Limoges — Mark Cavendish crashed out of the Tour de France on Saturday after a fall 140km into stage eight left the star British cyclist with what appeared to be a broken collarbone.
The 38-year-old Cavendish was racing his final Tour de France in an effort to break the all time record of 34 stage wins he shares with Eddy Merckx.
The Astana rider was ashen-faced as doctors closed the ambulance door on his bid to set the new record which escaped him by a whisker on stage seven at Bordeaux on Friday.
Headed for victory on the banks of the Garonne river a chain slip saw Jasper Philipsen beat him to the line and deprive him of a landmark stage win.
Cavendish burst on to the Tour de France map in 2008 with his first four wins when he was just 23-years-old.
His iconic celebrations were drenched in bravado and made such good television he attracted a new generation of fans to the sport.
A student of the fine art of the sprint lead out and a bullish competitor the Isle of man native matched Merckx on 34 wins in 2021.
He missed the cut in 2022 but changed teams for 2023 where he appeared capable of clinching the all important stage for which he strived so hard.