Thursday, July 15, 2010

Battle To The Line: Stage 11

Son-of-a-bitch!!!! The sprint in today's Stage 11 was about as good as it gets!! The run in was at 63kph/ 39 MPH and then they really ramped it up!! Tyler Farrar's lead-out man Julian Dean leaned on Mark Renshaw as Renshaw led out Mark Cavendish in the final straight. Renshaw gave him a few good head butts just before Cavendish lit 'em up from for his third win of this Tour. It was really a long sprint for Cavendish, but he has definitely hushed his critics. He simply will not be beaten if he can get a clear shot at the finish line. I really want to see Tyler Farrar win a stage, but I have love the banty roosters like Robbie McEwen and Cavendish.
And now, Renshaw has been thrown out of the Tour!!!! I just have to throw the bullshit flag on that one! This was a battle for position between two of the best lead-out men in the business and Renshaw has a great reputation for riding clean. Heads and shoulders are generally accepted contact so long as the hands remain on the bars, which they were. Had Renshaw given ground, he would have been in the barriers and could have cut off his own man's run to the line. A few years ago, Robbie McEwen head-hooked countryman Stuart O'Grady on a sprint, a much more clear-cut and egregious case of interference as both were going for the win. McEwen was relegated to last place in the stage, but not thrown out of the race. Perhaps the race officials are trying to level the field, but Renshaw's punishment, and subsequently that of Columbia-HTC and Mark Cavendish, far outweighs the offense.
Many folks seem to support the decision to punish Renshaw, but I think it goes much too far.
Check it out on Velocenter highlights:

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