BUREN AN DER AARE, Switzerland (AP) - Sacha Modolo timed his sprint to perfection to win the fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse on Wednesday as Mark Cavendish was involved in a crash on the final corner.
Modolo and others avoided the crash just behind them and the Italian cyclist edged out Peter Sagan on the line after racing for four hours for the most significant victory of his career.
John Degenkolb was third on the 184-kilometer (114-mile) leg from Ossingen to Buren an der Aare.
“I didn’t see the crash,” Modolo said. I knew that I had to be first through the last corner and that I had to beat Sagan. I was on his wheel and then moved past him. He tried to force me wide as is to be expected but I felt good and got past him.
“It’s the most important win of my career. It’s been two months since I raced because of injury so I also needed this win. Now I go to the Tour de France knowing that I can beat certain riders.”
Tony Martin retained his six-second advantage over Dutch cyclist Tom Dumoulin, with Sagan 10 seconds behind the German.
Within sight of the finish, Trek cyclist Danny van Poppel went into Mark Goss and he took out his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammate Cavendish, who went flying over the handlebars.
Cavendish later posted a picture of himself on Twitter with an ice-pack on his head, adding “Taken down in a crash with 300m to go today. Ironically, I’d eased up as I wasn’t willing to risk crashing. #sorehead.”
Bradley Wiggins withdrew from the race before the stage with a badly bruised right thigh. The 2012 Tour de France champion, who also has a chest infection, crashed during Tuesday’s leg.
Frederik Veuchelen, Jaroslaw Marycz and Sander Armee formed the early break of the day and the trio built a lead of over five minutes.
That started to come down on the third of four ascents, with Omega Pharma-QuickStep - riding for both Cavendish and Martin - driving the group.
The trio was caught with 10 kilometers remaining as the sprinters geared up for the finale.