Mark Cavendish escaped with cuts and bruises and some serious road rash but apparently no broken bones yesterday at the Tour of Switzerland when the HTC-Columbia rider found himself at the centre of a massive crash as he headed for the line, with his pride likely to be hurting as much as anything else after race officials penalised the Manxman for having caused the chute.
Commissaires handed Cavendish a 200 Swiss France fine, docked him 25 points and issued him with a 30 second time penalty for his part in the crash, which forced Cervelo TestTeam’s Heinrich Haussler to withdraw from the race.
The incident took place in the closing metres of the 192km stage from Schwarzenburg to Wettingen as Cavendish seemed to drift over to his left and into the path of Cervelo TestTeam’s Heinrich Haussler, wearing the polkadot points jersey. The impact brought both riders down, with Cavendish seeming to land heavily on his back before being hit by three riders, including Quick Step’s Tom Boonen.
With most of the field forced to stop as emergency staff attended to the injured, Lampre-Farnese Vini’s Alessandro Petacchi had a clear run to the line on the barriers for the stage win, while race leader, HTC-Columbia’s Tony Martin, managed to pull up just short of his prostrate team-mate and with the crash taking place in the closing three kilometres retains the race lead after being awarded the same time as the winner.
An HTC-Columbia team spokesman, quoted in the Guardian, said of Cavendish’s injuries: "So far it looks as if he is doing OK. He walked away from the crash, but the problem was mainly the impact of people hitting him, and he fell really badly on his back."
The newspaper added that the HTC-Columbia team doctor, Helge Riepenhof, said yesterday evening that Cavendish had "skin rash everywhere. In the right shoulder, the right hip, the right knee, and he's very shaken but no broken bones as far we can see. He might even start tomorrow's stage."
Racing resumes today with a 173-kilometre stage from Wettingen to Frutigen.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.