It’s the Mark Cavendish show!
The Manx Missile joins the legends with today’s stage win. But, there’s a bit of controversy surrounding it.
If there’s two teams that do not like each other, it’s Garmin and HTC. Today, the battle, and accusations, commenced again. In a ho-hum day that saw the peloton ride by lavender fields, sunflower fields, and through white wine country, the fireworks went off in the final km of the stage.
It was another hot, hot day on the Tour. And things were really going by slowly. After the break was caught, the sprinter teams took over. At about 1km from the line, there were two teams on front–Garmin and HTC. I saw the lead man for Garmin–Julian Dean–slide slightly into the line of Mark Renshaw (HTC). In response, Renshaw proceeded to head but Dean out of the way. Renshaw hit Dean with his helmet–like a head-butt–something like 3-4 times to get Dean off his line. After that, Renshaw appeared to drift off his line, and into the line of Tyler Farrar. For those actions, Renshaw has been booted from the tour.
Now, let’s make one thing clear: Renshaw’s actions whether purposeful or by accident, take nothing away from Cavendish who literally rode, on a slight uphill, everyone off his wheel from 350 out. Nobody was close. It was impressive. Cavandish is definitely back and looking for Green, and vengeance, but probably vengeance first, then Green.
It seems to me that if Renshaw is getting booted, Dean should have some sanction as well. All for naught, though, as the judges have made their decision. Dean escapes, and Cavendish’s best lead out man is gone from the rest of the Tour.
Below you’ll find the video, which you have to see to get the sense of the problems on the ride up to the finish. One thing to note today is that the peloton was moving near the finish–they were cruising in at over 4s mph. Think about that for a minute. They were flying. There is not a lot of room for error at such speeds. If one person moves off his line, he could cause serious damage to people and bikes.
Tyler Farrar was, to put it mildly, mad. He blamed Renshaw for trying to put him into the boards. I highly doubt Renshaw was doing that. Farrar really had no chance to win the stage today. Cavendish is too talented a sprinter at the moment.
The civil war between the American teams is back on. Garmin loathes HTC, and HTC loathes Garmin.