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September 26, 2017

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Rivals wish Cavendish well, riders plead with crowds

YORK, United Kingdom -- Mark Cavendish's rivals were wishing him well as the British sprinter was left with an anxious wait to see if he would start the Tour de France second stage on Sunday.

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

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

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

But the Manxman received encouraging support from his fellow Britons in the peloton.

"He'll be devastated, he's a real racer, a winner, and he'd hate that," said Welsh Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas.

"I'm sure he'll bounce back. As long as he's OK and nothing's broken, he'll be as determined as ever to win into London on Monday."

Cavendish's team said they would give him every possible chance to continue.

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

"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.

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