With an unusually tight, technical finish to the fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse it was almost inevitable that there would be a crash, and even though Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) backed off in the penultimate bend with 350m to go, he was still sent hurtling to the ground by a clash with another sprinter. Despite the dramatic spill, the winner of the previous day's sprint came away relatively unscathed and expects to continue the race.
"I should be OK, which is a good thing considering it could have been much worse given the nature of the crash," Cavendish said. "We'll see what happens tonight, but I should be there at the start."
Cavendish's team manager Patrick Lefevere complained about the twisty nature of the final kilometer on Twitter even before the crash happened. "Another irresponsible finish in #TourDeSuisse how long are teams and riders will accept this (sic)?" he asked. Seconds later, his rider was on the ground.
He appealed to the teams organisation's (AIGCP) president Luuc Eisenga to investigate. Eisenga replied via Twitter later, stating, "Quick chat with the TdS organiser, his quote: 'the circuit is not the problem, the riders just take too many risks'. Shocked."
Cavendish couldn't say how the crash happened from his view, but agreed the finish was a bit dangerous. "I backed off Mark [Renshaw's] wheel a bit because I wanted to avoid a crash in the last corner. I knew a few guys would overshoot it so I stayed back a bit hoping I would miss a crash. Unfortunately I was still behind the crash of a complicated final.
"There wasn't much I could do to avoid it as far as I know. But at the end of the day, it's never good to hit the ground, but I am not as bad off as I could have been considering. So, we'll see day-by-day how I feel. I will try to recover as best as possible and be ready for tomorrow."