Cavendish Notches Fourth Stage Win of 2011 Tour
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) has won his fourth stage of the 2011 Tour de France.
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) has won his fourth stage of the 2011 Tour de France. Cavendish took a bunch sprint to win Stage 15, a rolling, 193-km run from Limoux to Montpellier, in 4:20:24. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) outsprinted Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) for second. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) remains the maillot jaune.
The escapees of the day wasted little time in absenting themselves from the peloton. At two km, Mickael Delage (Francaise des Jeux), Niki Terpstra (Quick Step), Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun), Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis), and Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) sallied off of the front. Europcar chased halfheartedly, and HTC-Highroad took over from the French squad to peg the lead at about three minutes.
Slowly, the bunch reeled in the break. The gap fell from 2:42 with 98 km left, to 2:00 with 64 km to go, to less than a minute with 20 km left. With 22 km left, Ignatiev attacked and Terpstra followed.
With 15 km left, the two remaining fugitives led the peloton by 0:38. With four km to go, Terpstra and Ignatiev were 0:13 ahead of the field. The latter sat up, but the former kept going. One km later, 0:07 separated the peloton from Terpstra.
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) burst out of the bunch and overtook Terpstra. Anthony Roux (Francaise des Jeux) and Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) followed the Belgian. Lampre-ISD and HTC-Highroad rode down the escapees. HTC-Highroad led the field into the last km.
Lampre-ISD, Sky, and Garmin-Cervelo fought HTC-Highroad for control of the peloton but lost. With 200 m left, Cavendish charged into the lead and held off Farrar and Petacchi for the win.
In the overall, Voeckler leads Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) by 1:49 and Cadel Evans (BMC) by 2:06. Tomorrow will be the 2011 Tour's second rest day. The riders and teams will formulate strategy for the race's final week. Only four minutes separate the first seven contenders.
The Alps will sort out matters, but two transitional stages will occur first. The first of these, Stage 16, will be a 191.5-km ride from Gap, France to Pinerolo, Italy. The stage will be hilly, and the Category 2 Cote de Pra Martino, the summit of which is only eight km from the finish, could be the scene of some GC contenders attempting to steal seconds from their competitors. Who will be in the break? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and www.roadcycling.mobi to find out!