Cavendish Takes Stage 11 of Tour de France
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) has won his third stage of the 2011 Tour de France.
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) has won his third stage of the 2011 Tour de France. The Manx missile took a bunch sprint to win Stage 11, a rolling, 167.5-km run from Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur, in 3:46:07. Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) finished second, and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) finished third. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) remains the maillot jaune.
Rain greeted the riders. At 15 km, Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Lars Boom (Rabobank), Andriy Grivko (Astana), Mickael Delage (Francaise des Jeux), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), and Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) sallied off of the front. The escapees led the field by 4:25 at 33 km. HTC-Highroad and Europcar collaborated to peg the lead at about 3:30.
Several teams joined forces to bring back the break. With 82 km left, 2:50 separated bunch and break. As the finish line approached, HTC-Highroad, Sky, and Garmin-Cervelo chipped away at the fugitives' advantage. With 15 km remaining, the escapees' lead was down to 0:50.
The peloton approached slowly but inexorably. With five km left and the pursuit within 0:15 of the escape, Boom attacked and dropped his companions. The Dutchman never had a chance. The peloton reeled him in with two km left.
Garmin-Cervélo took over at the front and led the field into the last km. Sky took over, but Cavendish stole a march on both squads. The Manxman charged into the lead and held off Greipel and Farrar.
In the overall, Voeckler leads Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) by 1:49 and Cadel Evans (Team BMC) by 2:26. Stage 12 will change the standings. Voeckler is almost certain to lose the maillot jaune on the 211-km ride that will begin in Cugnaux and take the riders over the Category 1 La Hourquette d'Ancizan, the Hors Categorie Col du Tourmalet, and up the Hors Categorie ascent to the finish at Luz-Ardiden.
Many questions will be answered tomorrow. Are some of the GC contenders who were injured in crashes, such as Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank), and Andreas Kloden (RadioShack), too badly hurt to compete for a Tour victory? Does Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) have the form to win? Is Evans really ready to take the maillot jaune? For the answers to these questions and others, check in at www.roadcycling.com and www.roadcycling.mobi!
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