British sprint king Mark Cavendish made an early exit from the Abu Dhabi Tour yesterday after crashing before the official start of the first stage.
“Mark Cavendish went down in the neutral zone, falling on the same shoulder he broke last year. He got up and chased back to the peloton but had to abandon soon after,” tweeted Team Dimension Data.
The former world champion collided with a car that had braked suddenly before reaching the start line in the western desert of Madinat Zayed, according to the official Abu Dhabi television channel.
Cavendish, appearing to be suffering from shoulder and neck pain, was examined by a doctor and attempted to re-enter the peloton but bowed out a few kilometres later.
The 32-year-old, who won the third stage of the Dubai Tour on February 8, was one of the headliners of the five-stage Abu Dhabi Tour, which includes three stages particularly favourable to sprinters.
Cavendish was forced to abandon the Tour de France last year after a heavy crash at the fourth stage finish line left him with a broken shoulder, triggering the disqualification of winner Peter Sagan.