Cavendish makes it four!

Columbia-HTC rider equals British Tour stage win record, is back in green

He's said time and time again it's not an objective, but regardless of what he says, Mark Cavendish is poised to win a bright-green-coloured jersey he could only dream of wearing one Tour de France ago.

Stage 11's uphill finish in Saint-Fargeau - not as difficult as the sixth stage to Barcelona, but much harder than the previous stage - was expected to suit overnight points leader Thor Hushovd ((Cervélo TestTeam) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) far more than Cavendish. Yet once again, reading like a page out of Tuesday's Tour de France book, Columbia-HTC performed a copycat procedure 50 kilometres from the line: assembling their forces to chase down the early escape, catching them within the final kilometres to discourage any further breakaway attempts and leaving their strongest quicks - George Hincapie and Mark Renshaw - to deliver Cavendish the perfect lead-out.

And when Renshaw dropped off his main man at the slightly later 150 metres-to-go mark, 24-year-old Cavendish accelerated on the rise as if it were flat.

"The guys were able to adapt to that situation. Normally, we have two guys in the last kilometre - today we had four, because they had to deliver me later [to the line]," Cavendish said of his team's strategy. "I had to be delivered to 150 metres and I kept the gear small. I was sprinting in the 13 or 14 [sprocket] instead of the 11, and I was able to get the jump on Thor [Hushovd]."

Tailing off ever so slightly towards the line, Farrar may have stood a chance of victory if there were another 30 or 40 metres more. Still, Wednesday's victor was a clear winner as he continues to frustrate the hell out of the American, forced to settle for another second. Just for a change, Yauheni Hutarovich (Française des Jeux) finished third ahead of Oscar Freire (Rabobank), the Spaniard on the improve, while Hushovd could only manage fifth, the maillot vert slipping off his shoulders as a result.

Un po' problemo for Nocentini

Unlike the previous day, maillot jaune Rinaldo Nocentini did not come off scot-free on Wednesday, caught up in one of a number of crashes along the region's narrow, winding roads though not seriously hurt. And so, with the 15-second deficit awarded to 106 riders after the previous stage to Issoudun reversed, it's left the leader board's top-10 unchanged since the finish of the seventh leg to Andorra Arcalis.

"A crash occurred after 20 or 30 kilometres with many riders involved, including myself. But really, it was nothing serious and I was able to make it back to the peloton," Nocentini said of his fall.

"[Stage 13 on] Friday will be a very tough day, but I'm in a very good condition right now, so I hope to keep the maillot jaune all the way to Sunday [Stage 15]," he said.

Maillot vert a two-horse race to Paris

Cavendish's fourth victory at this year's Grande Boucle also equals Barry Hoban's British record of eight Tour stage wins but in a quarter of the time it took Hoban. While Cavendish said he's honoured for his name to be considered in the same sentence, quite clearly, they're not the best of friends.

"It's nice to be able to be spoken in the same sentence as Barry Hoban, one of the great British pros. He's given me some advice, but he's also said some things sometimes that offended me a little bit," said Cavendish, who is still some way off Eddy Merckx's extraordinary 34-stage-win feat.

Cavendish, on 176 points, is the new maillot vert by a margin of seven from Hushovd while third-placed Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) lies too far behind to be worth mentioning.

This two-horse race for green to Paris is becoming an ever-intriguing one. We know Hushovd will most likely be stronger in the third week, and we know Cavendish suffered through the Pyrenees. So upon whose shoulders this jersey rests on seems to depend on how Cavendish and his lead-out brigade fair in the Alps. Then again, if he wins another two stages, it may well become out of reach for Hushovd - provided Cav' makes it to Paris, which he fully intends to do.

"I've raced 11 days of the Tour de France; for sure I'm going to feel a little bit tired," said Cavendish. "There are still 10 more days of racing to go, and I'm going to do 10 more days of racing. I've got a good team that looks after me; keeps me out of as much danger as possible, keeps me as relaxed and as fresh as possible."

