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Mark Cavendish has sustained two broken ribs and a collapsed lung after leaving an arena on a stretcher following a horrific high-speed crash at the Kuipke Velodrome on Sunday night.
The 36-year-old was taking part in the iconic Ghent Six event in Belgium and was racing in the final Madison race when the veteran sprinter heavily collided with Lasse Norman Hansen in a crash involving several riders.
Cavendish eventually stood up and waved to the adoring crowd before being hurried to a local hospital on a stretcher as a precaution. The incident was reportedly caused by a wet patch on the track of the historic indoor velodrome in Ghent, Belgium.
Video footage of the crash appears to show Gerben Thijssen losing control of his rear at the bottom of the crowded track, forcing rider Kenny de Ketele – who was following the Belgian – to swing up the boards. The road racing cyclist cut off Hansen as a result, and the Dane crashed directly in front of Cavendish, taking the Brit out with him.
The extent of the damage done to Cavendish has since been confirmed, with his team Deceuninck – Quick-Step releasing a statement which read: "Examinations showed that Mark has suffered two broken ribs on this left side and has a small pneumothorax [collapsed lung], both of which have been treated with medication. He has been kept in the hospital for observation.
"It is expected that Mark will be discharged either later today or tomorrow morning, and will then undergo a period of recuperation."
Cavendish’s teammate Iljo Keisse earlier said: "He has a big bruise on his ribs and a lot of pain in his thigh and arm."
Jasper de Buyst and Roger Kluge were leading the race when the crash occurred, and the 27-year-old Belgian admitted he narrowly avoided an incident himself on the dangerous patch just before Hansen and Cavendish collided.
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"Stupid it has to happen like this," De Buyst told Sporza . "I had noticed the lap before that there was some water, but I ran over it at a slower speed.
"The next round it went completely wrong."
Cavendish’s Deceuninck-Quick-Step team had provided a brief statement on their sprinter’s condition on Sunday night before revealing the full extent.
"Following his crash at Ghent Six, Mark Cavendish has been taken to the hospital for investigations," read a tweet from the team. "We’ll share more details as soon as we’ll have them."
Cavendish’s wife Peta also shared a health update on Twitter.
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"Thank you for all the messages," she wrote. "Mark is spending the night in ICU following today’s crash.
"Thank you to all the medical staff that helped us today and also to the Deceuninck-Quick-Step staff that sprung into action to help me and the kids."
The competition resumed over half an hour later, with Hansen able to return to action alongside teammate Michael Mørkøv. Keisse continued alone as Cavendish was out.
The retiring De Ketele and teammate Robbe Ghys took the win at the crash-marred Madison event to secure the overall classification.
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