TOUR: Rider says he has always been safe sprinter
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.
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.