Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cavendish Wins Again

Photo credit © Roberto Bettini
I know that it would not be fair or any more exciting to put all the sprint stages first and then all the mountain stages at the end of the Tour de France.  It just seems that the flat stages lose their excitement after the first round of climbs, yet the finish of these stages are usually the most exciting in the Tour.  Stage 11 was a prime example.  The only unknown at the start of the stage is whether a break will succeed and 90% of all breaks do not.  What is known is that there will be a break away and that they will be allowed to stay away until somewhere in the last 10 km and that there will be a mad sprint at the finish line and, of course, that Mark Cavendish will win. The strategy, timing of lead outs and the mad dash for the line are as good as it gets. The first four hours of the stage are about as boring as it gets.
Added excitement was introduced today when Mark Renshaw gave new meaning to "using your head" to gain advantage in the sprint.  Unfortunately, race officials disqualified Renshaw for head butting and veering off line to block Tyler Farrar.  I think the disqualification (kicked out of Tour) was too severe. A fine and being relegated to last place would have sufficed.  On the up side, Cavendish without Renshaw as lead out, may, I'll say again 'may,' even things out at the finish, especially on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
There were no changes again in the General Classification, but Thor Hushovd was unable to hold on to his Green Jersey after finishing 7th to Alessandro Petacchi's 2nd.  In a pre-race interview Thor affirmed he would not be taking any chances in a sprint finish and that staying near the top will enable him to hold on to the jersey.  Well Thor, I bet you'll be taking chances now!
Prediction for stage 12:  Five climbs with a short Cat 2 near the finish will leave the sprinters in the rear.  If a break is not allowed to hold it's lead, look for Thor Hushovd to make it over the climbs and regain the Green Jersey. May be a good day for Team Radio Shack to allow either Andreas Kloden or Chris Horner to go with the break.  There are a lot of mountain points at stake, so a dual between Jerome Pineau and Anthony Charteau may evolve.  If so, look for Charteau to regain the Polka Dot Jersey on the last climb.

Results - stage 11:
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 (ESP) 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

11 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

12 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Sky Professional Cycling Team

13 Oscar Freire (ESP) Rabobank

14 Ruben Perez Moreno (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi

15 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi

16 Luke Roberts (AUS) Team Milram

17 Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R La Mondiale

18 Kevin De Weert (BEL) Quick Step

19 Egoi Martinez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi

20 Danilo Hondo (GER) Lampre-Farnese Vini

Point Standings (Green Jersey)
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 (ESP) 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

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