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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 16, 2010

Date published:
July 16, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Renshaw kicked out of Tour de France

    HTC-Columbia rider Mark Renshaw gave teammate Mark Cavendish an excellent lead-out yesterday.
    Article published:
    July 15, 2010, 17:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Head-butt in sprint earns Cavendish lead-out man early exit

    Australian Mark Renshaw was disqualified from the Tour de France today for his aggressive actions in the sprint finish of the 11th stage to Bourg-les-Valence. The HTC-Columbia lead out man for Cavendish had help the Manxman win three stages in this year's race.

    Renshaw was told that he had been disqualified by Cyclingnews reporter Jean Francois Quenet. His immediate reaction was: "I can't be out of the Tour de France if Barredo and Costa only got a fine a few days ago."

    "I'm extremely disappointed," he continued. "I'm extremely harshly done by the decision of the jury. I've never had anything against me in the past. I've never done anything wrong. The process of this decision is abnormal. There's no possibility of appeal to this decision."

    Renshaw said that his actions look worse on television than they actually were.

    "Julian (Dean) moved off his line by more than one metre. Then I had only two options: to be left in the barriers or to push him back with my head. I had started my sprint."

    Race director Jean-Francois Pescheux reviewed the film, which shows Renshaw repeatedly head-butting Garmin-Transitions man Julian Dean, who was leading out Tyler Farrar. The move delayed Farrar's ability to sprint.

    "Renshaw hit [Dean] with his head, much like in a keirin. But we are in the sport of cycling, we're not in combat. They all could have ended up on their backs tonight. We can not accept that."

    "I still think I did nothing wrong," said Renshaw. "They could have given me a warning, or a fine or a disqualification for the stage. I was trying to get points as well to help Cav' win the green jersey. I'm in the best form of my life and now I have to leave the Tour. It's gonna be hard to get over this."

  • Petacchi gets green jersey, wants to take it to Paris

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) is back in green after the Tour's 11th stage.
    Article published:
    July 15, 2010, 18:44 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Hushovd angry over losing Tour de Frances points lead

    Alessandro Petacchi has taken the green jersey in the Tour de France after coming second to Mark Cavendish in Bourg-lès-Valence. The Italian overtook Thor Hushovd, who led the points classification for eight days in a row since winning stage 3 on the roads used in Paris-Roubaix.

    Hushovd, the defending champion of the green jersey, was angry with himself for not finishing better, admitting that he's not as quick in the sprints as he has been. But he vowed to continue to fight.

    "I was too passive in the sprint," Hushovd said after the finish. "I was too scared, too. All the riders who went on my side, I let them pass and I lost. My tactic was to follow Petacchi to defend the jersey, but that's something I have to change. I'm not happy with myself today."

    Petacchi now has a four point advantage over Hushovd while Robbie McEwen, who finished fifth in Bourg-lès-Valence, is nine points down on the Norwegian, so he remains in contention for a fourth win in the points classification of the Tour de France.

    "It's not going to be easy to keep the green jersey until we reach Paris," Petacchi concluded. "Yesterday I went for the intermediate sprint because Hushovd, McEwen and I are very close in the points classification. We'll probably fight for other intermediate sprints. I'm confident after the good work done by my team today. The way Danilo Hondo brought me back to the front was exceptional."

    "My position now makes me think of the 2003 Tour de France," Petacchi explained. "Seven years ago, I didn't have the grinta (determination) that I have now to finish the Tour and win the green jersey. My directeur sportif at the time, Giancarlo Ferretti, was very upset when I pulled out of the Tour although I had the green jersey."

    At the age of 36, Petacchi looks as fully motivated on French roads as on those of his own country. "It was a very hard sprint today," he said. "I managed to finish just behind...

  • Procycling's daily Tour de France dispatch - stage 11

    Saxo Bank’s Frank Schleck has felt the sport’s highs and lows in just on 10 days – becoming the Luxembourg national champion first, and then crashing out of the Tour de France. That definitely makes him one of the day’s losers.
    Article published:
    July 15, 2010, 19:04 BST

    Schleck Snr, Lino, Electric bikes, Voigt, Mende

    Schleck watching same Tour?

    Frank Schleck says that "those who plan the Tour route have no right to play with the riders' lives just to have a spectacular race". Frank claims to be watching his brother Andy on TV every day. We can only assume he skipped yesterday's stage…

    Combativity prize for CN's Farrand

    Belated news reaches of a ruck, involving our esteemed colleague - or colleague - Stephen Farrand of Cyclingnews, at the finish of Tuesday's stage ten of the Tour. The "Oldham Octopus," as he is affectionately known - or known - was standing beyond the finish line in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne when one of the official red Skodas pulled up at speed, and tried to park in the space occupied by Farrand, who is - in rugby parlance - "a big unit".

