Mark Cavendish: How the Brutal Ghent Six Crash May Affect His Season


Cavendish Suffers Horror Injury in Belgium

Mark Cavendish’s hopes of a focused, uninterrupted preparation period heading into the road cycling season were dashed in a matter of seconds last week, having suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung in a horrific crash.

The Manxman spent the Sunday night in the ICU of Ghent Hospital having come off his bike in the Ghent Six track event, with suspected spilled water the supposed reason for the tumble.


Image Credits: Luc Claessen


The 36-year-old’s contract negotiations have been put on hold with current team Deceuninck–Quick-Step, although he and his team are still expected to pen a new one-year contract extension once Cavendish has battled through the worst of the recovery.

Speaking to the The Sun newspaper, he said, “As professional sportspeople, we’re used to broken bones and lungs heal quite quickly so I should be back in the saddle in a few weeks. It might push my season back a bit and I’ll be in pain for a while, but I heal well so it’s not too bad.

“It was a freak accident caused by water on the track after a rider spilled his drink. There was a slip of wheels in front which started a chain reaction and caused a crash.

“I landed on a bike, broke my rips, and ripped a hole in my lung. The hole is behind my heart, which complicates things and makes it harder to monitor because it doesn’t show on X-rays, but I’ll survive.”

The legendary sprinter etched his name into cycling folklore during last year’s Tour de France having won four stages to move level with Eddy Mercx’s all time stage win record, meaning he needs just one more to be clear of the revered Belgian.


However, with a substantial injury scuppering Cavendish’s plans and his career nearing its twilight, there is certainly a feeling that the upcoming Tour de France may well be his last shot at clinching the record.

“My goal is to try to win as much as I can, for as long as I can. There’s no specific number I want to reach,” he said.

“My family have been on the back end of my career for too long so first and foremost, I’ll do what’s best for them.

“But I have options and I have desires when it comes to what I do next. I’m not lucky to be a cyclist, because I have worked hard and sacrificed my whole life. But every day I’m on a bike, I feel fortunate to be able to do what I love and I’m fortunate that I’m in a position that I can choose what I want to do after in my career.”


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