Mark Cavendish has been forced to abandon the 2023 Tour de France with a suspected collarbone after crashing on Stage 8.
The collision with Pello Bilbao 60 km from the finish left Cavendish on the tarmac clutching his shoulder before he was helped into an ambulance, with his Astana Qazaqstan team later confirming his abandonment.
The episode marks a cruel end to the 38-year-old Manxman’s legendary Tour de France career given his planned retirement at the end of this season, robbing him of the opportunity to surpass the record of 34 stage wins he shares with Eddy Merckx.
Having struggled to challenge on the first few bunch sprints of the Tour, the incident will sting all the more given how close Cavendish came to the record-breaking victory on Stage 7 before agonizingly being edged out on the line by Jasper Philipsen.
Nonetheless, Cavendish will go down as undoubtedly the greatest sprinter in the history of the Tour de France.
Cavendish is one of five riders to have been forced to abandon this year’s Tour due to crashes, joining Richard Carapaz, Enric Mas, Jacopo Guarnieri, and Luis Leon Sanchez.