TOUR: Rider says he has al­ways been safe sprinter

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

der of Ju­lian Dean of New Zealand, the lead-out man for Amer­i­can sprinter Tyler Far­rar on Garmin-Tran­si­tions. It was an ap­par­ent bid to push Dean, who was then in the lead, out of the way dur­ing the fi­nal sprint.

Af­ter re­view­ing video of the fin­ish, the race jury said Ren­shaw was “re­moved from the com­pe­ti­tion for a par­tic­u­larly se­ri­ous case.”

“I’m ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed and also sur­prised,” Ren­shaw said. “I pride my­self on be­ing a very fair, safe and a straight-up sprinter, and never in my ca­reer have I re­ceived a fine or even a warn­ing.”

Af­ter the head-butts, which caused Dean to shake his head in ap­par­ent ex­as­per­a­tion, he ap­peared to sw­erve in front of Far­rar. That al­lowed Cavendish to spurt ahead in the fi­nal 300 me­ters, with Alessan­dro Pe­tac­chi of Italy in sec­ond and Far­rar in third.

“I only saw open space on my left. I had no idea Tyler Far­rar was there,” Ren­shaw said. “By no means would I ever put any of my fel­low riders in dan­ger.”

Cavendish rushed to Ren­shaw’s de­fense, al­leg­ing that Dean had tried to el­bow his team­mate.

“Mark used his head to get away,” Cavendish said. “There’s a risk when your el­bow’s that close (that) the bars are go­ing to tan­gle. That puts ev­ery­body be­hind in dan­ger. Mark gave us a bit of space, which kept ev­ery­body up­right.”

Cavendish, 25, one of the world’s top sprint­ers, took his third stage win in this year’s Tour and the 13th of his young ca­reer.

“They don’t need to ride like that,” said Far­rar, who is still look­ing for his first Tour stage win. “They need to think about the safety of ev­ery­body and let the fastest man win.”

Af­ter feel­ing three “hits” on his side, Dean said he was “a lit­tle bit as­tounded that this con­duct was tak­ing place,” and said he felt shaken as he crossed the line in 23rd place.

The two riders were al­most des­tined for an­tag­o­nism: Dean is from New Zealand, Ren­shaw from Aus­tralia; they’re both pi­lots, or lead­out men, for top sprint­ers; and their Amer­i­can teams have a sim­mer­ing ri­valry.

“Yeah, if you start mak­ing a list of the po­ten­tial op­po­sites, we have a lot,” Dean said.

Lau­rent Re­bours

Mark Cavendish of Bri­tain crosses the fin­ish line to win the 11th stage of the Tour de France on Thurs­day. Team­mate Mark Ren­shaw was kicked out of the race for head-butting an op­po­nent.

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