Cavendish relegated for irregular sprinting

Hushovd protests Cavendish's tactics

Mark Cavendish was relegated to the back of the main group Saturday in Tour de France stage 14 to Besançon. The race commission made its ruling after a protest of "irregular sprinting" from rival Thor Hushovd.

"I was able to pass him, but when he saw me coming he tried to push me into the barriers. It is not a fair game," said Norway's Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam).

Serguei Ivanov (Team Katusha) won the stage from a 12-man escape, but Cavendish and Hushovd were sprinting for 13th and valuable points towards the sprinter's green jersey. Great Britain's Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) won the sprint after the two fought for space in the final 300 metres.

"I had to brake, I could not pass him," said Hushovd. "If he is faster than me I accept it, but it is not good when you don't follow the rules."

Hushovd tried to pass between Cavendish and the barriers on the right side of the road. The barriers edged further onto the road and Hushovd had no space.

"We can't appeal and the decision's already final," said Columbia-HTC's press officer, Kristy Scrymgeour.

The commission fined Cavendish 200 Swiss franc (or 132€) and relegated him from 13th to 154th.

The decision meant that instead of Cavendish gaining one point on Hushovd he lost 13. Hushovd retained the sprinter's green jersey and now leads by 18 points over Cavendish and 92 on José Joaquín Rojas.

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