Racist? Not me, says Cav' - just that "I'm an arsehole"

Asked about an article in Wednesday's L'Equipe that said he was mouthing out to a French rider during the previous stage and being derogatory towards the French people, Cavendish refuted being labelled as a racist.

"I think I get hot-headed sometimes and it's irrelevant what nationality they are," Cavendish said. "I got shown the article this morning and I had to laugh at it. It would have been nice to have a name of the writer of the article to find out where this came from or the name of the rider that supposedly said this, so I could go and see what the problem was and find out."

Exuding a few nervous laughs, the occasionally outspoken British rider who's doing his best of late to contain inflammatory comments because of the trouble it gets him into, apologised for any offence caused, but says there's perhaps a reason behind why the French sports daily wrote such an article about him.

"I take it as a compliment they [L'Equipe] go and try and start s--- about something that's not my bike riding, because they've got nothing to criticise my bike riding about.

"I love to come here to race and I love to be here, and for sure, I'm going to get arsey [sic] at some riders because I'm an arsehole, but it's irrelevant of nationality, and it's irrelevant of anything else. Like I said, I'm an arsehole," he said.

Come again or go away?

Vatan, which means to go away, is a member of the Association of French Towns with unusual meanings, along with Arnac-la-Poste (cheat the post office), Bouzillé (broken) and Trécon (very stupid). But perhaps the funniest tidbit lies in Vatan's meaning and its juxtaposed motto proudly displayed in this town of just 2,000 inhabitants situated in the Champagne Berry region: "'ll be back." What the...?

Ignoring the motto, Johan Van Summeren (Silence Lotto) and Marcin Sapa (Lampre-NGC) decided to take on Vatan's literal meaning 24 kilometres into the 192-kilometre journey to Saint-Fargeau, on an almost identical parcours to the day before.

Forty one kilometres in, the Belgian-Polish lead pair - quite the odd couple with the gangly legs of 197-centimetre-tall Van Summeren and the 179 stockier centimetres of Sapa - were 4:15 in front, which turned out to be their maximum advantage, no where near enough to make the move a success. Still, stranger things have happened at the Tour.

Run at a brisk 44.0 km/h average for the first three hours, the 40.8 km/h average for the third hour in comparison to the near 50 km/h first-hour average was indicative of fatigue within the break, their lead no more than two minutes 50 kilometres from Saint-Fargeau. Meanwhile, back in the bunch, the peloton traversed the small hills in the départments of Nievre and Yonne without difficulty, posing little problem for the supremely fit Tour de France athlete.

Shortly after, Garmin-Slipstream's Ryder Hesjedal strangely entangled himself, causing his bike to stutter and splutter like a diesel car filled with petrol, and with his front wheel locked, the Canadian went over his bars. Thankfully, his fall wasn't at speed and he was soon on his bike and receiving the deserved attention of the Tour's mobile race doctor.

Twenty kilometres from historical Saint-Fargeau, best known for its magnificent 12th century castle and home to numerous historical figures including Jacques Coeur, the Duchess of Montpensier, first cousin of Louis XIV and named ‘La Grande Mademoiselle, the Columbia-led peloton was now 47 seconds behind Van Summeren and Sapa.

Breathing heavily down their necks, it was all over red rover for the pair five clicks from home, the entire Columbia-HTC squad setting the pace up front. Slightly uphill the last 500 metres, it was expected to pose a few problems for the Might From The Isle of Man - but no such luck for Farrar and Hushovd, Cav's jump again proving superior.

