Cavendish Snares Stage 10 of 2009 Tour
Mark Cavendish (Columbia) has won his third stage of the 2009 Tour. The Manxman took a bunch sprint to win Stage 10, a flat, 194.5-km run from Limoges to Issoudun, in 4:46:43. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) outsprinted Tyler Farrar (Garmin) for second. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) remains the maillot jaune.
The stage was the first of two "no radio" stages in the 2009 Tour. The riders were unanimous in their displeasure, but the UCI would have its way.
Four riders--Benoit Vaugrenard (Francaise des Jeux), Thierry Hupond (Skil), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis)--took an early flier and led the field by one minute at 13 km. By 32 km, the quartet led by nearly 4:00. Then, the peloton woke up.
Ag2r and Rabobank began to chase, and the bunch cut the break's lead to 2:50 by 45 km. With 77 km remaining, Columbia, Garmin, Liquigas, and Astana were adding muscle to the pursuit, and the gap had fallen to 1:30.
With 30 km to go, the peloton upped the pace and shaved a minute from the break's lead. Ten km later, the escapees led by just 0:30. They fought hard, but with four km left, the bunch could see the break. Ignatiev attacked his companions, but they reeled him in. Hupond had a go and was brought back as well. With two km left, the bunch absorbed the break.
Columbia took over at the front, and Hushovd and Farrar fought for position at the end of the American squad's train. With 200 m left, Cavendish surged into the lead, and the others had no answer.
In the overall, Nocentini leads Alberto Contador (Astana) by 0:06 and Lance Armstrong (Astana) by 0:08. Stage 11 will not change this state of affairs. The rolling, 192-km run from Vatan to Saint-Fargeau is not challenging enough to prevent another bunch sprint. Will Cavendish win again, or will Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Farrar, or Hushovd steal a moment in the sun? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!