Cycling: Ireland's Sam Bennett taken to hospital after crash

Ireland's Sam Bennett (centre) grimaces after falling. PHOTO: AFP

UTAH BEACH, France (AFP) - Irishman Sam Bennett was taken to hospital after crashing during the sprint finish to Saturday's opening stage of the Tour de France.

The 25-year-old was brought down after Dane Michael Morkov clipped a barrier and crashed in the high-speed finish to the 188km stage from Mont Saint-Michel to Utah Beach in Normandy.

Several other riders were also brought down by the crash, including Norway's Edvald Boassen Hagen, the Dimension Data team-mate of stage winner Mark Cavendish.

Bennett injured his spine and a finger, according to Tour organisers, and was taken to hospital in Saint-Lo for X-rays.

Morkov injured his right thigh and both hands.

One of the Tour favourites, Alberto Contador, suffered cuts and bruising on his entire right side after crashing halfway though the stage.

In the same incident, American Brent Bookwalter hurt his ribs while Japan's Yukiya Arashiro cut his hand in another crash.

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