On this day in 2014: Cavendish crashed out of the Tour de France in Yorkshire

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The Tour de France got under way in Yorkshire, but the day was to end in pain and disappointment for Mark Cavendish on this day in 2014.

More than a million spectators turned out to witness the eagerly-anticipated Grand Depart as the Tour came to Yorkshire.

The 190.5km opening stage from Leeds to Harrogate, the home town of Cavendish’s mother, took the field through the Yorkshire Dales, although the drama was to come a little more than 200m from the finishing line.

Mark Cavendish
It was a painful end for Mark Cavendish in Harrogate (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Manxman’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep team had been well positioned entering the final kilometre when Trek Factory Racing’s Fabian Cancellara launched an attack.

In his efforts to cover the break, Cavendish collided with Orica GreenEdge rival Simon Gerrans and hit the tarmac, in the process, separating the acromioclavicular joint between his right shoulder and collarbone.

With Cavendish grounded, German Marcel Kittel raced away to claim victory in the opening stage for the second successive year.

The wounded then 29-year-old Briton, who had been bidding for his 26th Tour de France stage win, pedalled his way back to his team bus in some discomfort before being taken to hospital by ambulance and undergoing an MRI scan.

Mark Cavendish
An MRI scan later revealed Cavendish was badly injured and he pulled out of the race (Ian Parker/PA)

Cavendish, who had been caught up in a crash on the approach to Bastia on the opening stage 12 months earlier, later admitted responsibility for the collision.

He said: “It was my fault. I’ll personally apologise to Simon Gerrans as soon as I get the chance. In reality, I tried to find a gap that wasn’t really there.”

Ultimately, the incident cost Cavendish his place in the race as he was forced to withdraw ahead of the next day’s run from York to Sheffield the following morning.

He said: “I’m absolutely devastated. I was in pain last night. I held a bit of optimism that it was maybe just swelling and would go down overnight, but it’s actually worse this morning. It’s not possible to start, from a medical point of view.”

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