Mark Cavendish was once again docked 20 points in the green jersey competition for finishing outside the time limit today. But as the Briton’s main rival Jose Rojas was with him in the bunch of 82 riders, he holds on to his 15 point lead in the competition.
With the winner Pierre Rolland finishing in 3:13.25hrs at an average speed of 33,8km/h the time limit was set at 13%, meaning the peloton had to finish in a time of 3:38.34hrs. They eventually finished in 3:38.52hrs, just 18 seconds out.
With that many riders there was no danger of anyone being eliminated, but for the second day they did dock them all 20 points in the green jersey competition. With Rojas also losing points Cavendish maintained his narrow lead.
Third place Philippe Gilbert did benefit as he was 1.24 minutes ahead in a group of three (including former KOM leader Jelle Vanendert) and so effectively gained 15 points in the competition. The Belgian trails Cavendish by 50 points, so while it’s still mathmatically possible for him to win, it is highly unlikely.
Straight after today’s stage, Cavendish reminded reporters that he still has the time trial to get round inside the time limit before he can worry about winning in Paris. “Some guys fighting for yellow will have to go for it, but most guys will just roll through. We still have to go hard because it’s a hard tt. And I’ve got to do it without Bernie this time, so that’s going to be difficult.”
Today’s tactics were simple enough for Cavendish. “The top of the Telegraph was my finish line,” he said. “I Just had to get there with those guys and then it settled up the Galibier. We rode up the Galibier at a nice tempo. Down to Alp d’Huez and then tempo up there.”
“Yesterday was the hardest bike race I’ve ever done in my life. 88 guys finished in my group yesterday. That’s over half the peloton. So half the peloton finished outside the time limit. I think that speaks for itself.”
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