Mark Cavendish’s woes continued at the Tour Down Under after the HTC-Highroad sprinter was forced to finish stage three among road traffic.
The Manxman fell heavily on stage two and was left struggling to maintain contact with the peloton as they tackled three laps of Thursday’s hilly 21km finishing circuit.
And police reopened the roads once the peloton had passed through, leaving Cavendish to trail home 12 minutes behind stage winner Mike Matthews.
“I did the whole last lap on open road, you had to stand on all sides of the thing and stop for traffic,” said Cavendish.
Asked if he had to negotiate much traffic, Cavendish added: “Quite a bit yeah, more than you want in a professional race.”
Australian Matthews, who won the under-23 world title in October in similar fashion, stole the show on the uphill sprint into Stirling, claiming line honours ahead of Omega Pharma-Lotto’s André Greipel and overall race leader Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad).
“It is one of the most difficult stages of this Tour, it great to win this one,” said Matthews.
“This win is parallel with the World Championships, with the guys we are racing against, the best in the world in the elite level. Under 23s is under 23s.”