The peloton was rapidly approaching the finish line in the University of Qatar in readiness for a bunch sprint, when the incident occurred.
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The bunch moves around a traffic island in the middle of the road, but evidently the obstacle caught out one or two riders as they jostled for position at high speed.
Those moving to the right-hand-side of the island were affected by the crash, which happened mid-pack.
Irish sprinter Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) was reportedly one of those brought down.
Kristoff out-paced Cavendish for the win by a tight margin as both riders gave everything to lunge towards the line.
Cavendish’s second place was enough for him to retain the overall lead in the race heading into Wednesday’s individual time trial.