Watch Mark Cavendish crash on the finish line in spectacular Giro d’Italia accident

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Watch Mark Cavendish crash on the finish line in spectacular Giro d’Italia accident - AP/Massimo Paolone

Watch Mark Cavendish crash on the finish line in spectacular Giro d’Italia accident – AP/Massimo Paolone

Mark Cavendish was involved in a spectacular crash at the finish to a rain-sodden fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia, which also featured race favourite Remco Evenepoel falling twice, the first time after a stray dog ran out into the road.

Cavendish, wearing the British road champion’s jersey, was praised for his “smooth” landing skills after his front wheel was clipped at high speed by the Italian Alberto Dainese (DSM) in the sprint at the end of the stage to Salerno. The Manx rider, 37, was sent veering to his right, into a rider from Green Project-Bardiani over on the barriers, and then back the other way, flying off his bike Superman-style.

Still just about holding onto his bike, Cavendish slid across the line in fifth place behind stage winner Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck). He was later promoted to fourth after Dainese was relegated for causing the crash.

“That’s the skills of not just professional cyclists but sprinters,” former sprinter Robbie McEwen said of Cavendish’s crash on Eurosport’s post-race show The Breakaway.

“At 65-70kph … you’ll do anything and everything to keep yourself from going down. Cav is catapulted from left to right, hits the rider from Green Project-Bardiani and then came down awkwardly. In the end, it’s probably the smoothest he could have possibly landed – he rode it to the ground.” Cavendish was able to get back up after his crash.

There was plenty of drama earlier in the stage, with world champion Evenepoel twice coming down, the first time just 19km into the stage when a stray dog ran out into the road, causing his Soudal Quick-Step team-mate Davide Ballerini to come down right in front of him.

After being attended to by the race doctor, Evenepoel was remounted, but he came down again towards the finish as the rain pelted down, causing three crashes in the final 10km.  This time Evenepoel looked furious as he got back onto his bike, angrily gesticulating to the driver of his team car, appearing to suggest a rider may have cut across his path.

The reigning Vuelta a Espana champion did not lose any time in the general classification as the crash happened in the final 3km. He remains second overall, 28 seconds behind DSM’s Andreas Leknessund.

But his chances of winning back the pink jersey he won after his stage one time trial victory last weekend may well be affected by what his team doctor described as “a lot of pain on his right side and a hematoma with contraction of his muscles and some problems with his sacrum bone”.

Toon Cruyt, the Soudal Quick-Step doctor, added: “Hopefully, with massage and osteopathic treatment followed by a good night’s rest, things will go better. We will know more Thursday morning, but what’s sure is that stage six will be a difficult one for him.”

Ineos Grenadiers hopefuls Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart, who sit sixth and ninth respectively on general classification, were able to stay safe on a wild day.

“Gotta say, not the most enjoyable day on the bike, that,” Thomas tweeted. “Then chaos at the end. Hope everyone is OK. Thanks to the boys for getting me through.”

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