HTC-Highroad’s Mark Cavendish lost out twice today on the Tour de France’s stage to Redon. He was disqualified from the intermediate sprint and blocked in the final metres to the finish.

“I tried to [follow team] Garmin, fighting with [José] Rojas, but the Kamikaze, [Romain] Feillu came flying in in the last corner, I got tangled and thought I was going to crash,” Cavendish explained to the press at the team bus.

“I went full gas and gained back those metres. I gained points and showed my form.”

Team Garmin-Cervélo’s sprinter, Tyler Farrar won and Cavendish took fifth on day three, the Tour’s first sprint stage. Farrar gained 45 points for first place, Cavendish took 22 points for fifth.

Cavendish also placed sixth, first behind a five-man escape at the intermediate sprint 104 kilometres into the 198-kilometre stage. The race jury, though, disqualified him and race leader, Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) for leaning on each other leading to the line in Saint-Hilaire-de-Chaléons.

The official race jury press release referred to irregular sprinting, article Cavendish heard about the decision after the HTC bus pulled away from the dusty parking lot and the international journalists.

“Just discovered Thor and I have been disqualified from the intermediate sprint today,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “Seriously, no idea why?!”

HTC-Highroad’s sports director, Valerio Piva explained that the team’s strategy was to sprint for the valuable points on offer mid-way through the stage. Cavendish skipped them in past Tours, but this year’s rule change forced a new approach.

“If you have those points available, why not? You never know what will happen in the next days,” Piva told Cycling Weekly. “You don’t win the green jersey with those places, but you can lose it if you let the points go day after day.”

He added that Cavendish’s first objective is to win the stage.

“We may need to re-think our train and follow the others,” Piva continued. “Of course, everyone knows we are strong and they try to disorganise us.”

HTC’s Bernhard Eisel, Tony Martin, Matt Goss and then Mark Renshaw led Cavendish into Redon.

“The form is there and the team is strong,” Cavendish said. “I felt good. You could see how I pulled them back in the last 500 metres. I couldn’t win it, but I managed to keep in contention for the green jersey.”

Without the jury’s post-stage decision, would have had 10 extra points. He’ll have to continue his focus on intermediate sprints and stage wins to put himself back into contention for the green jersey.

“None of us did anything wrong, they shouldn’t look into this,” Hushovd told Norwegian press after meeting with the jury.

Hushovd felt bad they were taking valuable green jersey points from Cavendish.

“I even offered to take all the blame and punishment.”

Tour de France 2011: Related links

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

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  • arronski

    Here we go again, cycling get’s more like F1 everyday !

  • Paul G

    What annoys me, is the fact that last year in the Giro, there were people kicking each other; hitting each other with wheels; even Evans threw punches… nothing happened… yet in the greatest race in the world they refer to perhaps the most bigoted officials they can find. Carlton Kirby hit the nail on the head i think, when he said they were probably ex racers who weren’t good enough, so they are probably jealous of talent. Nobody can tell me that decision was about safety: no way.

  • Richard

    I’m really trying to take this year’s, and last year’s, commissaires’ decisions objectively. BUT, actions speak louder than intentions. It seems to me that the only objective conclusion to draw for Cav’s disqualifications is that he had the sheer audacity to be born in an English speaking nation; and WORSE the UK. How dare he presume to do so well in a race which only French, Italian or Spanish riders are supposed to do well.

    Perhaps the Tour/UCI are just smarting at the UK having all 5 of our riders in the top 23: including 2nd in the GC and the 1st in the young rider…..

  • arronski

    Here we go again pathetic ! French commissars are a disgrace !

  • Cavologuardi

    Tapping ASO pen judiciously on clipboard: today Chav has been disqualified for… I don’t know… non-approved use of dental veneers… yes, that will do… he has been relegated to last place on the stage… and has to lick clean Petacchi’s bib shorts.

  • Ken W

    First the rule change for the Green Jersey and fewer sprint stages
    Now this, have to agree with Mike

    And after Rensheaw’s disqualifacation last year,
    why wasn’t Feillu kicked out? He almost caused a crash!

  • Steve Crosby

    Have these commissaires ever ridden a bike. There is worse than this happens on our club run

  • Steve R

    Dangerous precident being set by the coms. here. We’ve all seen far worse pass off without comment or sanction. Does this mean that every ‘racing incident’ is going to be studied and judged? I hope we aren’t seeing a move to formula one style micro marshalling by race officials. If a cyclist makes a complaint about the behavior of another, that’s one thing, but this simply looks like prejudicial officialdom to me.

  • katie

    Given the farce regarding the UCI inspection of bikes prior to the TT and now this it just shows that we have rank amateurs in positions way over their capabilities. Looks like the Blazer Brigade are alive and kicking
    It would be good to see these idiots CV’s with regard to competative cycling.
    Maybe the dope controls needs to catch these dopes !!

  • Simon E

    Hushovd (who has been generous in his comments above) appeared to lean on him as the rounded a left hander, so what was Mark supposed to do?

    Without being partisan it does look like the commissaires are looking for a reason to give him and his team a hard time.

  • Anthony Slack

    No-one else involved. A gentle leaning on each other. No complaints. No-one else anywhere near them. Greatest sporting event of its kind, refereed by amateurs!

  • Mike

    Seems the Tour commisairs are determined Cavendish will not will the green jersey. If it wast so stupid it would be laughable.

  • Pablo Skils

    Had this incident involved Petacchi or Sebastian Hinault, I don’t think we’d have seen anybody docked sprint points.

  • Paul Heggie

    it was nothing-50-50-why do they come down so heavy on Mark every time?