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Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 18:07 UK

Riders in Mark Cavendish protest at Tour of Switzerland

Mark Cavendish crashes to the ground on Tuesday
Cavendish (bottom centre) has been accused of showing a lack of respect

Stage five of the Tour of Switzerland was delayed on Wednesday as riders expressed their anger at Mark Cavendish for causing Tuesday's mass crash.

The Briton was given a time penalty and docked 25 points for changing his line and putting his colleagues in danger in the final sprint in the fourth stage.

Riders from the Cervelo, AG2R and Caisse d'Epargne teams were forced to quit after suffering injuries.

The start of Wednesday's stage was held up for around two minutes.

Affected by heavy rain showers, it was won by BMC's Marcus Burghardt. Fellow German Tony Martin, of HTC-Columbia, finished with the main peloton 46 seconds behind to keep a hold of the race leader's yellow jersey going into the key mountain stage.

AG2R sporting director Gilles Mas said the protest was intended to "send a message to Cavendish to ask him for more respect".

In Tuesday's chaotic finish, Sebastien Hinault of AG2R was elbowed by the British rider, while Heinrich Haussler, Arnaud Coyot and Lloyd Mondory all picked up injuries and had to withdraw from the race.

pigeons in the park

Cavendish, riding for HTC-Columbia, was well positioned in the stage but touched wheels with Haussler, sparking a major pile-up. Alessandro Petacchi picked his way through fallen riders to win the stage.

A furious Haussler said after the race on Tuesday: "I didn't see Cavendish coming. He drove into my wheel and before I knew it, I went down and was lying on the ground. I could have won the stage."

The 25-year-old Briton, who joined Wednesday's stage with his right knee bandaged, said: "I'm not going to say that I'm not at fault but I don't think I should have been held as the sole person responsible.

"It's the worst fall of my career, the worst injuries that I've suffered. But there are riders who are in a worse state than me."

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see also
Cavendish penalised after crash
15 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish wins California stage
17 May 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish withdrawn after V-sign
30 Apr 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish powers to stage victory
29 Apr 10 |  Cycling

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