Cavendish crashes but finishes third in Tour of Britain opener

 
Frank Dalleres
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SPRINT star Mark Cavendish suffered a repeat of his Tour de France woes on the first stage of the Tour of Britain yesterday, suffering a leg injury in a crash as he missed out on victory in Liverpool.

Germany’s Marcel Kittel won the stage, for which Cavendish had been among the favourites, with the Briton third behind Italian Nicola Ruffoni in a frantic finale.

Cavendish needed hospital treatment after the stage and indicated that a collision with a team car had seriously hurt his left leg, raising concerns that he may have to abandon the race as he did at the Tour de France, following a shoulder injury on the Yorkshire Grand Depart.

Defending champion Sir Bradley Wiggins finished in the main group as he began what is being billed as his last race as a general classification contender, while his Team Sky colleague Ben Swift crossed the line fifth.

German Giant-Shimano rider Kittel continued his fine record on British soil, having won two of this year’s three Tour de France stages in this country. The race, which concludes on Sunday in London, continues today from Knowsley to Llandudno.

Team Sky’s Chris Froome remains third in the Vuelta a Espana, meanwhile, despite losing time on leaders Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde in yesterday’s 15th stage. Contador is 31 seconds ahead of fellow Spaniard Valverde and one minute and 20 seconds in front of Froome.

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