Mark Cavendish took his second stage win of this year’s Tour de France in Chateauroux this afternoon at the end of a contrasting day for the Brits.
Cavendish beat Alessandro Petacchi and Andre Greipel in a frantic sprint finish, but the day was overshadowed by a crash which forced Bradley Wiggins to retire from the Tour with a broken collar bone.
Wiggins was in the middle of a crash that happened at around 38km to go. As other picked themselves up and carried on he remained sat on the road, clutching his left arm to his body. The race doctor immediately diagnosed a broken collar bone. Wiggins was taken to the nearest hospital by ambulance for xrays.
Speaking after the stage, Cavendish admitted that he wasn’t aware of the bad luck which felled his countryman.
“I’m gutted for him, really gutted for him. We could have bought home the green and yellow jersey, I’ve never seen him in such good form.” Cavendish said.
The Manxman was full of praise for his HTC-Highroad team-mates, who helped him win his 17 Tour stage on the same finish that he took his first Tour stage win on in 2008.
“This is the one I wanted to win, this one and Paris. The camera shots speak from themselves, I’m so proud of them today, they were phenomenal.” Cavendish now sits in equal eighth in the all time list of Tour stage winners alongside Jean Alavoine. Eddy Merckx leads with 34 stage wins.
“(Mario) Cipo(llini) made comments this week saying that I didn’t respect other riders, but there’s no respect out there (Jose Ivan) Gutierrez tried pushing me off Mark’s (Renshaw) wheel.”
“We have so much respect for this race, that’s why we bring the strongest team and I’m so proud of what they did for me,” added Cavendish.
The win moved him up to third place in the green jersey competition, just 17 points behind Jose Rojas who moves back in to the lead. Today was especially difficult for the sprinters as the intermediate sprint came with just 25.5km to go.
Although the break of four swept up the first places Cavendish easily won the sprint for third ahead of Rojas and Gilbert. Tyler Farrar didn’t contest either sprint after crashing in the same accident as Wiggins.
There was plenty of bad luck spread throughout the field, however. Radioshack’s torrid time continued, with Horner badly caught up in the crash and losing 12-41. Leipheimer punctured towards the end, too, and lost over a minute.
Klöden is the only one of the four Radioshack leaders who remains in a strong position. Brajkovic retired on stage five and Leipheimer has now lost time on two days in succession.
Tour de France 2011, stage seven: Le Mans – Chateauroux, 218km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad 5-38-53hrs
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
3. Andrea Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma Lotto
4. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil
5. William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
6. Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha
7. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Garmin-Cervelo
8. Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Europcar
9. Jose Rojas (Esp) Movistar
10. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale all at same time
18. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervelo
128. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 3-06 min
145. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky at same time
DNF Bradley Wiggins (Gbr) Team Sky
General Classification after stage six
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Garmin-Cervelo28-29-27hrs
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at
3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek
4. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervelo
5. Andréas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek
7. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek
8. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad
9. Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
38. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 3-18 min
59. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad 6-06 min
70. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky at 6-56 min
Mark Cavendish takes his second 2011 Tour stage win
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