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Mark Cavendish third in frenetic finale, Chris Froome safely home in the yellow jersey

Marcel Kittel of Argos Shimano came round Lotto Belisol's André Greipel to win Stage 10 of the Tour de France as Germany's fastest sprinters went head to head in Saint-Malo this afternoon. In a frenetic finale Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Mark Cavendish brushed Kittel's team mate Tom Veelers, the latter crashing to the ground, but Cavendish staying upright to claim third.

After taking it easy for much of the day, It was a nervous peloton that came into the final 25 kilometres of the stage as the race hit a coastline buffeted by stromg winds.

With a number of teams battling for position, the pace towards the end was flat out, but the race stayed together and Team Sky's Chris Froome retains the race leader's yellow jersey. The first wearer of it in this year's race, Kittel, becomes the first man to win two stages in this year's race.

Following an explosive weekend in the Pyrenees and yesterday’s rest day in Saint-Nazaire, the 100th edition of the race resumed today with a 197km stage from Saint-Gildas-des-Bois to Saint-Malo, with a bunch sprint widely anticipated under the ramparts of the historic port city.

With a crucial individual time trial stage taking place tomorrow with the finish at the iconic setting of Mont-Saint-Michel, the peloton eased off the gas for most of the stage, while keeping a watchful eye on the day's break as the race headed north through Britanny.

The five escapees – Breton native Julian Simon of Sojasun, Europcar’s Jerome Cousin, Euskaltel’s Juanjo Oroz, the Cofidis rider Luis Angel Mate, and Vacansoleil-DCM’s Lieuwe Westra – had got away around 15 kilometres after the start.

They would remain out in front until around 5 kilometres out, their maximum advantage standing at five minutes, the prize at the intermediate sprint at Le Hingle, 69.5 kilometres from the finish, going to Mate, while it was Westra who sprinted ahead to take the maximum mountains points.

In the main bunch, the final points on offer at that intermediate sprint were contested,Greipel prevailing over Cannondale’s Peter Sagan and Cavendish barely denting Sagan’s commanding lead, although thise finish line points help narrow the gap further.

As the race headed towards a zig-zagging route along the coast for the final 25 kilometres or so, the pace increased and there was some jostling for position, nervousness rippling through the peloton with the prospect of a cross tailwind gusting at up to 40 kilometres an hour raising the risk of the group splitting into echelons.

That meant that it was not just teams looking to set up their sprinters that were fighting at the front, but also those with riders towards the top of the General Classification, with the likes of Alberto Contador’s Saxo-Tinkoff and Team Sky, working for race leader Chris Froome, looking to keep their leaders out of trouble.

As it turned out, the peloton stayed together, although the nervous mood in the peloton meant some crashes were inevitable, with Vacansoleil-DCM’s Juan Antonio Flecha, Garmin-Sharp’s Andrew Talansky and Orica-GreenEdge’s Svein Tuft among those involved in chutes.

The final crash was the one that brought down Veelers just a few dozen metres before the line. The Dutchman, who had finished the leadout for Kittel, seemed to drift slightly across to his right just as Cavendish, desperately trying to remain in the fight for the win, came round him, although it would seem harsh to apportion blame exclusively to either rider.

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.

17 comments

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wwfcb [85 posts] 3 years ago
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......although it would seem harsh to apportion blame to either rider

How about both at fault?

My take on it, is,

Veelers looked beind/right and must have seen Cavendish looming, he then drifted what looked like intentionally to his right, which must have hindered Cavendish. It looked like Cavendish then saw the red mist and deliberately veered into Veelers.

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si4star [44 posts] 3 years ago
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wwfcb wrote:

......although it would seem harsh to apportion blame to either rider

How about both at fault?

My take on it, is,

Veelers looked beind/right and must have seen Cavendish looming, he then drifted what looked like intentionally to his right, which must have hindered Cavendish. It looked like Cavendish then saw the red mist and deliberately veered into Veelers.

I must have been watching the same broadcast as you.

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Cooks [492 posts] 3 years ago
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Brushed!?!

