The Tour de Suisse ended with a bang today. With 100 meters to race, Mark Cavendish and Heinrich Haussler collided. Both crashed at speed, leaving Gerhard Ciolek nowhere to go but down. Behind, Tom Boonen was among the casualties as the riders went down like dominoes one after the other. No word yet on any injuries, though Heinrich Haussler was up and giving interviews shortly after the incident. Haussler had an extensive collection of scrapes and was missing quite a lot of jersey.
From the replay, both Haussler and Cavendish move toward the center of the road. They are racing tight, and there is a hard shoulder bump just before the crash. It really looks like Mark Cavendish simply rode into Heinrich Haussler, which you just don't see every day among the top sprinters. Haussler looks to hold his line, while Cavendish seems to put his front wheel directly into Haussler's bike with predictable results. Pity Gerhard Cioleck. First Cavendish slams the door hard on Ciolek by cutting across his front wheel, then the HTC-Columbia sprinter crashes in front of him. Rough day at the office there. It's an even rougher day for the AG2R-La Mondiale sprinter Lloyd Mondory, who gets seriously launched like rocket style into the barricades. Certainly, Cavendish did not hold his line here. Paging the race jury. Oscar Friere, meanwhile, did some impressive bike handling from behind Haussler and Mondory to avoid crashing. Two-wheel slide all the way.
Oh, and Alessandro Petacchi won the stage, followed by Matti Breschel of Saxo Bank and Marco Marcato of Vacansoleil. The general classification remains unchanged. Tony Martin of HTC-Columbia leads Fabian Cancellara by 1 second.
Want photos? Sirotti has a sequence.
Update-o-rama The race jury does not heart Mark Cavendish after today's hijinx. According to the official communiqué, the jury penalized Cavendish for "deviation from his line to the danger of his colleagues and provoking a crash." The jury relegated him to last on the stage, docked him 30 seconds on the general classification, subtracted 25 points from his total, and slapped him with a fine.
The Injury List. According to the HTC-Colombia press people, initial examinations showed no fractures for Cavendish. Just nasty cuts and bruises. Over at Cervélo, Heinrich Haussler went to hospital for stitches in his elbow and will not start the race tomorrow. Tom Boonen, meanwhile, bumped his knee, but will start tomorrow. Arnaud Coyot of Caisse has a broken scaphoid and radius. Early reports that he broke his hip appear to be incorrect. Velo101 confirms that Mondory of AG2R-La Mondiale was mixed up in the crash, but does not have any word on his condition. No word either on the other AG2R rider, who may have been Sebastian Hinault.