Injured Cavendish heads for hospital after stage four crash

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Mark Cavendish's participation in the 2017 Tour de France hangs in the balance after a nasty crash in the bunch sprint for the finish line of stage four.

The Manxman had hoped to close in on Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins during the 2017 Tour and he looked will placed to add to his tally of 30 on Tuesday.

Cavendish had positioned himself perfectly coming into the final section of the 207.5-kilometre route from Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel.

However, as the sprinters jostled for position, the Team Dimension Data rider was forced into the barriers as he looked to cut down the inside, sending him sprawling onto the road.

Cavendish received treatment from Tour medical staff and was immediately sent to hospital for further checks.

 

Television pictures showed the rider's hand had been bandaged, while his team confirmed his shoulder was also being looked at before a decision is taken on whether or not he will remain in the race.

Cavendish confirmed to reporters he could need stitches in an injury on his finger, while also having concerns about his right shoulder.

"Injury wise I am going to go and get it checked out," he said.

"I'll definitely need stitches in this finger, it's bleeding a lot. And the shoulder, it's something to do with the previous shoulder injury I did in Harrogate. 

"I don't know if I've snapped the fake ligament I have in it or what. I'm not a doctor but from the feelings I'm not optimistic.

"I was following [Arnaud] Demare and then [Peter] Sagan came over." 

Of the Slovak's role in the incident, Cavendish said: "Yeah, he did [apologise]. I get on with Peter well but I'm not a fan of him putting his elbow in me like that. 

"A crash is a crash, I'd just like to know about the elbow."

It will be a huge blow for the Olympian who had overcome glandular fever to be part of the race.