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Backlash against Cavendish after Swiss crash

Crash photo #1 - note Cavendish's wheel being snapped in half by the force of the impact with Haussler.

Crash photo #1 - note Cavendish's wheel being snapped in half by the force of the impact with Haussler.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Wednesday's fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse departed two minutes late as the colleagues of HTC-Columbia sprinter Mark Cavendish staged a start-line protest against his actions on the previous day.

Cavendish was deemed responsible for the dramatic crash which happened in the final metres of the sprint on Tuesday in Wettingen by the race jury, who decided that he veered off his line before running into Cervelo's Heinrich Haussler and sending both to the pavement in the path of the entire peloton.

The Manxman was penalized 25 points, 30 seconds and 200 Swiss Francs, but the injuries from his crash and the ire of his colleagues who lost teammates to the crash is further punishment.

Cavendish deflected the blame, saying, "I'm not going to say that I'm not at fault but I don't think I should have been held as the sole responsible. It's the worst fall of my career, the worst injuries that I've suffered. But there are riders who are in a worse state than me."

Haussler, Caisse d'Epargne's Arnaud Coyot and Mondory all abandoned the race with injuries, but dozens of other riders who crashed are continuing the race despite their wounds.