HTC-Columbia rider Mark Cavendish won his third sprint on the Tour de France this year after taking Stage 11 in Bourg-les-Valence this afternoon, while Mark Renshaw was officially disqualified out of the race due to his head butting malpractice during 5km closing run.
Julian Dean was paving the way for Tyler Farrar’s first win of the Tour to no avail. Farrar was still nursing a broken hand sustained at Stage 3 and has to settle for third. Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre-Farnese Vini placed second.
Cavendish put himself back as a contender for the points competition as Petacchi wears the green jersey. Thor Hushovd of Cervelo TestTeam took the seventh place.
Mark Cavendish took his 13th win of the Tour de France when he won Stage 11 and is now 29 points behind Petacchi. He is going to force his luck in the remaining race in Revel on Friday and in Bordeaux a week after. He will continue his bid for the win up to Champs-Elysees, the last leg of the race in Paris a week on Sunday.
Anthony Geslin of Francais des leux and Stephane Auge of Cofidis along with Jose Benitez of Spain led off to pace the front of the peloton this morning in Sisteron to end the neutralized open of the 184.5km stage. At the major climb, the Category 3 Col de Cabre, the three failed to maintain the 5 minute advantage as the breakaways caught up with them with about 20km to go in the race.
At the remaining kilometers, the temperature rose at 30 degrees Celsius posing additional challenge for the riders, Sylvain Chavanel of Quick Step began his tactical assault off the front of the race and was joined by Yaroslav Popovych of RadioShack. With 8km to go, Berhard Eisel at the front of HTC-Columbia team eliminated the threat by quickly closing the gap.
Jeremy Hunt of Cervelo TestTeam made his move up to the front backing up Hushovd at the closing 5km run of the race and as he made an opening, Petacchi came to the fore instead. Passing through flame rouge, HTC-Columbia and Garmin-Transitions were at each others neck.
In the process, Julian Dean took a lane from Mark Renshaw which resulted to Dean sustaining head butt injuries courtesy of the Australian, Renshaw as he deliberately tried to derail Farrar into the barriers as he sped pass. Race official Jean-Francois Pescheux immediately disqualified Renshaw and kicked him off the race for good.