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Tour de France organizers downplay sprinters's spat

Cycling News
July 16, 2011, 10:39 BST,
July 16, 2011, 18:16 BST
Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 16, 2011
Tour de France, Stage 13
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) savours taking the green jersey

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) savours taking the green jersey

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Rojas claims Cavendish holding onto cars on climbs

Mark Cavendish of HTC-Highroad has been accused of holding on to cars in the Pyrenees by some of his rivals for the green jersey, but Tour de France race organizers have dismissed the accusations.

After Friday's intermediate sprint, Philippe Gilbert of Omega Lotto-Pharma was seen visiting the car of race director Jean-Francois Pescheux for a long chat. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), second in the green jersey competition, has claimed the conversation was about Cavendish, who is currently wearing the green jersey.

"Phil and I complained about Cavendish,” Rojas said, according to and Gazzetta dello Sport. “Cavendish keeps hanging on to cars on the climbs.

“We want a clean sport, not only in the fight against doping, but also about other things. We asked for a television camera to follow Cavendish in the race."

Pescheux dismissed the accusations, saying to the Independent newspaper: “Rojas always looking for excuses to win. I have no problems with Cavendish." According to L'Equipe, the broom wagon driver also denied that Cavendish had cheated after being dropped by the gruppetto.

Omega Pharma-Lotto manager Herman Frison said that "Philippe has not complained. He just had a little chat with Pescheux. The conversation was not about Cavendish. "

All the sprinters will face a series of difficult climbs on Saturday, as the final stage in the Pyrenees features five climbs during the 168.5 km distance, before finishing up atop the Hors Categorie Plateau de Beille.  The day's sprint comes early on, at km 36.5, after only one category two climb.

The sprinters will have their chances for full points again on Sunday on a flat stage from Limoux to Montpelier, before the race goes into the Alps.

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