The pile up at the end of today’s 4th stage of the Tour de Suisse, which brought down most of the top sprinters, was the fault of Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) says the race jury. The 25-year-old Manx Express came into contact with Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) and the contact brought them both, and several riders behind them, crashing to the tarmac.
Cavendish has been penalised 25 points in the polka-dot points jersey classification, 30 seconds in the overall classification and 200 Swiss Francs (~$175, £118, €143). He was also relegated to the back of the group that he was part of before the crash, putting him 105th on the stage, for what the jury described as “deviation from his line while endangering his colleagues and causing an accident”.
None of these punishments will mean much to the Manxman; he is not in contention for the points jersey, he was already almost 15 minutes down in the overall classification and the fine is not a great deal of money. The loss of placing on the stage will mean nothing either; he actually crossed the line on the back of lead out man Mark Renshaw’s bike in 56th place and anything less than first is meaningless to Cavendish anyway.
What will be important though will be the lack of any serious injury, which thankfully seems to be the case. He is due to start tomorrow’s stage; unlike Haussler who has abandoned the race with a deep wound to his right elbow, and Caisse d’Epargne’s Arnaud Coyot who has a suspected fractured pelvis.