    The driver emerged and a scuffle ensued between the 6ft 5ins, generously-spanned Farrand and the car's driver, who happened to be Pascal Lino, the retired French rider, and former yellow jersey at the Tour.

    Mid-brawl (it was more handbags at dawn, if we're honest) they were confronted by one of the riders from the leading break, who put his foot down - literally and metaphorically - to break them up. The identity of the peacemaker? Alberto Contador, and he didn't even need to pull out his pistolero.

    [Editor's note: Stephen has told us that he has spoken to Lino following the scuffle and assures us that their relationship is definitely better than that between HTC-Columbia and Garmin-Transitions.]

    First to go electric

    Do not assume that small, hundreds-of-centuries-old French towns like Bourg-lès-Valence have not caught on to the benefits of technology or are unaware about the concerns of the environment. The finishing town for Stage 11 lies in the heart of the Rhône Valley and has a population of just 20,000, but is highly committed to sustainable development. In fact, it is the first...

  • Farrar and Dean furious with Renshaw over Tour sprint

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) wins stage 11
    Article published:
    July 15, 2010, 19:35 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Garmin-Transitions riders call actions dangerous

    The stage 11 sprint to Bourg-lès-Valence seemed like another formulaic victory for Mark Cavendish, but the drama leading up to the line left his foes in a rage and led to the expulsion of his main lead-out man, Mark Renshaw.

    Renshaw, leading Cavendish into the final few hundred metres of the stage was seen head-butting Garmin-Transitions lead-out man Julian Dean and then squeezing Dean's charge Tyler Farrar into the barriers, impeding his sprint.

    The American rider was furious after crossing the line, even though he was able to recover and sprint on to third place. "That wasn't a good sprint from Renshaw; that wasn't normal. Renshaw shouldn't be riding like that. It's so dangerous. I almost crashed," Farrar said.

    "He pushes hard but normally he's within the bounds of normal sprinting. Today he wasn't. He was out of line. They don't need to ride like that. Cav is plenty fast enough to win on his own."

    Still lacking a Tour stage on his palmares and with few sprint stages left in this year's race, Farrar skirted around saying he was denied a victory. "It's impossible to say what would've happened. But if something like this happens it certainly doesn't help your chances. I felt good and the team rode all day. Jules [Julian Dean] was fantastic. I was really motivated and it's a pity it didn't work," Farrar reacted.

    Shaking with emotion after clashing with Renshaw at 70km/h, Dean said, "I was just doing my job and trying to bring Tyler to the front with 500 metres to go. I dropped him off on Cav's wheel and went past Renshaw to try and keep the speed high. When I was coming over Renshaw, he didn't seem to like it too much."

    "He shouldn't have done that. It's not appropriate. I didn't make any movement, I was just bringing Tyler to the front. I went past Renshaw and then I felt him leaning on me and hitting me with his head. Then he carried on afterwards and came across on Tyler's line and stopped Tyler from...

  • Cavendish unhappy with Renshaw's ejection

    Mark Cavendish wins stage 11 of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 15, 2010, 19:50 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Loss of lead-out man sullies surpassing of Zabel's Tour total

    A day that should have ended with Mark Cavendish and his HTC-Columbia team ecstatic after the Manxman claimed his third bunch sprint victory in succession had much of its gloss taken off it when lead-out man Mark Renshaw was ejected from the race. Informed in the middle of TV interview just after he had come off the podium that the commissaire's decision had been made official, Cavendish responded: "It's always us, isn't it? There were two guys fighting the other day. I can't really make a comment."

    Noticing Tour route director Jean-François Pescheux passing by, Cavendish attempted to defend Renshaw, but Pescheux refused to be swayed. "No, no, no, no, no," said Pescheux after imitating Renshaw's head butt action.

    From there Cavendish moved on to face the press, and it was immediately clear that his post-stage euphoria had gone. Asked straight off about the commissaire's decision to throw Renshaw out of the Tour, he responded: "I understand the commissaires have made their decision. It's against what we as a team believed happened. So we'll just have to see how the situation evolves. It's very sad."

    Asked about his 13th Tour stage victory, which took him past HTC-Columbia coach Erik Zabel's tally of 12 sprint wins, Cavendish said simply: "We're really happy with the win, the team did a great job." Pressed for his thoughts about the green jersey, where his deficit is now 29 points to new leader Alessandro Petacchi, the Briton said: "There are still two, possibly three sprint days left. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully we can get some more wins and see what happens."

