Mark Cavendish beats Tour de France time cut on Mont Ventoux as Rowe misses out
Søren Kragh Andersen the last rider home with just three seconds to spare
On what was arguably the toughest mountain stage of the Tour de France, featuring two ascents of the famous Mont Ventoux, Mark Cavendish once again beat the time cut to remain in the race.
The green jersey holder was among the last major group of riders to cross the line in Malaucène, 40 minutes and 40 seconds after stage winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), beating the cut by seven minutes after after almost six hours of racing.
Cavendish finished alongside Deceuninck-QuickStep teammates Davide Ballerini, Michael Mørkøv, Tim Declercq and Dries Devenyns.
"We knew today we were not going to be as close to the time limit as we were on Sunday, but still we had to be focused the whole day. My teammates were there with me, helping me up and down the mountains," Cavendish said.
"I'm very tired - I guess everybody is. I've done many Tours de France, but this for sure is one of the hardest. Being here is very cool. I spoke to [race director Christian] Prudhomme on the eve of the race and I told him how much I love this race. I'm a man of my word, so I won't quit; I'll keep going for as long as I can."
Fellow sprinter Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic) was the penultimate rider home 2:45 later. Team DSM all-rounder Søren Kragh Andersen was the last man of the 156 finishers home, sneaking in under the time cut by just three seconds.
Ineos Grenadiers' Luke Rowe suffered a disappointing end to his day, however, crossing the line around six minutes after the time cut. The Welshman, who had raced alongside Kragh Andersen for a portion of the stage, is now out of the Tour de France.
"After a gutsy ride today we're sad to confirm that Luke Rowe has crossed the line outside the time limit and will not be able to start tomorrow's stage," Ineos Grenadiers stated on social media.
Rowe will be among eight riders who won't continue past stage 11 after seven riders abandoned during the stage, including Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) and Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka NextHash).
He's also the eighth rider to miss the time cut during this year's Tour de France after seven men missed out on stage 9 in Tignes.
Sprinters Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels p/b KTM) were among those to leave the race, along with Jacopo Guarnieri (Groupama-FDJ), Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa-Samsic), Stefan De Bod (Astana-Premier Tech), Loïc Vliegen (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), and Nicholas Dlamini (Qhubeka NextHash).
Stage 11 saw the Tour de France visit Mont Ventoux for the first time since 2016, when Thomas De Gendt won a chaotic stage that featured yellow jersey Chris Froome jogging up the mountain after breaking his bike in a crash with a motorbike.
Cavendish, who finished 143rd on that day, took time out this time out to pay tribute to Tom Simpson at the memorial towards the top of the mountain where the British rider lost his life in 1967. A video posted on social media showed the 33-time stage winner taking off his helmet in respect, and throwing a cap onto the memorial as he passed by.
Pure class and dignity shown from Mark Cavendish as he passed the Tom Simpson memorial. Fair play Cav. Now go and beat Eddy’s record and show em what the Brits are made of. #TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/S6MXB7cMvJJuly 7, 2021
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.
As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.