British sprinter Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) has been penalised by the Tour de Suisse race jury for causing a crash at the end of Tuesday’s stage four.

As the sprinters massed in the final run-in to the line in Wettingen at the end of Tuesday’s stage, Cavendish opened up his sprint and took a line that cut across several other riders (see video clip of final kilometre below).

Cavendish then touched wheels with Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo), causing both riders to crash and bringing several other riders down, including Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Gerald Ciolek (Milram).

The Tour de Suisse race jury held Cavendish responsible, penalising the Briton for “changing his line, putting his colleagues in danger and causing an accident”.

Cavendish has subsequently been handed a 200 Swiss franc fine (approximately £120), deducted 25 sprint classification points and has been given a 30 second time penalty. It’s the second time that Cavendish has been fined this year, after being handed a 6,000 Euro fine for making a rude gesture after winning a stage in the Tour de Romandie.

Cavendish himself escaped major injury, suffering only cuts and bruising but was taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays. It is not yet known whether Cavendish will take to the start line for Wednesday’s stage.

Haussler came off worse, with a deep cut to his arm that required hospital treatment – he has now withdrawn from the race. It’s a blow to Haussler who had just come back on form, winning stage two of the race and leading the sprint classification. His early season was ruined after a prolonged knee injury forced him to miss most of the spring classics.

The German will now try to recuperate ahead of the Tour de France next month.

Arnaud Coyot (Caisse d’Epargne) suffered the worst injuries in the incident. The Frenchman was stretchered off the road with a suspected broken hip.

Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) avoided the mayhem to win the stage.

Click on the play button to watch footage of the last kilometre of Tour de Suisse stage four

Related links
Tour de Suisse 2010, stage four: Sprinters collide in Tour de Suisse
Cavendish apologises for two-finger salute

  • Stinger

    You don’t have to look too hard to see CAV’s being overly aggressive. First he bullies his way too the outside then he tries to bully Ciolek by riding across. It also looks like he may have dropped an elbow on Haussler’s handlebar. Clearly he crossed to far to fast & deviated from his line enough to endanger the other cyclists. In his favor, I read this was a headwind finish which could have played a part but I doubt it based on Haussler’s movement. Good call jury!

  • RH

    Video evidence, as well as witnesses and tour referee all saw clearly that Cavendish recklessly changed his line, and caused the crash. This is not the first time that he has done so, and again, he has harmed the season of other riders. Hausller forced to withdraw, Coyot taken by stretcher to hospital: it’s a pity that this one rider appears unable to balance his obsession with winning and personal glory alongside fair play and sportsmanship. Cavendish may excite some of us who long for a return of England to the pro tour peloton, but crowds turned their back on him when he walked up climbs on the Tour of California Stage 2 (and was allowed to remain in the race), and fellow players, turn their back on him until he can prove that he chooses not to endanger others.

  • TelR

    I am suprised nobody has mentioned Haussler veering violently off line and bumping into Cav with about 200m to go – it was lucky that didn’t cause an earlier pile up.
    Check it out on the video.

  • dave

    I see that CAV is being blamed but looking at a still photograph it seems that in the picture from an other source, which shows Cav’s wheel snapping he was actually slightly in front of Hausler who is still head down sprinting. I also see that the whingeing is coming from the French – again

  • Simon

    I just read (elsewhere) that before S5 the peloton staged a two-minute protest against what they call MC’s ‘aggressive attitude’.

  • Simon

    Look again. It appears the rim does buckle, but only when it comes into hard contact with HH’s rubber, by which time MC was already falling. Overzealous by MC is my verdict. He’s either going to be one of Britain’s greatest ever riders, or his lack or judgement and maturity will see us look back on him as cycling’s Gazza. Time will tell. I’m still all for him though, and think he’s one of the most exciting and talented riders on the Tour.

  • Brian Holloway

    It would be very useful to see a very slow motion version of this crash because some still photos tend to show what looks like a front wheel failure on Cavandish’s bike?