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Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Thursday, 17 June 2010 18:24 UK

Mark Cavendish pulls out of Tour of Switzerland

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

Mark Cavendish has pulled out of the Tour of Switzerland, two days after causing a mass crash just before the finish line during stage four.

The 25-year-old sprinter did not start Thursday's 214km sixth stage, a climb from Meiringen to Ponte.

The stage was won by Dutchman Robert Gesink of Rabobank, who finished 42 seconds ahead of a pack of eight.

The chasing group included Lance Armstrong, who moved into seventh place overall, 55 seconds behind Gesink.

Team Columbia stressed Cavendish's participation in next month's Tour de France was not under threat.

On Wednesday, the Isle of Man rider had been the target of sustained criticism from various teams for causing the crash.

Cavendish and German Heinrich Haussler collided close to the finish in Wettingen, causing a dozen riders to fall.


As punishment, the Briton was given a time penalty and docked 25 points for changing his line and putting his colleagues in danger during the final sprint.

Cavendish later said the injuries he suffered were "the worst of my career", although he did race the next day with his knee heavily bandaged.

But at the start of Wednesday's fifth stage, riders from the Cervelo, Caisse d'Epargne and AG2R teams, whose colleagues Haussler, Arnaud Coyot and Lloyd Mondory were forced to quit the race because of their injuries, staged a protest against Cavendish.

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

Coyot has since been ruled out for three weeks after undergoing surgery on the elbow he fractured in the crash.

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see also
Angry riders in Cavendish protest
16 Jun 10 |  Cycling
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Cavendish withdrawn after V-sign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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