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Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage from stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse. Today's stage is a 172.5km slog from Wettingen to Frutigen.
Today's stage is undulating, apart from the start, that's pretty flat for the first 30km. The riders do have a second cat climb on the menu though. It's called the Schallenberg, and the summit reaches 1167 meters. There's also a third cat climb with around 10km to go.
The riders have completed the first 10km but we had a little protest this morning from a few riders due to the crash yesterday. We'll bring you more on that in a few seconds.
A small group had jumped from the bunch and they have a lead of two minutes on the bunch. They are, Daniel Oss (Liquigas), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Angelo Furlan (Lampre), Javier Aramendia (Euskaltel) and Martijn Maaskant (Garmin)
So more on that protest at the start this morning. Cervelo's Andreas Klier and Jeremy Hunt were able to delay the start of today's stage for “a few minutes,” according to sportwereld.be, in protest against Cavendish. They hold him reponsible for the mass crash and the resulting injuries, including those to their teammate Heinrich Haussler. In addition, they say Cavendish has not apologised for his actions.
Well, if you've not seen the crash go to Youtube and check it out. It was pretty bad, Cavendish was fined by the race organisers and Haussler has been forced out of the race with injures. Here's a picture of Cav's injuries.
Who do you hold responsible? Does it matter? Let me know at www.twitter.com/dnl.benson
Our five leaders now have a gap closer to three minutes.
Haussler wasn't the only rider forced out of the race after yesterday's crash. Arnaud Coyot is also out of the race. The Frenchman suffered a broken wrist.
The overall remained intact yesterday. Here's the top ten:
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia 14:35:37
2 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:01
3 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:09
4 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne 0:00:10
5 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step 0:00:11
6 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team
7 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:13
8 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:14
9 Nicolas Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:00:15
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank 0:00:17
The gap is now up to 5:30
You may have also read this morning that Kashechkin has signed with Lampre and that he could ride the Tour de France this year. However, we called up the team and they had this to say.
From the break Armendia is best placed overall, he's around ten minutes down but the gap is big enough for HTC and Rabobank to come to the front and set the pace.
Quite a few interesting riders in today's break actually. Burghardt was signed from HTC last year by BMC so far he hasn't really delivered.
He's a talented rider, he's won a semi-Classic and a stage of the Tour de France (2008) but things haven't clicked for him so far this season. He had a few injuries and illnesses earlier in the year but flopped in the Classics. If he's in form today could be a good day for him though.
Maaskant has had a similar season - full of promise but crashes and illness wrecked his Spring campaign. Last year the Dutchman was a last minute sub for Dan Martin at the Tour de France.
The gap to the peloton has come down by thirty seconds.
Keep your thoughts on yesterday's crash coming in. http://twitter.com/dnlbenson
The five leaders have reached an uncategorized climb but it looks a lot tougher than the cat 3 climb they'll face later on in today's stage.
The leaders head over the top of the climb. Their lead still holding at 5 minutes.
The bunch crest the top of the climb now too. The gap has shrunk by 20 seconds.
The next section of the race is very undulating, before the riders will start the second cat climb. The gap has come down to 4:30
The leaders now cross the Urswil with the gap looking stable for now. HTC still leading the bunch.
Daniel Oss has had a good season by all accounts. The 23-year-old came from the track but after a strong second half to the season in 2009 he's made a big step up this year. Top five in Gent-Wevelgem being the biggest highlight.
A couple of interesting takes on the crash from yesterday's crash:
# 4philsinclair @dnlbenson IMHO Looked fractionally like Haussler was 52% at fault CAV 48%.
# Chris Alfred Chris_Alfred @dnlbenson not Cav's fault entirely Haussler also changed his race line.Cavendish= much faster than anyone that he has to sprint irregularly
A third of the stage completed as the leaders tackle another little bump in the road.
Sébastien Hinault has quit the race. He's been on and off the back all day today. Not sure he if was injured in the crash yesterday or has been sick but we'll try and get you as much information as we can.
The leaders reach Hellbühl but the gap is starting to come down. It's at 4 minutes now.
Now handing over to Stephen for a few minutes.
The weather is pretty bad today in Switzerland, with cloudy skies and wet roads.
We have another riding pulling out of the race. Frenchman Sébastien Hinault of the Ag2r La Mondiale has thrown in the towel.
The peloton has upped the pace recently and the gap has fallen to 4:30.
It's been a painful 24 hours for Ag2r La Mondiale. Lloyd Mondory and Martin Elmiger went down hard in the crash yesterday and Jose-Luis Arrieta crashed earlier in the stage. He and Mondory did not start today and now Sébastien Hinault is also out.
HTC-Columbia have been leading the chase of the breakaway for most of the stage. It will be interesting to see if they continue to do so, to set up Mark Cavendish for the sprint, or decide it is too hilly a finale for the Manx sprinter.
We're now inside the final 100km of the 173km stage. The riders will reach the feed zone in 10km or so. After that the racing gets hillier and harder.
It seems the bunch slowed a little just after Wolhusen to allow an ambulance to pass the race. The riders all moved to the right before acclerating again.
At the feed zone, the gap is again over four minutes as the four breakaways feed quickly and crack, while the peloton eases to make sure they collect their musette. Well, would you like to work all afternoon on an empty stomach
The race is heading towards the category 2 climb of Abzweigung. There is a easirer climb before it, then a short descent and the real climb begins. It will be the first indication of which, if any, sprinters will stay in the front group and be there at the finish.
