Australian expelled for head-butt to opponent
Course director says penalty necessary for incident in final sprint
BOURG-LES-VALENCE, France — In the frenzied and dangerous mass sprints at the Tour de France, competitors often need to keep their heads.
Mark Renshaw decided to use his.
The Australian lead-out man for sprint specialist Mark Cavendish was kicked out of the race after head-butting a rival Thursday, which cleared a path for his British teammate to win his third stage at this year’s Tour.
“This is cycling. It’s not wrestling,” said course director JeanFrancois Pescheux, who called Renshaw’s aggressive tactics “flagrant” and the punishment necessary.
“There are rules to respect,” Pescheux said.
Andy Schleck of Luxembourg retained the yellow jersey and rode conservatively during the 114.6mile ride from Sisteron to Bourgles-Valence so that he could save his energy for tough climbs in the Pyrenees during the final week.
The 25-year-old race leader cruised into the finish in the main pack after riding part of the stage discussing a vacation with his main rival, defending champion Alberto Contador.
“It was quiet, and we can act like normal people,” Schleck said through a translator. “So we spoke about — we remembered — our holidays.”
Lance Armstrong, who has already ruled himself out of contention for the title, lost time for the second straight day. He finished in 114th place, 29 seconds behind the pack, and is 17:51 behind Schleck in 32nd place overall.
This stage had people talking about the finish.
With the sprinters’ teams barreling toward the finish at about 40 miles per hour, Renshaw rammed his head three times into the shoul-
Mark Renshaw Cyclist said he was surprised by race jury’s decision to disqualify him.