Coming into the final corner of the Tour de Suisse's fifth stage, Matt Goss' (Orica-GreenEdge) ambitions for the win were derailed when a rider crashed into his rear wheel. Goss hit the ground when the rider tried to squeeze through a gap that wasn't there, causing a chain reaction crash that also brought down Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step).
Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) was ahead of the crash and went on to win the stage ahead of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) while Nino Schurter was the best placed GreenEdge rider in ninth place.
"I came into the last corner fast, but I made it through okay," said Goss of the crash. "I hadn't lost my front wheel or anything like that. Another rider came out of the corner even faster behind him. He tried to squeeze between me and the barrier, but I was practically alongside of the barrier. There wasn't any space for him. He hit me from behind, and I went flying."
"My injuries aren't too bad," said Goss. "The knee is a little sore at the moment. It's one of things where I'll just have to wait and see how it feels tomorrow. The rest of the injuries are superficial – mostly lost skin."
Having placed tenth on the previous day's sprint finish, Goss was looking for his first European win of the year with the team working to deliver him to line honours.
"We sat down and looked at the footage from stage four," said Sport Director Neil Stephens. "Following the review, we decided to make some adjustments. We wanted to try something a bit different. We came out today excited about our approach.
"We did well all the way up until Gossy crashed," said Stephens. "The goal was to keep him out of the mish-mash that generally leads into the finish. We were trying to make the run-in a bit smoother for him. The boys ticked that box."
The technical finish to the stage proved to be the undoing of the plan, with two tight turns in the finale ensuring a spirited fight for position by the sprinters and lead-out men.
"With the left-hand turn at 350 metres, we knew it would be dangerous," said Stephens. "Gossy overcooked it slightly in the last corner, but he managed to stay up. Then, someone crashed into him, and that was it. Gossy did what he to do to be in the right position for the sprint. It's a bit disappointing that we didn't get to see if our different approach would lead to a different result, but crashes are a part of sprinting."
Goss "should be ok" for the remainder of the race but was disappointed that he didn't get the opportunity to contend the sprint finish.
"We were in a decent position in the final kilometre," said Goss. "It was always going to be an interesting sprint. In a normal run-in, I was probably two or three spots further back than I should coming out of the corner, but it wasn't a normal sprint.
"From 400 metres to 200 metres, it was slightly uphill, so I was in a good position to launch myself. Of course, it's easy to say that when I never even got the chance."
"Crashes are a part of sprinting, I know that," Goss said. "It's part of the deal. It's unfortunate when they come at bad times."