Mark Renshaw crashes in the opening stage of the Tour of Slovenia | Video

A CRASH less than a month out from the Tour de France – it was certainly not the way Bathurst cyclist Mark Renshaw had hoped to begin the Tour of Slovenia.

TOUGH START: Bathurst cyclist Mark Renshaw crashed in the opening stage of the Tour of Slovenia. Photo: YUZURU SUNADA, STIEHL PHOTOGRAPHY

TOUGH START: Bathurst cyclist Mark Renshaw crashed in the opening stage of the Tour of Slovenia. Photo: YUZURU SUNADA, STIEHL PHOTOGRAPHY

In what is set to be Renshaw’s last stage race with Dimension Data before another expected start in July’s Tour de France, for him the five-day Tour of Slovenia is about rehearsing sprint finishes and getting more racing kilometres in his legs.

While the opening stage – a 159km ride from Lendava to Murska Sobota – did indeed end in a bunch sprint, a crash meant Renshaw was not near the front of the peloton to lead out team-mate Mark Cavendish.

Inside the final five kilometres Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) touched wheels with a LottoNL-Jumbo rider and went down, before Renshaw made contact with him and was thrown from his bike.

The good news was that Renshaw was able to get back on his bike and finish – crossing the line in 148th.

“Not the start I wanted here in Tour of Slovenia,” Renshaw said.

“A nice slide on my backside and elbow into the gutter, I’m going to be sore tomorrow morning, but nothing to serious. Hopefully another sprint chance.”

Dimension Data team doctor Adrian Rotunno confirmed that the Bathurst rider is able to continue.

“[He] has sustained some bruising and abrasions on the right side of his body ... fortunately his injuries will not stop him from continuing on with the race.”