Briton Mark Cavendish has been ruled out of the Tour de France after the sprint specialist failed to recover from a horror crash towards the end the first stage, his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team said.

"Starting is not an option," team manager Patrick Lefevere told reporters outside of the OPQS team bus before the 201-km ride to Sheffield.

Cavendish was aiming for a 26th Tour de France stage victory but dislocated his right shoulder in the finale of the opening stage from Leeds to Harrogate, his mother's hometown.

He seemed too eager to succeed in the closing stages and, using his shoulders for extra leverage, swayed towards Australian Simon Gerrans, bringing both of them down.

Cavendish takes blame

The former world champion later apologised to Gerrans, saying he had 'tried to find a gap that wasn't really there'. Lefevere, however, suggested otherwise.

"Gerrans came a little bit quicker but we was next to Mark. He was at the end of his sprint and tried to go in slipstream and he used his elbow to break down Mark and Mark used his body against him and the rest is what we saw," the Belgian said.

OPQS's strategy is now likely to focus on Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski who can reasonably target a top 10 finish in Paris as well as vying for honours in the young rider classification.

The opening three stages of this year's race are being held in England.

Source: Reuters