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HTC-Columbia rider Mark Renshaw gave teammate Mark Cavendish an excellent lead-out yesterday.
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."