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It all comes down to the sprint as main players save themselves for the Pyrenees

Mark Cavendish of HTC-Columbia took his third sprint of this year’s Tour de France, winning Stage 11 in Bourg-les-Valence this afternoon, as team-mate Mark Renshaw used his head – quite literally – to move Garmin-Transitions lead-out man Julian Dean out of the way to free up the way for the Manxman to sprint to the line. Cavendish took the win but Renshaw was subsequently booted out of the race for his tactics in the run-in.

Dean had been looking to set up Tyler Farrar for his first victory in this year’s Tour, but the American, still suffering from the broken hand he suffered on Stage 3 of the race, had to content himself with third place as Lampre-Farnese Vini’s Alessandro Petacchi came home in second place.

With Cervélo TestTeam’s Thor Hushovd finishing a disappointing seventh, it is Petacchi who wears the green jersey tonight, on a day when Cavendish rode himself right back into contention for the points competition.

The HTC-Columbia rider, who took his haul of Tour de France stage wins to 13, now lies 29 points behind the Italian, but will fancy his chances in the remaining sprints in Revel on Friday, Bordeaux a week after that, and of course the Champs-Elysées when the race finishes in Paris a week on Sunday.

This morning, immediately the white flag dropped in Sisteron to signal the end of the neutralised start to today’s 184.5km stage on roads rarely visited by the race, three riders – the French pairing of Anthony Geslin of Francais des Jeux and Stephane Auge of Cofidis, plus the Footon-Servetto rider Jose Benitez from Spain – powered off the front of the peloton, which seemed happy to let them go.

With a sprinter-friendly finish to today’s stage however, a comparative rarity in this year’s edition of the Tour, the peloton kept a watchful eye on the escapees as they headed up the day’s only major climb, the Category 3 Col de Cabre, and after building up a maximum advantage of some five minutes, they were eventually caught with a little over 20km to go.

Today’s route followed roads rarely visited by the race – both the start and finish towns were hosting the Tour for the first time in its 107-year history – and riding into a headwind, Team Saxo Bank forced the pace at the front of the peloton inside the final 20km, keeping maiillot jaune Andy Schleck safely out of trouble.

As speeds topped 50km an hour on a steady descent towards the finish in the closing kilometres, the peloton began to string out as some of the domestiques who had put in big efforts for their team leaders during the Alps found it hard to keep up with the pace, with temperatures once again topping 30 degrees Celsius adding to their misery.

With 8km left, Sylvain Chavanel of Quick Step, two-time stage winner and twice wearer of the yellow jersey in this year’s Tour, launched an attack off the front of the race, and was quickly joined by Yaroslav Popovych of Team RadioShack, but a vigilant Berhard Eisel at the front of the HTC-Columbia train quickly brought the peloton back to close the gap.

Inside the closing 5km, it was Jeremy Hunt of Cervélo TestTeam who moved to the front, working for green jersey wearer Hushovd, but once he peeled off it was Petacchi’s Lampre-Farnese Vini team that came to the fore, before HTC-Columbia and Garmin-Transitions fought it out after the race passed under the flamme rouge.

Julian Dean stole a march on Mark Renshaw but the Australian responded by headbutting the Garmin-Transitions man three times, before attempting to nudge Farrar into the barriers as he came past. The punishment has been swift and severe, Renshaw receiving an instant disqualification from the race which puts a big dent in Cavendish's chances on the Champs-Elysées.

Race official Jean-Francois Pescheux said of the incident: "Renshaw was declassified immediately but we have decided to also throw him off the race. We've only seen the pictures once, but his actions are plain for all to see. This is a bike race, not a gladiator's arena."
 

 Top 20 Tour de France 2010 Stage 11

1.  CAVENDISH Mark        TEAM HTC - COLUMBIA            4h 42' 29"
2.  PETACCHI Alessandro   LAMPRE - FARNESE                + 00' 00"
3.  FARRAR Tyler          GARMIN - TRANSITIONS            + 00' 00"
4.  ROJAS Jose Joaquin    CAISSE D’EPARGNE                + 00' 00"
5.  McEWEN Robbie         TEAM KATUSHA                    + 00' 00"
6.  ARASHIRO Yukiya       BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM           + 00' 00"
7.  HUSHOVD Thor          CERVELO TEST TEAM               + 00' 00"
8.  MONDORY Lloyd         AG2R LA MONDIALE                + 00' 00"
9.  ROELANDTS Jürgen      OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO            + 00' 00"
10. CIOLEK Gerald         TEAM MILRAM                     + 00' 00"
11. TURGOT Sébastien      BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM           + 00' 00"
12. RENSHAW Mark          TEAM HTC - COLUMBIA             + 00' 00"
13. HAGEN Edvald Boasson  SKY PRO CYCLING                 + 00' 00"
14. FREIRE Oscar          RABOBANK                        + 00' 00"
15. PEREZ MORENO Ruben    EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI             + 00' 00"
16. SANCHEZ Samuel        EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI             + 00' 00"
17. ROBERTS Luke          TEAM MILRAM                     + 00' 00"
18. ROCHE Nicolas         AG2R LA MONDIALE                + 00' 00"
19. DE WEERT Kevin        QUICK STEP                      + 00' 00"
20. MARTINEZ Egoi         EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI             + 00' 00"
 

