Cavendish Wins Stage 11 of Tour
Mark Cavendish (HTC) has won his third stage of the 2010 Tour de France.
Mark Cavendish (HTC) has won his third stage of the 2010 Tour de France. Cavendish took a bunch sprint to win Stage 11, a downhill, 184.5-km run from Sisteron to Bourg-les-Valence, in 4:42:29. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) outsprinted Tyler Farrar (Garmin) for second. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) remains the maillot jaune.
Jose-Alberto Benitez (Footon), Anthony Geslin (Francaise des Jeux), and Stephane Auge (Cofidis) made the break of the day. The three escaped at four km and led by 3:40 at 12 km. At the summit of the day's only climb, the Category 3 Col de Cabre, the trio led the field by 2:17.
For a time, the escapees' lead yoyoed between 1:30 and 2:00. At 114 km, Garmin and HTC began to chase tentatively, and the gap dropped to 1:30.
With 40 km left and the lead down to 1:00, Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne) and two other riders attempted to bridge up to the break, but the field reeled them in. The bunch was within 0:30 of the break with 30 km to go but took its time reeling in the fugitives. The peloton did so seven km later.
RadioShack took over at the front. Jeremy Roy and Anthony Roux (both from Francaise des Jeux) attacked and were reeled in. Saxo Bank then took command.
With eight km left, Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) attacked, but Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack) took his wheel. HTC took over at the front.
With five km remaining, Lampre began to challenge HTC for control of the field. Garmin, Rabobank, and Milram moved up to the front. HTC led the peloton into the last km. Julian Dean (Garmin) led teammate Farrar to the front. Mark Renshaw, Cavendish's leadout man, headbutted the New Zealander three times and then pushed Farrar into the barriers. Cavendish charged into the lead and won.
After the stage, the race jury reviewed the finish. Initially, Renshaw was declassed. Afterward, he was disqualified from the Tour.
In the overall, Schleck leads Alberto Contador (Astana) by 0:41 and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) by 2:45. Stage 12 will not change this state of affairs. The rugged, 210.5-km ride from Bourg-de-Peage to Mende will feature three Category 3 climbs and two Category 2 ascents. It seems tailor-made for a breakaway. Who will be in it? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!