Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) won stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse on Tuesday, after dodging a nasty finish sprint crash that took down Mark Cavendish, Heinrich Haussler, Gerald Ciolek, and Tom Boonen, among others. The crash was less than 100 meters from the finish line.
Petacchi skirted the crash on the right, but did not celebrate as he crossed the finish line.
“I was a long way back and normally wouldn’t have any chance of winning this stage,” he said.
“I don’t know what happened in front. Maybe the wind had something to do with this unfortunate finish. I don’t like winning this way. If Cavendish hadn’t crashed, he would certainly have won.”
Race leader Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) was delayed by the crash but was given the same finish time as the front group to retain his overall lead following the 192.2-kilometer race from Schwarzenburg in central Switzerland to Wettingen, near the Swiss/German border.
On the flattest stage of this edition of the Swiss tour, Brice Feillu (Vacansoleil) took a solo flier early and built up a lead of more than nine minutes, only to be drawn in with about 24km to go. Garmin-Transition’ Ryder Hesjedal took a stab on the Regensberg climb, about 18km from the finish, but his effort lasted about 8km as the sprinter teams began setting up.
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was next to go with a late attack, and he squeezed out a small gap that was only closed in the final kilometer. Gilbert threw in a counter-attack as he was being caught, but was again reeled in just before the big crash.
Petacchi, 36, managed to skirt the crash to take his first career win at the Swiss tour.
Cavendish’s HTC-Columbia team later announced that he appeared to suffer no serious injuries beyond road rash and bruising, but would get some x-rays. Ciolek’s Milram team said he suffered only road rash. Haussler received a deep cut on his elbow and dropped out of the race.
Frenchman Arnaud Coyot (Caisse d’Epargne) suffered a suspected broken hip and was taken to the hospital.
- 1. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini)
- 2. Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank)
- 3. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil)
- 4. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse D’epargne)
- 5. Robbie McEwen (Katusha)
- 6. Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky Team)
- 7. Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Farnese Vini)
- 8. Bauke Mollema (Rabobank)
- 9. Andreas Kloden (RadioShack)
- 10. Dries Devenyns (Quick Step)
- 1. Tony Martin Team HTC – Columbia in 14:35:37
- 2. Fabian Cancellara Team Saxo Bank at 1
- 3. Thomas LÖvkvist Sky Professional Cycling Team at 9
- 4. Rigoberto Uran Uran Caisse D’epargne at 10
- 5. Dries Devenyns Quick Step at 11
- 6. Steve Morabito BMC Racing Team at 11
- 7. Frank Schleck Team Saxo Bank at 13
- 8. Jakob Fuglsang Team Saxo Bank at 14
- 9. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas Euskaltel – Euskadi at 15
- 10. Bauke Mollema Rabobank at 17