Updated: Sunday, 06 July 2014 09:24 | By Agence France-Presse

Cavendish sweats over Tour de France fate

Mark Cavendish faces an uncomfortable night before discovering if he will continue on the Tour de France Sunday.


Cavendish sweats over Tour de France fate

Britain's Mark Cavendish lies injured after a fall near the finish line at the end of the 190.5 km first stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 5, 2014 between Leeds and Harrogate - by Fred Mons

The 29-year-old sprinter dislocated his collarbone after crashing badly on Saturday's opening 190.5km stage from Leeds to Harrogate.

Sunday's second stage is a punishing 200km run from York to Sheffield that takes in nine categorised climbs.

Even if the Omega Pharma-Quick Step (OPQS) leader was fit to continue, he would face a painful day in the saddle.

His team said they would wait until Sunday morning to decide if he would continue.

"Mark Cavendish underwent further examination on his right shoulder after today's (Saturday) crash," said the OPQS statement.

"The imaging underlined ligament ruptures with an AC-joint dislocation, which causes him a lot of pain. A final decision on his participation in tomorrow's (Sunday) stage will be taken tomorrow morning."

Cavendish hit the deck hard on his right shoulder after colliding with Australian Simon Gerrans, who was also sent tumbling.

Cavendish admitted the crash was entirely up to him.

"I'm gutted about the crash today. It was my fault. I'll personally apologise to Simon Gerrans as soon as I get the chance," he said.

"In reality, I tried to find a gap that wasn't really there. I wanted to win today, I felt really strong and was in a great position to contest the sprint thanks to the unbelievable efforts of my team."

While the opening stage was one for the sprinters, with German bullet Marcel Kittel winning and taking the leader's yellow jersey, Sunday's run should suit either a breakaway or one of the peloton's punchers and classics specialists.

Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, who won April's Fleche-Wallonne race, one of three Ardennes Classics, said he was looking forward to Sunday's stage.

"The profile is well suited to me," he said.

The stage could also have been ideal for Gerrans, who won Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the third of the Ardennes Classics, but he said that after his crash, he would unlikely be in a fit state to challenge.

"I'll definitely be going for it tomorrow but how much today's crash has taken out of me I'm not quite sure, so I think we'll probably just have to sit on the road tomorrow," he said.

The lumpy nature of the stage, the fifth longest in this year's race, could see opportunities for the overall contenders to gain time.

Twice former winner Alberto Contador said that means they will have to be on high alert. 

"For tomorrow more of the same," he said after revealing he was relieved to have got through Saturday's opening stage unscathed.

"I hope to be paying good attention and to see how the day pans out in case there is movement between the favourites at the end."

The 31-year-old Tinkoff-Saxo leader had previously singled out this stage as a potentially troublesome one.

"I have seen a video of this stage, it will be very tricky and there could be time gaps between the contenders," he said at a pre-race press conference in Leeds on Friday.

"You have to consider that wind can also play a very important role. There are many climbs for a second day stage, it will be very tough and tricky so I hope to have good legs that day."

Slovakia's Peter Sagan finished second behind Kittel on Saturday's opening stage.

Having won the green points jersey the last three years, he is expecting to pick up more points on Sunday, when pure sprinters like Kittel are not expected to reach the end with the leaders.

"It could be a really good chance but at the same time I expect a really tough finale," said the Cannondale team leader.

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