HARROGATE: Mark Cavendish will apologise to Australia's Simon Gerrans after the British sprint star took the blame for a crash in the opening stage of the Tour de France.
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Tour de France: Mark Cavendish crashes
Mark Cavendish dislocates his collarbone after crashing in the opening stage of the Tour de France.
Cavendish suffered a dislocated collarbone in the fall and his place in the race is in doubt following the dramatic first stage won by German Marcel Kittel on Saturday.
The 29-year-old sprinter had been aiming to win the 190.5km stage from Leeds to Harrogate which is the town where his mother was born.
Cavendish and Gerrans collided as the Briton leaned into his 34-year-old rival, and as they fell they took down several other riders.
That left Kittel, 26, to outsprint Slovak Peter Sagan, the winner of the past three green jerseys at the Tour, and Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania for the victory.
Cavendish faces an uncomfortable night before discovering if he will continue into the second stage which is a punishing 200km run from York to Sheffield that takes in nine categorised climbs.
"I'm gutted about the crash today. It was my fault. I'll personally apologise to Simon Gerrans as soon as I get the chance," said Cavendish, a winner of 25 Tour stages since 2008.
"In reality, I tried to find a gap that wasn't really there. I wanted to win today, I felt really strong and was in a great position to contest the sprint thanks to the unbelievable efforts of my team. Sorry to all the fans that came out to support -- it was truly incredible."
Omega Pharma-Quick Step (OPQS) leader Cavendish was taken to hospital for X-rays and an ultrasound, which revealed he had suffered no break but had an "acromioclavicular separation".
His team released a statement saying he had undergone tests on his right shoulder but that a decision on his participation for the rest of the Tour would be made on Sunday.
"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 stage will be taken tomorrow morning," said the statement.
Gerrans, whose jersey was ripped to shreds, seemed in good spirits despite the crash and refused to point the finger.
"I'm not exactly sure what happened just yet, I'll obviously be watching the replay when I get back to the hotel. I think it will be replayed over a few times," said the 34-year-old Australian, who held the yellow jersey for two stages last year.
The unfortunate incident deflected from Kittel's fine victory, the second year in a row he won the opening stage and rode himself into yellow.
"It was a great win and a very emotional victory," said Kittel.
"It was so hard. The hill in the last kilometre made it very difficult to win. There were so many people that we rode the finale like in a tunnel with a terrible noise. It's unbelievable that I win stage one again," added the 26-year-old Giant-Shimano sprinter.
The stage had been given a royal send off from Leeds.
Prince William's wife Catherine cut the official start ribbon at the opening ceremony at Harewood House, just outside Leeds.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Prince Harry spoke to several riders at the ceremony including British reigning champion Chris Froome, Cavendish, former Tour winners Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck, world champion Rui Costa, as well as the two other Brits in the peloton, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates.
A band at the stately country home in Yorkshire played the national anthems of France and Britain while the famous Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, flew overhead through blue and sunny skies.