    Cavendish then described his view of the final stages of the run into Bourg-lès-Valence. "We came around the last corner in a good position. Bernie [Eisel] went to lead out and Mark was on his wheel, and Julian Dean came around on the right and put his elbow from the left over Mark's right. Mark used his head to get away. There's a risk when your elbow's...

  • Schlecks united on issue of cobbles in the Tour

    Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador share a word
    Article published:
    July 15, 2010, 20:50 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Brothers agree, pavé have no place in a Grand Tour

    Despite having had polar opposite fortunes on the cobblestones of stage 3 of the Tour de France, brothers Fränk and Andy Schleck are of the same opinion that the pavé have no place in a Grand Tour.

    While Andy picked up much of the 41 second lead he now enjoys over Alberto Contador on the stage to Arenberg, his older brother crashed out of the race on the most critical sector of cobbles and is now nursing a broken collarbone as a result.

    Fränk voiced his irritation with the race organisers for their design of that stage in the press today, and Andy backed him up in the post-stage press conference.

    "A stage like that doesn't fit the Tour de France. For me it was a good stage though. I prepared for it well and managed to get a good result. But for those who want to ride the cobbles there's Paris-Roubaix, but that's their choice. It shouldn't be in the Tour de France," said Andy Schleck.

    That said, the Tour's maillot jaune also indicated that his ability to overcome the challenge, as well as that of his main foe Contador, proves that they are more than just pure climbers.

    "I went well over the cobbles and that makes me a more complete rider. Contador won the time trial last year. But you need to come with the best over the climbs to win the Tour, that's for sure," Schleck said.

    Schleck can show off his climbing talent during Friday's stage to Mende when the finish lays atop a steep three kilometers long climb, the Montée Laurent Jalabert. On Wednesday, he predicted that about five GC-favorites would make it to the top together and on Thursday he added, "it will be a very hard stage. Also with the heat and the climb to Mende. It will be a battle between the race leaders so I'll be near the front."

    With several intense stages coming in the next few days, Schleck and his GC competitors had a relaxing day during the 184.5km stage from Sisteron to Bourg-lès-Valence in the South-East...

  • Vaughters says Renshaw disqualification was fair

    Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin-Transitions) faces questions
    Article published:
    July 15, 2010, 21:48 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Transitions manager says justice was done

    Immediately after seeing a replay of the Mark Renshaw and Julian Dean clash on television, Garmin-Transitions team manager Jonathan Vaughters and directeur sportif Matt White headed to the finish area, determined to make a protest. Before they got there, the race jury had already made a decision and kicked Renshaw out of the Tour de France.

    "I saw the video and I think it's a fair decision,' Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

    "I would never want to see one of our riders doing that. I understand that sprints are very hotly contested and I understand it's a long hot, hard Tour but you can't do that."

    Vaughters was angry how Renshaw first head-butted Dean and then also clashed with Farrar.

    "It's the head-butting and then he put Tyler into the barriers after. I understand it's intense competition but we all have to respect the rules," he said.

    Farrar missed out on a chance to try to win the stage because of the incident, but Vaughters was satisfied with the decision by the judges and thought that justice had been done.

    "That's bike racing. Sports have their penalties and you have to abide by what they are. Mark Cavendish didn't do anything incorrect, so why would you take away the victory from Cavendish," he said.

  • Reactions from the Tour's 11th stage

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) takes stage 11 to Bourg-les-Valence
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 4:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Controversy and a change in the green jersey

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) - second on stage, 146th overall @ 1:36:21: Cavendish and his team performed a perfect sprint: it was very difficult to precede them, even if Lampre-Farnese's work was very good.

    I'm sorry I didn't win but I'm happy to have taken the green jersey: it's a beautiful prize for my teammates' effort and I'll try to keep it with me as long as possible.

    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) - seventh on stage, 129th overall @ 1:28:06: Every sprint I do, I am not at 100 percent. I will keep fighting. We will see how we get over the mountains. I was too cautious today in the sprint. Everyone came past me, so I lost points today.

    I know I am not as fast as last year in the sprint. My injury [a broken collarbone suffered in May] slowed down my preparation for the Tour. I feel like I am getting stronger day by day.

    I am sure the green jersey battle will come down to Paris. I have to stay focused on doing my sprints and try to get as many points as possible. The Tour de France is long. Anything can happen. You never know what happens from one day to the next.

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) - 38th on stage, 18th overall @ 7:47: It's the bumps that really hurt. Hopefully, I'll be back to good level tomorrow to be able to stick somewhere within range.

    There's a lot of guys like myself who are pretty tired and stiff and sore like myself. Hopefully, we'll have one more day to recover before we get too serious.

    Mark Renshaw (HTC-Columbia) - disqualified from stage and Tour de France: 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.

    Julian came hard in on my position with his elbows....