A smiling and still upbeat Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) started stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia looking ready to take on another hard day of racing, knowing the stage around Naples and the Amalfi coast could perhaps end in a bunch sprint.
Cavendish suffered a hair-raising high speed crash at the finish of stage 5 after his back wheel slipped on a white line and then a questionable manoeuvre by Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) sent the Manxman spinning into the ground. He first moved towards the barriers and then flipped over his bike as he crossed the line.
Cavendish revealed on Wednesday evening that he hadn’t fractured any bones or suffered major injuries in the crash and wished all the best for those who came off worse. Before the start Cavendish and Dainese spoke about the crash, with the young Italian apologetic after being relegated down the results for his switch across the road.
“I was quite lucky. So we’ll continue and see what happens,” he said before rolling out of Naples.
Cavendish slid across the finish line holding his bike and other riders then rode into him. He instinctively held onto his bike, saving others from crashing.
“You try and hold on to it, keep it close, and help as much you can,” he explained.
“Whatever carnage there is, you want as little as possible so you hold on to your bike and reduce that area of potential knock-on crashes.”
Cavendish was left battered and bruised but has fond memories of Naples. He took the opening stage and maglia rosa in the southern Italian city back in 2013. He seemed enthused by the energy of the city and its people.
“It’s a great city, it’s always special when the Giro comes here,” he said.
“It’s always hard for me logistically to spend three weeks going round Italy, but Naples has an incredible atmosphere, and whatever happens I just love coming here.”
He predicted that today’s 162 km stage, with its hilly start and flat finale, “could go one of two ways. On paper it’s a bunch sprint, but maybe other teams have other ideas.”
He knows that despite his injuries, he has to fight for every possible sprint opportunity because there aren’t many in this year’s Corsa Rosa.
“Ideally I’d like to take it calmly for a couple of days, but there aren’t that many chances for the sprinters, so we’ll see,” he said.
“Today is one of those days where I’m paid to sprint, but modern cycling, you know, looking at these Jayco guys, they’ll probably ride…
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