Meiringen - British sprinter Mark Cavendish has pulled out of the Tour of Switzerland prior to the race's sixth stage in the high mountains, his HTC-Columbia team said on Thursday.
Cavendish suffered minor injuries in a crash at the end of the fourth stage. It led to a high-speed pile-up for which the Isle of Man rider was held responsible after he veered from his line.
As well as being penalised 30 seconds in time by race officials, riders from the Cervelo, Caisse d'Epargne and AG2R teams, whose colleagues Heinrich Haussler, Arnaud Coyot and Lloyd Mondory were forced to quit the race because of their injuries, expressed their anger at Cavendish.
Thursday's sixth stage is a 213km ride from Meiringen and La Punt and features the ascension of two unclassified (hors categorie) climbs - the Sustenpass and Albulapass - and one category one climb, the Oberalppass.