Exactly what happened to Cavendish is unclear; race radio reported he had fallen early on in the stage, but his abandon was only announced within the final 90 minutes of the stage from Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham.
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“I think a car was parked a little in the road – the security was fine, there was just a lot of people. That’s what somebody told me,” said Etixx DS Brian Holm.
“He couldn’t move at all, the doctor said there wasn’t anything broken in shoulder, but there was no chance he could continue. I think it’s the one he injured in Harrogate [in the 2014 Tour de France].
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“I think he’s alright, he’s in the clinic in Manchester. My guess would be that he can do the Worlds, we’ll see.”
Cavendish was this afternoon announced in Britain’s nine-man team for the World Championships road race in Richmond, Virginia on September 27.
This is the first time that Cavendish has failed to finish the national tour; he holds the record number of stage wins in the modern event with 10, and has twice won in London, where this year’s event finishes on Sunday.