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Mark Cavendish looking in shock after his high-speed get off.
National championships his only race before the Tour de France
The HTC-Columbia team have confirmed the reason why Mark Cavendish left the Tour de Suisse today, saying that the decision not to start was based on two factors. His grandmother passed away and he wants to be present at her funeral tomorrow, and he is also experiencing stiffness after his crash two days ago.
The 25-year-old sprinter rolled out of La Punt approximately five minutes after the peloton today, tracing the race route in riding up the day’s first climb of the Sustenpass. He was accompanied by a team car, and was due to jump into it after his ride and be taken straight to the airport.
According to a team official, he wanted to ride today’s stage but the time of the finish made it impossible for him to do that and make it to his flight on time. He is also feeling sore after the crash into Wettingen.
He and Cervélo Test Team rider Heinrich Haussler collided 50 metres from the line on Tuesday's fourth stage and crashed, causing a massive pile-up. Cavendish was fined and given a time penalty by the race officials, who deemed him at fault, and was also subjected to a silent protest by his colleagues at the start of yesterday's stage.
He had hoped to pick up a stage victory at the Tour de Suisse. He will do one more race before the start of the Tour de France, namely the British road race championship on June 27th.