Sprinters fall by the wayside on short mountain stage
Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel have been eliminated from the 2018 Tour de France after failing to make the time cut on Wednesday’s tough mountain stage between Albertville and La Rosière.
Cavendish was dropped on the very first climb of the day, the Montée de Bisanne, and was forced to climb the Col du Pré alone nearly half an hour behind the front of the race after team-mates Mark Renshaw and Jay Robert Thomson left him in order to try and make the time cut themselves.
The two sprinters only narrowly avoided elimination on stage 10 of the race as he came home in a small group of riders just 28 seconds inside the time limit.
However there was going to be no repeat of that on Wednesday’s stage, and with the time cut set at 31-27 after the finish of stage winner Geraint Thomas, Kittel crossed the line 42-51 in arrears while Cavendish finished more than an hour behind Thomas.
There was also for Mark Renshaw, who had left Cavendish earlier in the day, also missing the cut. There was also a dramatic finish for Katusha-Alpecin‘s Rick Zabel, who sprinted across the line only to miss the time cut by four seconds before commissaires took mercy on the German and allowed him to stay in the race.
Watch: Tour de France stage 11 highlights
This is the fifth time that Cavendish has failed to finish the Tour de France. In his debut Tour in 2007 he made it as far as the end of the first week before abandoning on stage seven, which coincidentally also climbed the Cormet de Roselend.
He also pulled out of the 2016 Tour to prepare for the Olympic games, while his other two abandons were as a result of crashes, coming in 2014 when he crashed on British roads at the end of stage one in Harrogate, and in 2017 when he was brought down in a coming together with Peter Sagan at the end of stage four in Vittel, an incident that saw Sagan disqualified from the race.