2010 Tour de France – Stage 11 News and Notes

| by Sports Nickel

97th Tour de France

Stage 11 – Sisteron to Bourg-Les-Valence – 184.5 km (114.4 mi)

15 July 2010


The hunt for the yellow jersey, already fairly reduced to a two-man race, took a backseat yet again as the speedsters of the peloton cranked out a chaotic bunch sprint. Emerging at the head of the pack to claim his third stage victory of 2010 and the 13th of his still-burgeoning career was Mark Cavendish (Columbia). In winning lucky number 13, Cavendish overtook the all-time record for sprint stage wins from a trio of legends — McEwen, Mario Cipollini and his mentor Erik Zabel — in just the fourth Tour the 25-year-old British rider has raced.

But after commissaires relegated his lead-out man, Mark Renshaw, to the rear of the field and ejected him from the race, Cavendish is going to have one hell of a fight from here on out at the Tour. After all, in a sprint there are few cyclists who can freelance their way to the finish. Cipollini was the one whose Saeco days heralded in the era of the long train leading out a sprint for their leader to finish off in the final few hundred meters. Cavendish is no McEwen, able to parasitically cling to other teams’ wheels in the run to the line. This expulsion might prove terribly costly in the final nine stages for the Manxman.

What prompted this drastic move from the race organizers? In a move reminiscent of Robbie McEwen’s treatment of compatriot Stuart O’Grady in Stage 3 of the 2005 Tour, Renshaw cleared space for his teammate by using his head — but not what’s inside that skull — to headbutt fellow lead-out man Julian Dean (Garmin) three times. The tactic thankfully resulted in no crashes, but to compound the grievances Renshaw then drifted into the line of Dean’s teammate Tyler Farrar and blocked him from contending the finish.


The sprint’s biggest loser, though, would be neither Renshaw, Farrar or Dean but defending green jersey Thor Hushovd (Cervelo). The Norwegian donned the green to begin the day’s stage, but with a slim seven-point lead over Stage 1 and Stage 4 winner Alessandro Petacchi (Liquigas) he could not afford to cede any ground in the fight. Yet cede he did, finishing just seventh to Petacchi’s second and losing the maillot vert by just four points’ difference. It shouldn’t be a fatal loss — after all Hushovd, the best of the sprinters in the climbs, could easily be in a group further at the front tomorrow than the caboose that most other points men will be riding. If he makes such a move, the green should be back on his shoulders heading into the weekend.

Petacchi, though, long one of the most dominant riders in one-day races and at the Giro d’Italia, is finally enjoying his moment in the sun after so many setbacks in many a July in the past. Fully back to top form after being made to sit twelve months for overuse of the asthma inhaler (active ingredient: salbutamol) for which he has had a therapeutic use exemption all his career, Petacchi seems determined to make the most of the limited time left in his career. His two stage wins so far were dominant displays of his top-end speed, testament to his continued presence as one of the fastest men ever to turn the pedals in a bike race.

After another day that saw the GC contenders take a second straight siesta stage, the focus now shifts to the rare sight of the Massif Central taking the spotlight before the Pyrenees. There will be opportunities for the vigilant dark-horse contender to really challenge the Saxo/Astana hierarchy… if they actually deign to take them. We could easily see things stay together, further fortifying the status quo and consolidating Contador and Schleck’s constrictor-like grip on the top of the overall classification and giving guys like Hushovd a chance to regain preeminent position in the other jersey competitions.

Or, if they choose to take the sage advice of veteran Velonews correspondent John Wilcockson, we might just see a breakaway rupture everything we thought we knew. At the Giro d’Italia this spring, something similar to this scenario unfolded when the GC was turned on its head by a massive split in the main field. On Stage 11, 53 riders got away and managed to completely rewrite the leaderboard by the end of the longest day of the Giro, leaving leaders like Cadel Evans and Alexander Vinokourov and Ivan Basso in their dusty wake. With the Pyrenees favoring Contador and Schleck, the other teams must get creative if they are to have any hope of snagging the maillot jaune away from Astana and Saxo Bank’s clutches. Perhaps we’ll see another power play like the ONCE team engineered in 1995, when Laurent Jalabert worked his way into the top three in the GC and won on Bastille Day.

After all, a guy like Wilcockson may not have won the Tour de France, but over his four decades at the forefront of English-language print media for professional cycling he’s seen plenty of moves either win or lose the race for others. Passive riding is ultimately going to yield passive movement in the general classification. To summit the pinnacle of the sport one must take risks and attack — to be the leader, you can’t follow the leader…


1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC – Columbia 4:42:29  
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
3 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin – Transitions    
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne    
5 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha    
6 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bbox Bouygues Telecom    
7 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team    
8 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
9 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
10 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram    



1 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 53:43:25  
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:00:41  
3 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:02:45  
4 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:02:58  
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:03:31  
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:03:59  
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:04:22  
8 Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:04:41  
9 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:05:08  
10 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:05:09  



1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 161 pts
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team 157  
3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha 138  
4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC – Columbia 132  
5 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 122  
6 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 101  
7 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team 96  
8 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram 87  
9 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin – Transitions 79  
10 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 74  



1 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step 92 pts
2 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 90  
3 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne 62  
4 Mario Aerts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 58  
5 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 56  
6 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 50  
7 Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 47  
8 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux 43  
9 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 40  
10 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 36  



1 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 53:43:25  
2 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:04:22  
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:05:11  
4 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 0:30:18  
5 Julien El Farès (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne 0:30:29  
6 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Footon-Servetto 0:39:10  
7 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 0:40:40  
8 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank 0:50:42  
9 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:51:08  
10 Arkaitz Duran Daroca (Spa) Footon-Servetto 0:52:19  

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