Thursday, July 15, 2010

TDF 2010 Stage 11: Head Butting Battle to a Fast Finish: Renshaw Out

It promised to be a fast stage with a battle at the sprint, and so it was, launching Mark Cavendish to his third win in the 2010 Tour, and his 13th stage win in three years.

The final sprint included a dramatic heat butting by Cavendish's lead out man Mark Renshaw who said he was being impeded by Julian Dean of Garmin Transitions and had to push him back. The head butting was a classic track-sprinter move, and Renshaw was disqualified: he is now out of the Tour de France, according to the Amaury Sports Organization.
(You can watch the video yourself and make your own judgment.)

Right behind Cavendish in the sprint was Alessandro Petacchi who won back the Green Jersey from Thor Hushovd who was several positions behind the action. Mark Cavendish is now in 4th position for the Green Jersey, but without Renshaw to lead him out, he'll be depending on other HTC Columbia riders, and his dominance in future sprints is not assured.

The overall standings for the general classification remained the same, with Andy Schleck of Saxo Bank donning the Yellow Jersey once again.

Another controversial move in the final sprint became an issue, when Renshaw slowed after his leadout of Cavendish, and impeded sprinter Tyler Farrar of Garmin Transitions. Farrar later said he thought the move was "unusual."

When confronted with the idea that he had impeded Farrar, Renshaw defended his reputation as a clean finisher and said he also was shooting for points at the finish.

The final kilometers leading to the finish in Bourg les Valence were fast and furious with Saxo Bank looking to protect their Yellow Jersey in the cross winds, followed by desperate moves to the front by sprinter teams HTC Columbia, Lampre, Garmin Transitions and Team Sky.

Stage 11 from Sisteron to Bourg les Valence started out like any other stage with a mostly flat 184.5 km profile: with a breakaway in the beginning by enterprising riders who got caught before the finish, and ending in a mass sprint that depended on team work to deliver their sprinter to the line.

An early breakaway was established with Anthony Geslin (FDJ), Stephane Auge (COF), and Jose Benitez (FOT). They stayed out for the bulk of the stage but were caught about 24 km to the finish.

At about 20 km to the finish,  HTC Columbia was in front driving the pace at about 50 km an hour. Right behind them was RadioShack, all leading up to a massive crosswinds that would hit them at about 18 km to the finish.

Pushing to the front was Team Saxo Bank with the idea of keeping their Yellow Jersey holder, Andy Schleck safe and away from the crashes in the sprint. The crosswinds caused a split in the peloton, with the biggest riders--Andy Schleck, Mark Cavendish, Tyler Farrar, Thor Hushovd, and Alessandro Petacchi, safely up front.

At 8 km to the finish, Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep) attacked off the front, with Popovych on his wheel, and behind them, HTC Columbia had taken over the front of the peloton driving the train a 60 km per hour.  The peloton was moving so fast, the attackers were caught within less than a kilometer.

Chaos reigned at the front of the peloton at about 5 km to go, with Lampre coming to the front for their sprinter Petacchi and Team Sky coming up the right, and Garmin Transitions next to them. It was a constantly changing and undulating lead out, partly for the battle for position, and partly because of the fast speeds.

At 3.7 km to go, Lampre was up front, HTC Columbia had taken Garmin's place and then behind them Team Sky. At one point it looked like a chess board with HTC Columbia riders interspersed in between Lampre riders, with Sky coming up on the right.

It was Tony Martin, Bernhard Eisel, and Mark Renshaw who started to come to the front in the final kilometer. It was going to be Petacchi's team versus Cavendish's team, with the Green Jersey Thor Hushovd tucked in behind them.

At 750 meters to go, Mark Renshaw butted heads against Julian Dean who was trying to take his line. As Cavendish was launched by Renshaw, he sprinted to the finish. Petacchi tried to stay on this wheel and Farrar was behind him, but neither could match the Manx Missile to the line.

General Classification Standing at End of Stage 11:
1. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM SAXO BANK 53h 43' 25"
2. CONTADOR Alberto 1 ASTANA 53h 44' 06" + 00' 41"
3. SANCHEZ Samuel 181 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 53h 46' 10" + 02' 45"
4. MENCHOV Denis 191 RABOBANK 53h 46' 23" + 02' 58"
5. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 101 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 53h 46' 56" + 03' 31"
6. LEIPHEIMER Levi 25 TEAM RADIOSHACK 53h 47' 24" + 03' 59"
7. GESINK Robert 195 RABOBANK 53h 47' 47" + 04' 22"
8. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 161 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 53h 48' 06" + 04' 41"
9. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin 77 KATUSHA TEAM 53h 48' 33" + 05' 08"
10. BASSO Ivan 41 LIQUIGAS-DOIMO 53h 48' 34" + 05' 09"
11. KREUZIGER Roman 44 LIQUIGAS-DOIMO 53h 48' 36" + 05' 11"
12. HESJEDAL Ryder 54 GARMIN - TRANSITIONS 53h 49' 07" + 05' 42"
13. ROCHE Nicolas 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 53h 49' 48" + 06' 23"
14. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 9 ASTANA 53h 49' 56" + 06' 31"
15. ROGERS Michael 118 TEAM HTC - COLUMBIA 53h 50' 29" + 07' 04"
16. SASTRE Carlos 91 CERVELO TEST TEAM 53h 50' 38" + 07' 13"
17. WIGGINS Bradley 31 SKY PRO CYCLING 53h 50' 43" + 07' 18"
18. EVANS Cadel 121 BMC RACING TEAM 53h 51' 12" + 07' 47"


Stage Standing at End of Stage 11

1. CAVENDISH Mark 111 TEAM HTC - COLUMBIA 4h 42' 29"
2. PETACCHI Alessandro 208 LAMPRE - FARNESE 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
3. FARRAR Tyler 53 GARMIN - TRANSITIONS 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
4. ROJAS Jose Joaquin 169 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
5. MC EWEN Robbie 75 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
6. ARASHIRO Yukiya 152 BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
7. HUSHOVD Thor 95 CERVELO TEST TEAM 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
8. MONDORY Lloyd 87 AG2R LA MONDIALE 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
9. ROELANDTS Jürgen 108 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
10. CIOLEK Gerald 142 TEAM MILRAM 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
11. TURGOT Sébastien 158 BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
12. HAGEN Edvald Boasson 36 SKY PRO CYCLING 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
13. FREIRE Oscar 193 RABOBANK 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
14. PEREZ MORENO Ruben 186 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
15. SANCHEZ Samuel 181 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
16. ROBERTS Luke 146 TEAM MILRAM 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
17. ROCHE Nicolas 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"
18. DE WEERT Kevin 133 QUICK STEP 4h 42' 29" + 00' 00"

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