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Cavendish had gone to hospital after crashing into the railings by the side of the road at the finish in Vittel. The crash occurred when he tangled with world champion Peter Sagan in the sprint finish. Sagan was later kicked out of the Tour by the race jury.
“I’m obviously massively disappointed to get this news about the fracture,” Cavendish said. “The team was incredible today. They executed to perfection what we wanted to do this morning. I feel I was in a good position to win and to lose that and even having to leave the Tour, a race I’ve built my whole career around, is really sad.”
Examinations confirmed that he had fractured his right shoulder blade in the crash.
“Mark suffered a fracture to the right scapula. Fortunately, no surgery is required at this stage, and most importantly there is no nerve damage,” said team doctor Adrian Rotunno. “He’s been withdrawn from the race for obvious medical reasons, and we’ll continue monitoring him over the coming days.”
When he left for hospital, Cavendish was wearing a sling, but expressed some hope that he might carry on in the Tour.
“I’m OK. I’m in a little bit of pain. I’ll go for some more tests now, we’ll see,” Cavendish told a scrum of reporters outside his Dimension Data team’s bus.
The 30-time Tour stage winner said he would start Wednesday’s stage 5 if it wouldn’t make his injuries “worse.”
“In terms of pain-wise, I’ve done my shoulder twice before and I’m in more pain now than I was for one of my shoulders — that doesn’t make me too optimistic, just on feeling, but I’m not a doctor,” he added before leaving for the hospital.
However, the Brit will be heading home early in what is a continuation of his bad fortune in 2017, following a months-long bout of Epstein-Barr virus.