Mark Cavendish has crashed at the Tour de France, forcing him to abandon the race and with it his hopes of winning a record-breaking 35th stage.
The British cyclist fell to the ground during a touch of wheels in the pelaton – main group – around 60km from the end of stage eight between Libourne to Limoges.
He lay down holding his shoulder as he received medical assistance before being taken into an ambulance for checks, with race organisers then confirming his withdrawal.
Cavendish, from the Isle of Man, has been level with Belgian great Eddy Merckx on 34 victories and had been bidding to pull ahead.
On Friday, he came within a few metres of an historic victory in Bordeaux but ended up second as he was pipped at the line by Belgian’s Jasper Philipsen after suffering a mechanical problem with his gears.
Cavendish, known as the Manx Missile, has long said this will be his last Tour de France.
The 38-year-old Astana-Qazaqstan rider won his first Tour stages in 2008, taking four that year, and would be up to 20 by 2011.
He enjoyed four stage victories in 2021, equalling Merckx’s record with his victory on stage 13 in Carcassonne.
Throughout his career, Cavendish has won the Tour de France green jersey [for best sprinter], world championships and an Olympic medal, as well as more than 50 Grand Tour stage wins and a Sports Personality of the Year gong in 2011.
Earlier this year, two men were jailed after they robbed Cavendish’s home, holding the cyclist and his wife Peta Todd at knifepoint.
They stole several items, including two expensive watches.
A third man accused of being part of the group that held up Cavendish’s home is facing trial next year.