Mark Cavendish is out of Tirreno-Adriatico 2018 after his heavy crash in the team time trial, in which he fractured a rib and finished outside of the time cut.

Cavendish went down hard at ‘around 55km/h’ and finished the stage on a road bike, with bad cuts on his face and injuries to his knees, hips, hands and ribs.

Despite his injuries, the Manxman – who also had to abandon his last race, the Abu Dhabi Tour, after crashing on the opening stage – had hoped to race the flat stage two.

But after finishing the opening stage outside the time limit, he has had to quit – throwing his preparations for Milan-San Remo into more disarray.

Mark Cavendish, Tirreno-Adriatico crash, team time trial (Pic: Sirotti)

07-03-2018 Tirreno - Adriatico; Tappa 01 Lido Di Camaiore, - Lido Di Camaiore; 2018, Dimension Data; Cavendish, Mark; Lido Di Camaiore;

Mark Cavendish, Tirreno-Adriatico crash, team time trial (Pic: Sirotti)

Speaking of the crash, Cavendish said: “It’s frustrating to have crashed, particularly in light of the concussion I sustained in Abu Dhabi, but I’m just pleased that there’s no major damage done.

"It’s frustrating to have crashed ... but I’m just pleased that there’s no major damage done"

“Despite the pain from my injury I was really looking forward to a fast second stage and naturally disappointed that I’m not going to be a part of it."

On Cavendish’s injuries, team doctor Dr. Jarrad van Zuydam added: “The fracture’s nice and stable and should heal well.

“The plan was to let him start [stage two] but unfortunately it was ruled he finished outside the time limit and so won’t be allowed to take the start."

Cavendish has now been unable to complete seven of the 12 stage races he has ridden since the start of 2017, with his early-season misfortune this year following last year’s illness and injury-hit campaign.

Edvald Boasson Hagen is now likely to take over sprinting duties for the remainder of Tirreno-Adriatico.

Mark Cavendish, Tirreno-Adriatico crash, team time trial (Pic: Sirotti)

07-03-2018 Tirreno - Adriatico; Tappa 01 Lido Di Camaiore, - Lido Di Camaiore; 2018, Dimension Data; Cavendish, Mark; Lido Di Camaiore;

Mark Cavendish, Tirreno-Adriatico crash, team time trial (Pic: Sirotti)

The opening stage team time trial was won by BMC Racing – the third year in a row they have triumphed on the first day of Tirreno-Adriatico.

Adam Yates’ Mitchelton-Scott team were second and Team Sky were third, as Yates and Sky duo Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas gained early time on their GC rivals.