Tour de Suisse 2014: Sacha Modolo wins stage five as Mark Cavendish suffers heavy crash

Manx Missile brought down on penultimate corner in messy bunch sprint

Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) sprinted to stage five victory but Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) crashed heavily on the penultimate corner.

A technical finish made for a messy bunch sprint as riders fought for position heading into the final bend, with stage four winner Cavendish appearing to back away from the shoving at the front.

Matthew Goss and Mark Cavendish fall heavily inside the final kilometre during a messy, technical bunch sprint (pic: Sirotti)

However, it proved to be his undoing as Danny van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing), boxed against the railings, pushed hard against Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) in a bid for space.

Such was the speed that Goss fell heavily, with Cavendish – positioned alongside him – flying over his own handlebars and crashing into barriers.

It left stage honours to be contested between Modolo and stage three winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale), with the Italian fastest around the final bend to take victory.

Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC Polsat Polkowice), Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Sander Armee (Lotto-Belisol) had earlier formed the day’s break.

As ever, Omega Pharma-Quickstep pulled hard in the bunch to ensure the duo’s lead never became unmanageable.

Indeed, with the lead having hovered at just under five minutes around halfway through the day, big shifts at the head of the peloton from the likes of Matteo Trentin quickly cut into that advantage.

It was only as the three riders came into sight the bunch had any problems – not through counter-attacks but because Omega Pharma-Quickstep took their foot of the gas, and the concertina effect saw riders at the back forced to unclip.

The three escapees were left hanging in front of the bunch until there was little more than ten kilometres and the race came together.

Ben Swift (Team Sky) had found himself slightly distanced on the day’s final climb, but it was only momentary as the sprint teams jostled for position with a powerful tailwind behind.

Tinkoff-Saxo and Katusha were among the teams on the front as the peloton fanned out across the road, while Tony Martin, in the yellow jersey, and Tom Boonen came forward for Omega Pharma-Quickstep.

The Belgian super team struggled to gain position, with Tinkoff-Saxo again doing all they could to disrupt matters on the front – despite some cajoling from Boonen to try and tempt them away from the side of the road.

Driven on by the tailwind, it was actually Garmin-Sharp and Ag2r-La Mondiale who led the way at the front, with Cavendish physically battling fervently for position in the middle of the pack.

Giant-Shimano were another team struggling to earn a good position, boxed out on the left-hand side of the road as the speed ramped up significantly in the bunch.

Tinkoff-Saxo took advantage to come forward, but Martin powered onto the nose of the group, the yellow jersey riding hard with Cavendish at fourth wheel.

Omega Pharma-Quickstep took charge on the right-hand side of the road as Martin peeled off, while Giant-Shimano finally lined out on the left.

But Cavendish was left with just Mark Renshaw for company inside the final two kilometres, with Giant-Shimano still at near full strength by contrast.

Mark Cavendish looks shaken as he rolls in, but otherwise, externally at least, unscathed (pic: Sirotti)

It left the Manxman at the mercy of the other teams, but he was sat third wheel as the bunch headed under the flamme rouge.

As the jostling for position ensued, however, he had dropped back into the wheels and it was Sagan and Modolo left to take over at the front.

The crash behind them left just a handful of riders to contest the stage, with Sagan leading the sprint out.

Modolo went harder into the final bend, showing great skill to pass Sagan and get his arms in the air to celebrate his seventh victory of the season.

Martin was caught behind the split, but with the crash having happened within the final kilometre, the GC was unaffected as the German earned another day in the yellow jersey.

Cavendish, meanwhile, appeared unscathed as he crossed the finish line despite his spectacular tumble, to the relief of both the team and his fans with the Tour de France around the corner.

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Tour de Suisse 2014: stage five – result

1) Sacha Modolo (ITA) – Lampre-Merida – 4.08.06
2) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Cannondale – ST
3) John Degenkolb (GER) – Giant-Shimano
4) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Team Katusha
5) Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) – Movistar
6) Danny van Poppel (NED) – Trek Factory Racing
7) Jonas Vangenechten (BEL) – Lotto-Belisol
8) Heinrich Haussler (AUS) – IAM Cycling
9) Nino Schurter (SUI) – Orica-GreenEDGE
10) Jacopo Guarnieri (ITA) – Astana

General classification

1) Tony Martin (GER) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep – 18.27.47hrs
2) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Giant-Shimano +6”
3) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Cannondale +10”
4) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling +17”
5) Tom-Jelte Slagter (NED) – Garmin-Sharp +23”
6) Davide Formolo (ITA) – Cannondale +27”
7) Jon Izaguirre (ESP) – Movistar – ST
8) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Tinkoff-Saxo +28”
9) Mathias Frank (SUI) – IAM Cycling +29”
10) Mattia Cattaneo (ITA) – Lampre-Merida – ST

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