Even though Philippe Gilbert lost his green jersey to Mark Cavendish in Wednesday's stage 11 bunch sprint, Omega Pharma-Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant is hopeful that the Belgian can take the sprint classification lead back as the race moves into the mountains. Gilbert, after having worked for the team's sprinter André Greipel in yesterday's finale, had few words to say to the media after the stage but did not seem too bothered.
"Cav wins, Greipel gets second and Cav takes the green. What a shame for Greipel. But tomorrow there will be mountains," was all the Belgian told Het Nieuwsblad at the team bus in Lavaur.
Sergeant, too, was philosophical at the loss and explained the team's strategy in the stage finale. "Philippe lost the green jersey but that had to be expected in such a stage finish," he said. "It was a typical bunch sprint, not one for Phil. Moreover, when it started raining buckets in the last ten kilometres to the line, he let us know that he thought it was too dangerous to mix in the sprint. We put everything on Greipel."
The team now counts on Cavendish's relative weakness facing the Tour's most challenging stages in the Pyrenees to take the points classification lead back. "This is only an intermediate result," Sergeant added. "Cavendish has 20 points over Gilbert, and Rojas has four. The jersey is not lost altogether. In the mountains, Philippe can score more points. He's not disappointed and can take the green jersey back anytime. We will see from day to day."
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