Top 20 on General Classification after Stage 11

1.  SCHLECK Andy TEAM        SAXO BANK                    53h 43' 25"
2.  CONTADOR Alberto         ASTANA                         + 00' 41"
3.  SANCHEZ Samuel           EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI            + 02' 45"
4.  MENCHOV Denis            RABOBANK                       + 02' 58"
5.  VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen    OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO           + 03' 31"
6.  LEIPHEIMER Levi          TEAM RADIOSHACK                + 03' 59"
7.  GESINK Robert            RABOBANK                       + 04' 22"
8.  SANCHEZ Luis-Leon        CAISSE D’EPARGNE               + 04' 41"
9.  RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin TEAM KATUSHA                   + 05' 08"
10. BASSO Ivan               LIQUIGAS-DOIMO                 + 05' 09"
11. KREUZIGER Roman          LIQUIGAS-DOIMO                 + 05' 11"
12. HESJEDAL Ryder           GARMIN - TRANSITIONS           + 05' 42"
13. ROCHE Nicolas            AG2R LA MONDIALE               + 06' 23"
14. VINOKOUROV Alexandre     ASTANA                         + 06' 31"
15. ROGERS Michael           TEAM HTC - COLUMBIA            + 07' 04"
16. SASTRE Carlos            CERVELO TEST TEAM              + 07' 13"
17. WIGGINS Bradley          SKY PRO CYCLING                + 07' 18"
18. EVANS Cadel              BMC RACING TEAM                + 07' 47"
19. LÖVKVIST Thomas          SKY PRO CYCLING                + 08' 03"
20. KLÖDEN Andréas           TEAM RADIOSHACK                + 09' 05"

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

11 comments

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handlebarcam [550 posts] 5 years ago
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Mark Renshaw has been kicked out of the tour for his head-butting.

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othello [366 posts] 5 years ago
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Some would say a behind the scenes way to stop Cavendish winning...

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abudhabiChris [692 posts] 5 years ago
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Yes, yet again if Cavendish doesn't win green fingers will be pointed towards conspiracy theories.

It was a bit unfair and should have been penalised but I've seen plenty worse from sprinters. Renshaw and Dean both knew what they were doing.

Anyway, if the organisers are concerned about crashes they might put their money where their mouth is when they choose the tour route.

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fiftyacorn [89 posts] 5 years ago
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they should also ban dean as he was trying to force renshaw off his line which resulted in the head butting. good to see the tour authorities remaining impartial again

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Jon Burrage [998 posts] 5 years ago
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Just watched it again on itv and to be fair Renshaw deserved what he got, Dean was actually a shoulder ahead of renshaw who then headbutted dean three times from behind. Then Renshaw veered violently off course to block off Tyler Farrar. No blame at all attributed to Cav but Renshaw was pretty dirty in that sprint in my opinion.

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dave atkinson [6201 posts] 5 years ago
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I'd tend to agree: it's the combination of the two things that seems to have got the commissaire's back up. The headbutting we've seen in the sprint before (and seen go unpunished too) but Renshaw's was pretty blatant and he'd lost the lead to Dean, even if the big Kiwi was muscling in a bit. But the blocking of Farrar was obviously deliberate and could have been very dangerous, that's easily the worst of the two misdemeanours so it's not fair to say that Dean should go to for his part in it all; he wasn't involved in that bit.

And should he go? hm, not sure. The worst we've seen in the 13 or so years since someone last got booted out? I doubt it. He's done himself no favours though.

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Chuffy [201 posts] 5 years ago
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Harsh, but fair. The headbutting was one thing, but deliberately blocking Farrar looks like the final straw.

The Authorities (tm) don't have any cause or reason to nobble Cav, but Cav and his team seem more than capable of nobbling themselves and then whining like red-haired stepchildren afterwards.

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demoff [327 posts] 5 years ago
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Dean should face some sanction for his action he is not innocent or blameless.

Renshaw was out of order for the move on Farrar it was blatantly deliberate and unsporting. It also gives the Cav Bashers something else to harp on about not that they need much to get them droning on. Disqualifying Renshaw was harsh and there is no appeal either apparently.

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Chuffy [201 posts] 5 years ago
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demoff wrote:

Renshaw was out of order for the move on Farrar it was blatantly deliberate and unsporting.

Yup.

Quote:

It also gives the Cav Bashers something else to harp on about not that they need much to get them droning on. Disqualifying Renshaw was harsh and there is no appeal either apparently.

Hear this, fanboy. It's not always about Cav...  3

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aloxe [8 posts] 5 years ago
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it's just such a bad example head butt + blocking that there's not even to discuss. the ban is deserved. it's not a sport move.
I wonder if it's was a lampre guy who had head butted renshaw or Cavendish what you would have said ?

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demoff [327 posts] 5 years ago
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aloxe wrote:

it's just such a bad example head butt + blocking that there's not even to discuss. the ban is deserved. it's not a sport move.
I wonder if it's was a lampre guy who had head butted renshaw or Cavendish what you would have said ?

Something along the lines of see even when Lampre stick the head in Cav still wins the stage.  3