After the hectic scenes at the finish line in Bourg-lès-Valence the Tour de France race jury decided to expel HTC-Columbia rider Mark Renshaw from the race for what it considered a serious infraction. Cyclingnews asked one jury member, Pierre Curchod, how the decision was reached.
"It was very easy. When you see the sprint it's an unbehavable [sic] case," began the Swiss commissaire. "He did three to four times a very bad thing. He also went to the left side and blocked another rider. We cannot accept that. It's out of rage [sic]."
When asked whether Julian Dean should be punished for his infringements Curchod was unapologetic. "In every sprint you have some movements. You can analyse every sprint and you will always find some movements.
"The case of the HTC-Columbia rider was a bad case and we cannot tolerate that, so we need to send him home. We are not happy with that, but we need to do that because it's our role. It's a big penalty."
After stage six in Gueugnon a serious brawl erupted between Quick Step's Carlos Barredo and Caisse d'Epargne rider Rui Costa; Barredo attacked Costa with his front wheel and clearly tried to hurt him. Both riders eventually received a fine of 200 Swiss Francs each for their behaviour.
Curchod wasn't keen to compare both cases, however. "The case from four days ago is already the past. Nobody was reclamating [sic] after that. It was a good solution because none of our commissaires saw it happen. We had to take that decision based on interviews. The day after we saw some photos... Today is another day and we had to send him home."
Curchod justified the decision by referring to witnesses who have vindicated the harsh call through their judgements on the matter. "We have a lot of champions here and everybody agrees that it is a good decision," he said.
"I can understand the team because they have to do all they can do get their rider in. That's their job. Our job is not always easy but we had to take a decision and this was the best decision we could take."
Race organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) agreed with the race jury's decision and race director Jean-François Pescheux also spoke with Cyclingnews about the process behind the expulsion. "It's the jury of race commissaires that takes the decision and they looked at the TV images three or four times," said Pescheux.
"There are multiple infringements: headbutts, which are unacceptable in the Tour de France, to keep the other riders from passing. After setting up Cavendish he's forcing the riders who finished second and third to the barriers. These are flagrant infringements and the jury decided right away to declassify him and later also to put him out of the race."
Asked if Renshaw's teammate Mark Cavendish should also be punished because he was the one benefiting from the Australian's actions, Pescheux surprisingly made it clear he wouldn't want to have it any other way and that the rules didn't allow it to be so. "We can't. He didn't make a fault.
"That's the problem. It happened next to him and later, behind him. We can't disqualify Cavendish because his teammate made a big infringement," Pescheux concluded.
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