Having already abandoned the Abu Dhabi Tour following a crash caused by an official car in the neutralised zone of the opening stage and being eliminated from Tirreno-Adriatico after a crash in the opening team time trial in which he sustained a broken rib, Cavendish had admitted that he was riding Milan-San Remo in support of his Dimension Data team-mates.
However Cavendish's terrible luck continued as he collided with a bollard on the exit of a roundabout as the peloton approached the base of the Poggio with 10km remaining.
The Manxman was the first to go down, colliding head-on with the large yellow bollard, and going somersaulting over his handlebars to land on his back in the middle of the road.
The crash also brought down a number of other riders, including two riders from Cofidis and one Lotto-Soudal man.
Cavendish was quickly attended to by medics as he lay on the tarmac, and did not appear to lose consciousness in the crash. Writing on Twitter after the race, Dimension Data team doctor Dr Jarrad van Zuydam was "okay" and had not suffered any serious injuries.
This was later confirmed by a statement from the Dimension Data team.
"Following medical imaging, it was determined that Mark avoided major injury in the incident," the statement read"
He did sustain a new rib fracture (5th) on the same side as the one that he damaged in the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico (7th).
He also has bruising and abrasions consistent with the scale of the crash as well as a possible 'ligamentous ankle injury' that will require further assessment once he returns home on Saturday.
The team would like to extend a big thanks to everybody who has sent messages of concern; and we will keep you updated as and when, should additional information become available."
Since winning a stage of the Dubai Tour and coming second on a stage of the Tour of Oman, the 32-year-old has endured a run of bad luck, starting at the Abu Dhai Tour where he sustained concussion in a crash caused by the sudden braking of an official car in the neutralised zone of the opening stage.
Cavendish returned to action at Tirreno-Adriatico, but his race lasted only a little longer as he crashed in the opening team time trial. Although he was well enough to get up and cross the line, his slow time saw him eliminated from the race.
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