Tour de France Stage 11 reaction: Renshaw row overshadows Cavendish win (+ video)

HTC-Columbia riders say judges wrong to throw Renshaw out - what do you think?

by Simon_MacMichael   July 15, 2010  

Tour de France logo

Mark Cavendish may have claimed his third win of this year’s Tour de France in Bourg-les-Valence this afternoon to move back into contention in the points competition, but after his 13th career stage victory, Lady Luck – or rather, the race commissaries – immediately dealt him a card that severely weakens his hand by kicking his HTC-Columbia team-mate and lead-out man Mark Renshaw out of the race.

The Australian’s disqualification, for head-butting Julian Dean of Garmin-Transitions and then forcing the same team’s Tyler Farrar towards the barriers as today’s sprint finish reached its climax is a huge blow to Cavendish’s already outside hopes of winning the green jersey.

Indeed, with the HTC-Columbia train perhaps not as dominant as it was last year in last year’s race, partly as a result of George Hincapie’s move to BMC Racing, Cavendish has relied on Renshaw’s strength to find the right line and put him in the right place  to launch his attacks. His absence will be acutely felt.

If you haven’t already seen the incident, you can watch it below – things get interesting not long after the 4-minute mark.

Shortly after the end of today’s stage, race official Jean-Francois Pescheux said: "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."

In a statement this evening, Renshaw said: I'm extremely disappointed and also surprised at this decision. I never imagined I would be removed from any race especially the Tour de France. I pride myself on being a very fair, safe and a straight up sprinter and never in my career have I received a fine or even a warning.”

The Australian continued: "Julian [Dean] came hard in on my position with his elbows. I needed to use my head to retain balance or there would have been a crash. If had used my elbows when Julian brought his elbow on top of mine we would also have crashed. The object was to hold my line and stay upright.”

He added: "I hadn't started the sprint yet. We were still at 375m to go. After that Cavendish had to start his sprint early and I was also ready to finish off the sprint as I still had a lot left in my legs.”

However, it is the second incident, when he appeared to move across Tyler Farrar’s line, forcing the Garmin-Transitions rider to brake to hold out an arm to fend off Renshaw and avoid being pushed into the railings, that many view as the more serious incident.

"It would have been good to try to take some more points. I only saw open space on my left. I had no idea Tyler Farrar was there,” explained Renshaw. “By no means would I ever put any of my fellow riders in danger."

The fact is though, that going by the video, the HTC-Columbia rider had no need to deviate from his line – and he appears to look across towards Farrar before slamming the door shut on him to prevent the Garmin-Transitions man from following Cavendish’s wheel.

That leaves Garmin Transitions still searching for their first win of this year’s Tour, after coming close with David Millar third place in the Prologue in Rotterdam, and with Dean and Farrar both placing second in sprints last week.

Those last two results followed a difficult few days for Jonathan Vaughters’ outfit, with Farrar coming to grief on Stage 1 in Brussels when his rear mech got entangled in an AG2R rider’s bike when he was set to go for a Fourth of July victory. Farrar was then relegated to a supporting role to Dean after breaking his wrist on Stage 2, a day on which team leader Christian Vande Velde was forced to abandon the Tour with broken ribs.

Afterwards, Julian Dean, who rode with Renshaw at Credit Agricole in 2006 and 2007, was quoted by AFP as saying: “All the other [HTC-Columbia] guys were fine, it was just Renshaw’s behaviour that was inappropriate.”

The New Zealander continued: “I jumped my front wheel in Cav’s wheel. I went past Renshaw and tried to keep the speed high and while I was coming out of Renshaw, he didn’t seem to like it too much.”

He added: “I didn’t make any movement at all. Next thing I felt like he was leaning on me and hitting me with his head. And then he carried on afterwards and came across on Tyler’s line and stopped Tyler from possibly winning the stage. He shouldn’t have done that. It’s not appropriate.”

Dean concluded: “It’s dangerous behavior and if there had been a crash there it would have caused some guys some serious damage. What we do is very dangerous and we don’t need behavior like that to make it even more dangerous.”

For his part stage winner Mark Cavendish said he couldn’t work out the rationale for Renshaw’s disqualification. “I can’t understand why the commissaires made the decision,” said the Manxman. “It’s against what we as a team believe happened. We’ll just have to see what happens. I’m very sad.”

He continued: “We came around the last corner in good position. Julian Dean came around on the right, and hooked his left elbow over Mark’s right elbow. Mark used his head to get a bit of space, which kept everybody upright.”

Renshaw's absence will seriously weaken Cavendish in the three remaining potential sprints in Revel on Saturday, Bordeaux next Friday and on the Champs-Elysées. It already seemed certain that he would have to win those sprints to keep any hope of victory in the green jersey competition alive, tonight the jersey rests on the shoulders of  Alessandro Petacchi who came second on today's stage.

Now for the second year running, after himself been stripped of his win in Stage 14 last year after being adjudged to have pushed Thor Hushovd into the barriers, it’s the race judges that have once again delivered the final blow.

So what do you think? Did Renshaw's head-butting of dean and apparent move across Farrar's line warrant his being thrown out of the race? Or should the judges have given him the benefit of the doubt?

15 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Both teams are spewing BS in defence of their men.

The headbutts alone, well that's part of racing, looked at from the 'copter shots Dean moved across to his left squeezing Renshaw and Renshaw gave him a geroff, Dean kept coming left so got more of the same.

I then think the red mist had descended. Renshaw looks over his left shoulder sees Farrar coming and make a move to the left blocking Farrah. Poor judgement by Renshaw , imo, probably fuelled by adrenalin and testosterone.