For images of stage 11 click here

Full Results
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC4:17:55 
2Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
3Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux  
4Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank  
5Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team  
6Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
7Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram  
8Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
9William Bonnet (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
10Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha  
11Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
12Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha  
13Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
14Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas  
15Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
16Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step  
17Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana  
18Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
19Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha  
20Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
21Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux  
22Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
23Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
24Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
25Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
26Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne  
27Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano  
28Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
29Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
30Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha  
31Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas  
32Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
33Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha  
34Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
35Sebastian Lang (Ger) Silence - Lotto  
36Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team  
37Steven de Jongh (Ned) Quick Step  
38Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream  
39Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
40Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
41Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team  
42Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
43Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana  
44Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale  
45Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank  
46Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana  
47Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC  
48Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram  
49Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto  
50Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas  
51Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram  
52Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto  
53Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC  
54Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana  
55Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
56Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas  
57Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
58Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram  
59Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
60Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team  
61Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step  
62Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC  
63Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
64Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
65Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram  
66Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha  
67Grégory Rast (Swi) Astana  
68Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram  
69Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  
70Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana  
71Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank  
72Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux  
73Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank  
74Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step  
75Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
76Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
77Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC  
78Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test Team  
79Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel  
80Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux  
81Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux  
82George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC  
83Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank  
84Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
85Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  
86Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank  
87Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank  
88Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
89Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
90Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank  
91Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
92Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux  
93Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
94Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana  
95Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas  
96Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale  
97José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
98Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC  
99Christophe Moreau (Fra) Agritubel  
100Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
101Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
102Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream  
103Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin - Slipstream  
104Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Astana  
105Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
106Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
107Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
108Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
109Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
110Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank  
111Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank  
112Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step  
113Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step  
114Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
115Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
116Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
117Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
118Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
119Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
120Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas  
121Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
122Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step  
123Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Team Katusha  
124Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne  
125Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
126David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
127Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
128Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel  
129Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
130José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
131Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
132Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel  
133Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel  
134Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC  
135Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
136Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
137Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas  
138Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas  
139Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
140Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:00:24 
141Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cervelo Test Team  
142Iñigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
143Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram  
144Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC  
145Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux  
146Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano  
147José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:27 
148David Loosli (Swi) Lampre - NGC  
149Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC0:00:29 
150Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank  
151Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha  
152Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
153Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence - Lotto  
154David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
155Charles Wegelius (GBr) Silence - Lotto0:00:34 
156Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Slipstream  
157Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano0:00:36 
158Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:00:38 
159Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram  
160Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step  
161David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
162Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas0:00:51 
163Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana0:00:54 
164Marcus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram  
165David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream0:01:00 
166Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux0:01:01 
167Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - HTC0:01:06 
168Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:01:10 
169Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:03:37 
170Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne0:04:11 
DNSKurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Saxo Bank  
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC35pts
2Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream30 
3Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux26 
4Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank24 
5Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team22 
6Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne20 
7Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram19 
8Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale18 
9William Bonnet (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom17 
10Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha16 
11Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC15 
12Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha14 
13Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne13 
14Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas12 
15Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano11 
16Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step10 
17Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana9 
18Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano8 
19Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha7 
20Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre - NGC6 
21Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux5 
22Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi4 
23Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC3 
24Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel2 
25Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - NGC1 
Sprint 1 - Quincy, km. 26.5
1Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto6pts
2Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC4 
3Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale2 
Sprint 2 - Saint-Ceols, km. 73.5
1Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC6pts
2Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto4 
3Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale2 
Sprint 3 - Suilly-La-Tour, km. 114.5
1Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto6pts
2Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC4 
3Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale2 
Mountain 1 - Côte d'Allogny (Cat. 4) km. 45.5
1Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto3pts
2Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC2 
3Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi1 
Mountain 2 - Côte de Perreuse (Cat. 4) km. 150.0
1Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC3pts
2Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto2 
3Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas1 
Young riders
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC4:17:55 
2Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
3Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram  
4Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha  
5Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
6Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
7Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
8Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
9Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
10Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas  
11Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
12Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
13Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale  
14Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC  
15Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto  
16Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas  
17Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram  
18Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram  
19Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team  
20Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC  
21Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha  
22Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  
23Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
24Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
25Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas  
26Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne  
27Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel  
28Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
29Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
30Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:00:24 
31Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram  
32Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano  
33Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha0:00:29 
34Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano0:00:36 
35Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux0:01:01 
36Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne0:04:11 
Most aggressive rider
1Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
1Team Katusha12:53:45 
2Lampre - N.G.C  
4Cervelo Test Team  
5Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
6AG2R-La Mondiale  
7Garmin - Slipstream  
9Francaise Des Jeux  
10Caisse d'Epargne  
11Team Columbia - HTC  
12Team Milram  
14Quick Step  
15Euskaltel - Euskadi  
16Silence - Lotto  
19Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne  
20Team Saxo Bank  
General classification after stage 11
1Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale43:28:59 
2Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana0:00:06 
3Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana0:00:08 
4Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana0:00:39 
5Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream0:00:46 
6Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana0:00:54 
7Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC0:01:00 
8Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream0:01:24 
9Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank0:01:49 
10Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas0:01:54 
11Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:02:16 
12Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC0:02:21 
13Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank0:02:25 
14Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas0:02:40 
15Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:45 
16Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Cervelo Test Team0:02:52 
17Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:03:02 
18Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto0:03:07 
19Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC0:03:16 
20Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha0:03:49 
21Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux0:03:58 
22Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana0:04:14 
23Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana0:04:20 
24Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram  
25Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel0:04:26 
26Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha0:05:00 
27Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank0:05:02 
28George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC0:05:25 
29Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram0:05:28 
30Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux0:06:03 
31Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:06:54 
32Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank0:06:56 
33Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank0:06:59 
34David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:07:27 
35Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:08:06 
36Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram0:08:21 
37Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:09:37 
38Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:09:59 
39Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:10:36 
40Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank0:11:44 
41Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Astana0:11:50 
42Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step0:12:00 
43José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Cervelo Test Team0:12:17 
44Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux0:13:52 
45Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test Team0:14:37 
46Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:14:56 
47Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:15:30 
48José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:16:02 
49Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas0:16:44 
50Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale0:16:45 
51Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:16:52 
52Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne0:17:07 
53Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:18:40 
54Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:20:13 
55Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:20:55 
56Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:21:34 
57Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank0:23:02 
58Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:23:38 
59Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel0:24:44 
60Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank0:25:03 
61Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:26:43 
62Christophe Moreau (Fra) Agritubel0:27:58 
63Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:28:07 
64Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel0:28:08 
65David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream0:28:18 
66Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:28:32 
67Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step0:29:48 
68David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream0:30:28 
69Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Slipstream0:32:02 
70Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence - Lotto0:32:26 
71José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale0:32:28 
72David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:33:18 
73Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step0:33:22 
74Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha0:33:23 
75Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram0:33:28 
76Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel0:35:02 
77Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:35:22 
78Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:35:43 
79Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:36:01 
80Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank0:36:11 
81Charles Wegelius (GBr) Silence - Lotto0:36:14 
82Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas0:36:46 
83Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank0:37:52 
84Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:39:02 
85Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:39:43 
86Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:39:54 
87Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank0:41:58 
88Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cervelo Test Team0:42:34 
89Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas0:42:35 
90Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel0:42:38 
91Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:43:48 
92Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:44:31 
93Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:44:45 
94Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne0:45:36 
95Sebastian Lang (Ger) Silence - Lotto0:47:25 
96Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha0:48:08 
97David Loosli (Swi) Lampre - NGC0:48:31 
98Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux0:48:57 
99Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC0:49:07 
100Iñigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Spa) Cervelo Test Team0:50:59 
101Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:51:29 
102Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream0:52:33 
103Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:52:49 
104Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:53:00 
105Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team0:55:24 
106Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step0:55:45 
107Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas0:55:50 
108Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank0:56:53 
109Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:57:49 
110Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:57:57 
111Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux0:58:41 
112Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step0:59:34 
113Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank0:59:42 
114Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas0:59:44 
115Marcus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram1:00:08 
116Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC1:01:08 
117Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Team Katusha1:03:53 
118Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux1:04:01 
119Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale1:04:18 
120Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team1:04:32 
121Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank1:05:16 
122Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne1:05:23 
123Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne1:07:00 
124Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha1:08:57 
125Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:10:00 
126Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:10:19 
127Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin - Slipstream1:10:38 
128Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux1:11:01 
129Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step1:12:14 
130Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas1:12:45 
131Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano1:13:01 
132Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha1:13:18 
133Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha1:13:23 
134Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC1:13:54 
135Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC1:14:02 
136Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team1:14:04 
137Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano1:15:08 
138Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:15:10 
139Grégory Rast (Swi) Astana1:15:19 
140Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram1:15:32 
141Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC1:16:38 
142Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram1:16:45 
143Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto1:16:47 
144Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:17:56 
145Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne1:18:44 
146Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:19:10 
147Steven de Jongh (Ned) Quick Step1:20:23 
148Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel1:20:37 
149Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram1:20:38 
150Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step1:21:41 
151Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne1:21:56 
152Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas1:22:06 
153Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano1:22:51 
154Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano1:23:04 
155Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC  
156Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - HTC1:23:31 
157Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano1:23:32 
158Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:23:43 
159Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi1:23:52 
160Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence - Lotto1:24:35 
161William Bonnet (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:24:36 
162Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana1:26:15 
163Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream1:26:32 
164Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram1:28:15 
165Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano1:29:18 
166Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Slipstream1:30:55 
167Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team1:32:46 
168Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux1:33:10 
169Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:43:42 
170Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano1:59:32 
Points classification
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC176pts
2Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team169 
3Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne110 
4Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream110 
5Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram100 
6Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank97 
7Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale74 
8Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne64 
9Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank55 
10William Bonnet (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom54 
11Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel51 
12Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano48 
13Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom47 
14Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas47 
15Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale47 
16Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne46 
17Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step46 
18Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana43 
19Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre - NGC41 
20Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom36 
21Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC35 
22Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto34 
23Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha34 
24Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano34 
25Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi33 
26George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC32 
27Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel31 
28Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale31 
29Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha31 
30Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne30 
31Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom30 
32Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux30 
33Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas29 
34Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC29 
35Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom29 
36Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano28 
37Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha28 
38Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step27 
39Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne27 
40Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - NGC27 
41Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha27 
42Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC26 
43Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC25 
44Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano25 
45Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne24 
46Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux23 
47José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne22 
48Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana22 
49Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel21 
50Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram21 
51Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram21 
52Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas20 
53Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale20 
54Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram19 
55Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank18 
56Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi18 
57Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano18 
58Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi17 
59Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux17 
60Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram17 
61Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto16 
62Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream16 
63Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana15 
64Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step15 
65Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank14 
66Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas14 
67Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank14 
68Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale14 
69Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana13 
70Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale13 
71Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto13 
72Sebastian Lang (Ger) Silence - Lotto13 
73Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux12 
74Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team11 
75Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step11 
76Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano11 
77David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream10 
78Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux10 
79Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne10 
80Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana9 
81Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom9 
82Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC8 
83Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel8 
84Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank7 
85Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC5 
86Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha5 
87Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi5 
88Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux4 
89Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi4 
90Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas4 
91Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank4 
92Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas4 
93Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram3 
94Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank3 
95Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano3 
96Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC3 
97Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto3 
98Steven de Jongh (Ned) Quick Step3 
99Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana2 
100Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank2 
101Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank1 
102Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC1 
Mountains classification
1Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi79pts
2Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne59 
3Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas56 
4Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel49 
5Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom49 
6Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale46 
7Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux43 
8Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi38 
9Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale35 
10Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale34 
11Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank32 
12Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram32 
13David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne31 
14Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom31 
15Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne26 
16Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step23 
17George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC21 
18Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi21 
19Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence - Lotto20 
20José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne20 
21Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto19 
22Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha17 
23Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank17 
24Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas17 
25Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana15 
26Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne14 
27Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom14 
28Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Astana14 
29Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank13 
30Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana12 
31Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank11 
32Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana10 
33Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne10 
34Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux9 
35David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream9 
36David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream8 
37Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step8 
38Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano7 
39Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC6 
40Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux6 
41Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano6 
42Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank6 
43Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto5 
44Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC5 
45Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale5 
46Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel4 
47Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne4 
48Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha3 
49Marcus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram3 
50Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux3 
51Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom2 
52Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream1 
53Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne1 
54Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank1 
55Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano1 
Young rider classification
1Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC43:29:59 
2Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank0:00:49 
3Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas0:00:54 
4Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas0:01:40 
5Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel0:03:26 
6Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram0:04:28 
7Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:07:06 
8Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:08:59 
9Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale0:15:45 
10Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne0:16:07 
11Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:17:40 
12Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:27:07 
13Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram0:32:28 
14Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel0:34:02 
15Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:43:45 
16Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne0:44:36 
17Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC0:48:07 
18Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:52:00 
19Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team0:54:24 
20Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux0:57:41 
21Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha1:07:57 
22Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha1:12:18 
23Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha1:12:23 
24Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC1:12:54 
25Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano1:14:08 
26Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:14:10 
27Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram1:14:32 
28Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto1:15:47 
29Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:16:56 
30Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:18:10 
31Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel1:19:37 
32Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas1:21:06 
33Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano1:22:32 
34Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream1:25:32 
35Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram1:27:15 
36Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano1:28:18 
Teams classification
1AG2R-La Mondiale128:53:09 
3Team Columbia - HTC0:04:45 
4Team Milram0:05:20 
5Team Saxo Bank0:05:24 
6Garmin - Slipstream0:05:56 
7Caisse d'Epargne0:07:05 
8Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne0:10:00 
10Francaise Des Jeux0:12:59 
11Euskaltel - Euskadi0:13:07 
12Cervelo Test Team0:16:13 
14Bbox Bouygues Telecom0:22:05 
15Silence - Lotto0:23:15 
17Team Katusha0:27:41 
18Quick Step0:50:05 
19Lampre - N.G.C1:35:23 