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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Cooks wrote:

Brushed!?!

Beat me to it! (And he nicked a tape recorder...)

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 3 years ago
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Looking at it from behind, It looked like they were both at fault.

Head on, Veelers moves slightly and Cav comes across him.

FRONT ON, that's the telling view. You see Cav look, grit his teeth and then full on body check him.

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Simon_MacMichael [2466 posts] 3 years ago
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Added a word in to clarify: "to apportion blame *exclusively* to either rider."

As for "brush" - the initial replays I saw suggested minimal contact rather than a full-on barge... it's not going to take much to bring you down at that speed.

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wrevilo [106 posts] 3 years ago
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Looked to me like Cav put his body into it intentionally too...

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CornishSprinter [26 posts] 3 years ago
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After his few bad sprints and Henderson and then Veelers blocking him I'm not surprised he may/ or may not have knocked down Veelers.

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fatty [77 posts] 3 years ago
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My opinion (for what it's worth...) is that Veelers was primarily at fault. Sitting up in a sprint and then not holding your line is bound to have a negative effect. Cav had to take a line to get round Veelers to try and get on the wheel he needs, with Veelers swerving towards him. The reflex is then to brace for the inevitable impact. Veelers should have held his line - simple. There's no way Cav would deliberately take Veelers down, but at the same time he's not going to volunteer to crash himself to save him. Race official's judgement was spot on.

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Skylark [162 posts] 3 years ago
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Good thing Twingo stayed at home. He could have been humiliated.

I wonder if we will see a repeat of Vuelta '12. Froome goes early then bails out in the later stages. And it was same for VV.

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 3 years ago
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Did anyone see Cavs tweet?

"Definitely knocked a cyclists off his bike earlier - I have right of way #bloodycyclists"

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stealfwayne [123 posts] 3 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

Did anyone see Cavs tweet?

"Definitely knocked a cyclists off his bike earlier - I have right of way #bloodycyclists"

Brilliant -  4

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Jimbonic [136 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm going to go with, erm, emotional: lost his train, got hindered and took a little bit of a swipe at Veelers...

I'm fairly sure that both of them knew what they were doing. As wwfcb said above, Veelers looked and moved. But, Cav braced himself and looked back on the run in to the line. I'm fairly sure that I wouldn't have bothered if I thought Veelers was all at fault.

Hey ho, the commissaires have made their decision - the race goes on - maybe there'll be some afters in the upcoming stages.....

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 3 years ago
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Jimbonic wrote:

I'm going to go with, erm, emotional: lost his train, got hindered and took a little bit of a swipe at Veelers...

I'm fairly sure that both of them knew what they were doing. As wwfcb said above, Veelers looked and moved. But, Cav braced himself and looked back on the run in to the line. I'm fairly sure that I wouldn't have bothered if I thought Veelers was all at fault.

Hey ho, the commissaires have made their decision - the race goes on - maybe there'll be some afters in the upcoming stages.....

That's my honest view. I don't think Cav is proud of his actions and I think he showed some level of remorse by pulling up after the accident.

To quote the football pundits, Veelers went down easy, not intentionally, but I don't think Cav thought his bump would send him down.

I'm sure they will kiss and make up.....

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jamtartman [57 posts] 3 years ago
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Veelers deliberately blocked Cavendish to protect Kittel. Had Cav not knocked him off, we would be talking about that instead.

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sodit [93 posts] 3 years ago
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jamtartman wrote:

Veelers deliberately blocked Cavendish to protect Kittel. Had Cav not knocked him off, we would be talking about that instead.

Not an expert on cycle racing but I was watching the highlights last night and I was calling Mr Cavendish all the names under the sun. But was thinking about it this morning out on the bike and watching it again I agree with the gentleman above (jamtartman brilliant). It may! Not of been intentional but it definitely impeded Cavendish's line to the finish

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Skylark [162 posts] 3 years ago
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OP-QS ought to re-evaluate their roster for next season. Such a good team, they have one guy too many on the team that they could do without. Especially with a sinister and horrible attitude from this one rider that we've come to know.