The weather really is nasty out there. The riders are all wearing rain capes. Fortunately it isd not too cold with temperatures around 20 degrees centigrade.
The four breakaways are now over the top of the first short climb and diving down the descent. The gap to the peloton has come down but we'll have precise information over the top of the Category 2 Schallenberg climb.
The gap is now down to below three minutes as the break heads almost into the clouds on the climb. It is like Belgium in April, rather than Switzerland in June.
The break is over the top of the Schallenberg climb. Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Doimo) was first to the line. Full results in a second. the gap is just 2:30 now.
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) has just indicated to the television. He pointed to his Swiss national champion's jersey and then indicated 1-0. He's heard that Switzerland is leading Spain 1-0 at the world cup match in South Africa.
Points at the summit of the Schallenberg climb:
1. Daniel Oss (Liquigas) 8
2. Marcus Burghardt (BMC) 6
3. Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Transitions ) 4
4. Javier Aramendia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 2
5. Angelo Furlan (Lampre) 1.
The peloton was 2:25 behind the break at the summit of the Schallenberg climb. With just less than 50km to go, the five have little chance of staying away.
With Switzerland leading Spain 1-0 at the world cup, it's up to Spain's Oscar Freire (Rabobank) to step up and win the stage.
Crash in the bunch! But nothing serious.
Simon Spilak (Lampre-Farnese Vini) was the rider who crashed. He seems ok but is now chasing hard off the back in the rain.
The Omega Pharm-Lotto team is now leading the peloton on the descent.
Another rider has crashed. This time at speed. An Omega Pharma-Lotto rider locked up his brakes and skidded along the road. He stayed up but hit people standing off theroad. Lets hope he's okay. The bunch has eased.
The gap is now back up to 3:20 as the peloton eased after the crash.
The peloton seems a little scared after the two crashes. With 32km to go and the gap back up to 3:38, the five riders might stay away. No team is now working on the front.
Daniel back until the finish now.
Lotto and Rabo have a rider each on the front but the gap is at 3.38 now and it doesn't look like there's much urgency from the bunch.
Tony Martin is near the front. Cancellara too.
First sprint of the day coming up for the five riders at the front. Aramendia, Burghardt and Oss getting the points.
The gap is starting to come down. it's at 3 minutes now with the Saxo Bank lads sitting on the front with a couple of Rabobank men there too.
Windy descent for the bunch and Katusha on the front now. Nick Nuyens (Rabobank) is second wheel. He's had a poor season. Can he do something today?
The bunch are lined out but the pace isn't as high as it could be due to the poor conditions. The gap needs to come down faster if the peloton want to catch the five out front.
BMC, Garmin, Lampre, Euskatel, and Liquigas. Five riders from five different teams. Aramendia is probably the best climber there and he could try something on the final climb of the day.
The rain is still coming down and so is the gap. It's now at 2.27.
Renshaw on Cancellara's wheel now. The Aussie is talking to his team car.
Aramendia takes the next sprint. He'll be on the podium with the blue jersey this evening.
Burghardt at the back of the lead group now as he reaches into his back pocket for a gel.
Just 15km to go and the bunch are on a short little climb now. It'll last another 5km.
Furlan pops and Aramendia is hanging on
Maaskant is driving a good pace here and the gap is at 1.45. Furlan's day is over.
Three riders now alone at the front of the bunch and Burghardt and then Oss take pulls on the front.
Maaskant now takes over and Aramendia isn't going to get back on. The Spaniard is really struggling.
The Shack are leading the bunch now but it doesn't look like the bunch will pull this one back.
Armstrong moves to the front now, just trying to stay out of trouble me thinks.
Hincapie moves to the front now. He'll be aiming to break things up for his man in the lead group.
Shack still on the front, other than keeping Armstrong and Levi out of trouble I'm not to sure why they're working so hard.
Garmin, BMC and Liquigas, the three teams at the front of the race in the break.
Andy Schleck now moves to the front and takes a long pull.
With 9km to go the gap is just over a minute. The bunch now on the descent.
Oss takes a corner without too much worry. The roads are really wet here but the three riders have to give everything if they're to make it to the finish.
Oss, the track rider will be hoping for a sprint but he'll have to watch both his breakaway riders. Burghardt has a good kick and Maaskant was fourth in a sprint at Flanders in 2009.
Lastras is trying to bridge over to the three leaders with a teammate.
HTC now setting the pace and Martin in second wheel but today's winner will come from the trio up the road.
HTC have to watch the Caisse riders, they're both high up in the overall.
Oss, Burghardt or Maaskant. Which one are you backing?
Burghardt the most experienced rider here.
The Italian swings to the back as the Garmin rider comes through and takes a turn.
And Burghardt goes! Great move on the right hand side. Oss tried to close it but couldnt and the this could be it
Garmin-Transitions and Liqugias are racing for second.
400 to go
Marcus Burghardt takes it!
Maaskant took second, with Oss in third.
Neither of those riders had an answer and in the end it was a very simple win.
Robbie Mcewen won the bunch sprint for fourth.
The winner takes a seat by the finish. He look so happy with his win and so he should be. Tony Martin, his old teammate comes in and gives him a handshake.
Thanks for joining us today. Please tune in tomorrow for another action-packed stage from the Tour de Suisse.