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VN news ticker: Mark Cavendish says Ghent Six crash was ‘freak accident’, Nathan Haas to swap road for gravel in 2022

Here's the news making the headlines on Thursday, December 2.

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Mark Cavendish describes Ghent Six crash as ‘freak accident’

Mark Cavendish has described his high-speed crash in the Kuipke velodrome at the Ghent Six as a ‘freak accident.’ The Manxman came down hard when he collided with a fallen Lasse Norman Hansen, who had his front wheel clipped as riders moved to avoid a patch of water on the track.

“This was a freak accident. You know the dangers of crashing, but thinking that there’s going to be water on a velodrome that causes a chain reaction that you come off the worst it’s not something you implement into when you’re going out to compete,” he told sports news agency SNTV.

Cavendish will have to extend his off-season break to recover from his injuries, three broken ribs, and a punctured lung. However, he believes that the long block of racing he got in during the 2021 season will mean he’s not too far behind schedule when he gets next season underway.

“I was due a week or 10 days so now it may be a week longer. Then, I can start getting on Zwift indoors and I should be alright. I’ll get my lung checked, and as long as my lung is healed then the pain I can manage,” he said.

“I shouldn’t be too late on where I’m racing, I just probably won’t be in the absolute peak condition I want to be in at that stage. I may well be. I’ve had a busy year; I’ve had a year where I’ve got a lot of good kilometers in my legs. I haven’t had any setbacks this year, so I’ve actually been able to get such a big base this year that it should put me in good stead to be in a step forward going into next year.”

Nathan Haas to swap road for gravel in 2022

Nathan Haas is set to join the swath of road riders heading for the bumpy tracks of gravel racing. The Australian announced on his Instagram that he would be leaving the French Cofidis team to branch out on his own.

Haas has competed in the WorldTour since 2012 when he signed with Garmin-Sharp. He spent four years with the team before moving to Dimension Data and then Katusha Alpecin. His biggest successes on the road include stage wins at the Vuelta a Burgos and Tour of Oman, and a win at the Herald Sun Tour.

“I’ve had the itch to jump into the gravel world for a while now. So here we go, pioneering life to take on the gravel world,” he wrote. “After 10 years in the world tour, which every minute I’ve loved, the seasons were all starting to feel a bit same, same but different. My true love for cycling had been morphing into my new passion for gravel riding and if there’s a legacy I’d like to leave in cycling is this; follow your passion, so to practice what I preach, I’m doing the same.

“I’ll be taking on the biggest gravel races in Europe, the USA, and all around the world, chasing wins, smiles, and stories. I’m so excited to bring you all on the adventure with me. There’s a lot I’m nervous about, change is always a challenge, but it’s where we grow. My technical partners for next year, which I’ll be posting about over the next month have given me the confidence to know that I’ll be racing on the absolute best equipment, no compromises, all performance and all beautiful.”