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CAV'S A LUIS CANNON; TOUR DE FRANCE; Hotheaded Manxman is Tour's answer to Suarez and should be BANNED says Norwegian rival.

Byline: MIKE WALTERS

MARK CAVENDISH was branded the Luis Suarez of road cycling - for biting off more than he can chew in a munch sprint.

As the Tour de France arrived on The Mall without crocked legend Cavendish, Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff put the boot into the peloton's absent star.

Kristoff - bronze medallist down the same avenue in the London 2012 Olympic road race - accused Cavendish of reckless riding and deliberately causing the crash at the end of the first stage that has put the Brit out of the Tour.

After a largely uneventful 96.3-mile journey from Cambridge, German powerhouse Marcel Kittel claimed his second stage win in three days.

Britain's defending champion Chris Froome came home safely in the pack on roads made treacherous by light rain and crossed the Channel last night in fifth place overall.

And despite pleas for crowds to keep out of the way, Froome's Team Sky colleague David Lopez collided with a spectator in Essex, Luxembourg's Andy Schleck being brought down in the aftermath of screeching brakes.

But a sprint up The Mall without Cavendish is a bit like going to a garden party at Buckingham Palace only to find the Queen has stayed indoors.

It happened two years ago, of course, when he was stitched up like a cheap suit by Olympic nations ganging up on the Brits - not that Kristoff (right) feels sorry for Cavendish now.

The Manx missile is due to have surgery today on the right shoulder he dislocated in that tumble in Harrogate. He also ruptured shoulder ligaments and faces six weeks out - meaning he will miss the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which start on July 23.

But instead of sending a get-well-soon card, with, Kristoff scolded him for being too aggressive and losing his head.

Comparing him with chomper Suarez (left) is a bit harsh. That has to hurt more than a lovebite on the shoulder from a Uruguay striker with cannibal instincts.

But Kristoff, who finished fifth yesterday, said: "Suarez was banned for biting people in soccer and to me it looked like Cavendish caused the crash on purpose. At 60km an hour, it's really dangerous and you can injure people.

"In an uphill sprint, you lose a bit of control sometimes. It's not the first time he has done this and I hope he calms down a little in the future. He's a brilliant sprinter, but it looks like he h lost his head a bit.

"I was stuck behind the crash but I felt I had good legs. I don't know if I could have beaten Kittel (in Harrogate), but I think I could have been close, so it was a missed opportunity." As if to make sure the capital city would not be upstaged by Yorkshire, central London was absolutely packed for the third stage on UK tarmac before the circus headed for the Channel Tunnel.

Royalty was there to greet the riders as they crossed the line, notably that famous cyclist Jose Mourinho, who gave his sovereign blessing to Portuguese compatriot Rui Costa, the reigning world road race champion, while Andy Murray hopped onto the Team Sky bus.

Froome can feel eminently satisfied with his long weekend in Britain, and today's flat run from Le Touquet to Lille should not be a problem if the rain holds off.

But he warned: "We can expect a similar day, but on day five we hit the cobbles - and that will be quite a shake-up, literally."

As for the spectator clattered by Lopez . . it had to happen in Essex, didn't it?

The only stray's in Essex.

m.walters@trinitymirror.com

STAGE FOUR: A 163.5km ride to Lille marks the first stage on French soil, with two small climbs followed by a flat sprint finish on another day for Marcus Kittel, Peter Sagan and anyone else aiming for the Green Jersey

CAPTION(S):

HORROR IN HARROGATE Cavendish crashes out (left) and is left on the floor nursing a dislocated shoulder (right)

HE'S OUT OF CONTROL Injured Cavendish has been told by Tour rival Alexander Kristoff he needs to calm down
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 8, 2014
Words:685
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