Mark Cavendish may have had the worst ever crash of his career on Tuesday but the HTC-Columbia sprinter continued to race on in the Tour de Suisse.
Cavendish finished 129th, in the second last group on the stage, but as HTC-Columbia sports director Brian Holm said, the good news was that he could complete the day’s racing – 172.5 kilometres long, very hilly and run off in heavy rain.
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“He got through ok, and that’s what counts,” Holm told Cycling Weekly afterwards, “we’ll be taking it on the day by day.”
Speaking before the start, with bandages covering most of his right leg, Cavendish emphasised he felt lucky in comparison with riders like Arnaud Coyot (Caisse D’Epargne), the rider who came off worse in the crash. Initial reports that Coyot suffered a broken hip turned out not to be true, but according to Caisse sports director Neil Stephens, the Frenchman has fractured bones in his left forearm and hand.
“I came off lightly in comparison,” Cavendish said, “it’s a miracle no bones were broken and I can’t complain.”
“There are guys in much worse condition than me, and I hope they’ll be ok.”
Asked who was responsible for the crash, for which he received a fine and 30 second penalty, Cavendish said “I’m not going to say I wasn’t wrong, but I really don’t think I should take all the blame.”
“Maybe if I’d made a big show at the finish it would have worked in my favour.”
Cavendish worst injuries are on his back – “it looks like he’s been put through a juicer”, said Holm. Team doctors estimate the sprinter has lost around ten percent of his skin in the crash.
The stage win went to Marcus Burghardt who took off from a day-long break of five with two kilometres to go to take an important victory for his Swiss sponsor, BMC.
Neither Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Transitions) nor Daniel Oss (Liquigas) seemed strong enough to respond to Burghardt’s attack, and the former Ghent-Wevelgem winner secured his first victory since taking a Tour de France stage back in 2008.
Overall, Burghardt’s former HTC-Columbia team-mate Tony Martin continues to lead, but the general classification seems certain to face a major shakeup in tomorrow’s stage. With two Hors Category climbs, the second’s summit just 9.7 kilometres from the finish, the battle for the overall for the Tour de Suisse could well be decided with three days to go.
Tour de Suisse 2010, stage five: Wettingen – Frutigen, 172.5km
1. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team in 4-21-23
2. Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Transitions at 2sec
3. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 4sec
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha at 47sec
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
6. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil
7. Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick Step
8. Johannes Frohlinger (Ger) Team Milram
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas(Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
10. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Team Sky at same time
Overall classification after stage five
1. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Columbia in 18-57-47
2. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank at 1sec
3. Thomas Lofkvist (Swe) Team Sky at 9sec
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d’Epargne at 10sec
5. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step at 11sec
6. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team at 11sec
7. Fränk Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank at 13sec
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank at 14sec
9. Nicolas Castroviejo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 15sec
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 17sec
RadioShack lead the chase
Daniel Oss heads up the escape group
Race leader Tony Martin suffers in the rain
Marcus Burghardt takes the win