Britain’s Mark Cavendish suffered a mechanical problem to prevent him competing in the sprint at the end of stage two of the Tour of Slovenia as home rider Luka Mezgec claimed victory.
Team Dimension Data rider Cavendish, 32, is racing his first event since three months out with glandular fever.
There were multiple crashes on wet roads in Ljubljana, but Cavendish said he “wasn’t near any” of the incidents.
Mezgec (Orica) stayed ahead of the crashes to also take the overall lead.
Italy’s Roberto Ferrari (Team UAE Emirates) finished second, with Cavendish’s Australian lead-out man Mark Renshaw in third.
“Felt much better than yesterday. Mechanical problem kept me out the sprint, but happy with the day,” Cavendish posted on social media.
“Silver lining of having a mechanical problem – I didn’t crash and wasn’t near any. Hope everyone who hit the tarmac is OK.”
Cavendish returned to racing with a 10th-placed finish in Thursday’s stage one, having been out since March before he was diagnosed with glandular fever, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, in April.
The 30-time Tour de France stage winner is looking to prove his fitness for this year’s Tour, which starts on 1 July.
The four-day Tour of Slovenia concludes on Sunday, with Cavendish then scheduled to race in the British National Road Championships on the Isle of Man on 25 June.