Full Specifications

Columbia-HTC keeping the dream for green alive

Repeatedly asked if he's going for the points classification at the Tour or not, Mark Cavendish tends to avoid the question, stating his primary objective is to win stages and make it to Paris. However, after he won Wednesday's stage to Saint-Fargeau, Columbia-HTC's sprint king is now seven points clear of Thor Hushovd in a classification he claims not to care too much about.

It's a different story when Cyclingnews spoke with his number one lead-out guy, Mark Renshaw, at the stage start in Vatan.

"I think the competition's always been alive," Renshaw said.

"Definitely, it's a lot tighter now - it's going to be a lot harder. We said all along it's not the main objective - the main objective is to win stages. But in saying that, if Cavendish wins five stages, it's a very realistic goal of taking home the green jersey.

"It's in the back of our heads to take the green, it's always nice. It's good for the team and great for Cav'. We're going to be chasing it, but at the end of the day, we're here to win stages," he said.

Those who witnessed the superlative performances of Renshaw and Cavendish the previous day, it appeared obvious both had fared well through the hat-trick of Pyrenean stages at the end of Tour's first week, but the stocky Aussie from Bathurst in country New South Wales admitted there were times when both were struggling.

"They certainly weren't easy," he said with a wry grin. "For us, we have to go at 100 percent every day just to get through the Pyrenees. I had a really bad day up to Andorra; [I] just didn't feel good on the bike, so that really hurt me for the next two days. And then Cav' started hurting in the end, so we both had bad days. But we recovered well on the rest day, and I think that's what made a big difference."

Acting as the lead-out man for Cavendish's main rival and arguably the strongest sprinter in the peloton last year with Crédit Agricole, and now in the same capacity for the fastest finisher at Columbia-HTC, what would Renshaw do if he were Thor Hushovd?

"Obviously, Thor's going to have to try and pick up points in the intermediate sprints. He's shown that's the way he can win the green jersey. Back a few years ago [in 2005], he picked up a lot of points at those intermediate sprints after climbs. Cavendish is not climbing that good - that's Thor's major advantage," he said, Renshaw and Cavendish sure to suffer some more when the Tour heads to the Alps.

Praised by the Columbia-HTC sprint king as "the world's best lead-out man", it's no doubt giving Renshaw a fantastic apprenticeship and a taste of what may be if he decides to become that quickest man. For now, Renshaw appears content in his role and is most likely generously paid. Still, there's nothing like the exhilaration of crossing the line first.

And like the battle for the maillot vert, that may also be in the back of his mind.

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