in Lido di Camaiore on Wednesday.