Either one on their own would have seen him put in last place and fined. Together in such a short space of time; well they have to act and I doubt there is much sympathy for Cav in the commissaires, as there would be if he was a European big name sprinter so out Renshaw goes.

Really, though?

posted by workhard [393 posts]
16th July 2010 - 7:31


I agree with that workhard but I'm confused by one thing you said: -" I doubt there is much sympathy for Cav in the commissaires, as there would be if he was a European big name sprinter"
Surely he *is* a big name European sprinter? Nerd Thinking

Chuffy's picture

posted by Chuffy [194 posts]
16th July 2010 - 8:49


He is a big name English Sprinter. I take workhards point to be if he was French for example there would have been little or no point made about the incident.

Harsh result but I am sure Cav with still pull it out of the bag.

Trev Allen's picture

posted by Trev Allen [169 posts]
16th July 2010 - 9:39


A conspiracy theorist could find something here. Do the commissaires think he and HTC are due some kind of 'correction'? I don't think so. But equally I don't want Cavendish's race spoilt by an arbitary decision or punishment that may be too harsh. Something similar happened last year and obviously left a bad taste in the mouth for him, regardless of the rights and wrongs / how you view the infringement.

I do think DQ for Renshaw is harsh. Unfortunately we will not going to get the facts from either HTC and Garmin riders.

It seems obvious to me that Dean moved over close enough to Renshaw to cause an accident - from both overhead and front views their bars were a few inches apart at most. If elbows were overlapping then he's too close. Remember the Tour de Suisse?

IMO Renshaw was within his rights to knock Dean to indicate how close they were and his displeasure. He didn't push him or lean, he used his head instead of taking a hand off the bars. S'not like the road isn't wide enough for two!

The argument that Renshaw blocked Farrar's run to the line is a valid one. He moves to his left, causing Farrar to slow and put a hand on Renshaw's rear. Whether he saw the Garmin rider in that look to the side we can only guess. Perhaps he looked, saw no-one (remember Dean had been on his right, leading out Farrar) and moved over to get out of the way. AFAIK, based on what I've heard and read, at that point in the sprint he should have kept to his line. But disqualification is still too harsh.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2185 posts]
16th July 2010 - 9:42


Trev Allen wrote:
He is a big name English Sprinter.

He'll be racing *against* English riders in the Commonwealth Games in October (as part of the Isle of Man squad) Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8887 posts]
16th July 2010 - 9:54


I agree that a DQ is a bit harsh. but I can't see a conspiracy here. Renshaw and Dean had a go at each other, that's maybe worthy of a fine each, like the wheel fight was, but nothing more. Renshaw takes it out on Farrar though: he quite clearly looks over his shoulder and moves directly into Farrar's path when he had no reason at all to change his line. Why? Well, I'd suggest it was because he was furious with Dean and wanted to make sure Farrar didn't get the stage win. That's how it looks from here. That's very reckless behaviour at 70km/h and deserving of censure. He may not have expected a disqualification, but he's certainly invited the Commissaire to hand one out. Perhaps he got him on a bad day Thinking

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7643 posts]
16th July 2010 - 10:05


Asking Cav for a fair comment is like asking arsene wenger if he saw an arsenal foul. stop defending undefendable behaviour, it's nothing to do with nationality

posted by the fluoxetine kid [31 posts]
16th July 2010 - 10:14


Very harsh, I think. The second infringement, as Boardman observed last night, was the bad one, but to throw someone off the tour for the first time in 13 years? Seems like the judges don't like Cavendish, especially after last year.

I can only hope he rubs their noses in it with the green jersey ...

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
16th July 2010 - 10:27


I agree with the analysis that Julian Dean started it, then the red mist comes down on Renshaw and his deliberate blocking of Farrar was worse than his original offence butting Dean. I'm sure he saw Farrar. He's amazingly aware of exactly where everyone is in the sprints.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1394 posts]
16th July 2010 - 10:27


Sorry to disagree fluxetine, Moser was lauded for innovation, O'Bree was dq'd. When all the medals were won by the Brits,(olympics) the rules of entry were changed, did'nt happen when the French dominated, sorry to be cynical but that is how it appears.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1064 posts]
16th July 2010 - 10:32


cavs team is american henshaw is an aussie no brit lost any points. ps have you seen henshaws latest comments on Garmin? seems as if he has joined up with the dutch footballers in a new religion -the worship of hippocracy.

posted by the fluoxetine kid [31 posts]
16th July 2010 - 11:13


I don't understand how Renshaw didn't win yesterday's Most Aggressive Rider award. Shurely shum mishtake?

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
16th July 2010 - 11:27


anyone see Hondo(lampre) block Hushvod(green jersey) in the same sprint Yawn

Renshaw thrown out cos he's an Aussie on Cavendish's team.

Yep he did pull a blocking move on Fararr. Part of the all is fair in love and war sprinting in the TdF. Sean Kelly did not have a problem with the sprint and if he, who rode 13 TdFs, did not have a problem well that's good enough for me.

posted by Decster [246 posts]
16th July 2010 - 11:57


simonmb wrote:
I don't understand how Renshaw didn't win yesterday's Most Aggressive Rider award. Shurely shum mishtake?


Really, though?

posted by workhard [393 posts]
16th July 2010 - 13:08


Could the conspiracy theorists and the 'they've got it in for Cav' types please explain *why* anyone would have it in for him or his team? Cycling needs stars and Cav is a huge star, especially on the continent.

Is there a real reason or is it just a cheap and facile way for the fans to excuse bad riding? Nerd

Chuffy's picture

posted by Chuffy [194 posts]
16th July 2010 - 14:08