When told in a post-race interview that some people doubted he could win today's stage due to a slight uphill over the final kilometer, Mark Cavendish looked surprised. It wasn't a mountaintop finish, after all.
The Team Columbia-HTC sprinter stuck to the script in Saint-Fargeau, following leadout men George Hincapie and then Mark Renshaw before turning on the jets to take Stage 11. It is his fourth stage win of this Tour and eighth of his career, a mark which ties him with Barry Hoban for the most Tour victories by a British cyclist.
After an early two-man breakaway was finally caught with about five kilometers to go, the sprinters' teams began to mass at the front. Columbia-HTC was in control with 4K to the line, but Team Milram began to come to the front to set up Gerald Ciolek as the peloton passed the 2K mark.
When the course began to rise slightly inside the final kilometer, Cavendish's teammate Tony Martin moved to front. But Hincapie took the reigns of the leadout, followed by Renshaw and Cavendish. In the closing meters, Cavendish, Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar were at one point shoulder to shoulder. But Hushovd couldn't hang on and Farrar, who made a move to pass Cavendish, could only keep pace about a wheel length behind as the two charged to the line.
The win awarded Cavendish enough sprint points to pass Hushovd in the green jersey standings, 176 to 169. There was no change to the overall classification. Tomorrow's stage from Tonnerre to Vittel has a similar uphill run to the finish.
A woman waves the French flag on Bastille Day as the pack passes through Montgivray during Stage 10.
AP Photo/Christophe Ena
Stage 11 Results
- Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia-HTC – 4:17:55
- Tyler Farrar – Garmin-Slipstream +00:00
- Yauheni Hutarovich – Francaise des Jeux +00:00
- Oscar Freire – Rabobank +00:00
- Thor Hushovd – Cervelo TestTeam +00:00
- Leonardo Duque – Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne +00:00
- Gerald Ciolek – Team Milram +00:00
- Lloyd Mondory – Ag2r-La Mondiale +00:00
- William Bonnet – Bbox Bouygues Telecom +00:00
- Nicolaï Trussov – Team Katusha +00:00
Other U.S. Riders
54. Lance Armstrong – Astana +00:00
55. Christian Vande Velde – Garmin-Slipstream +00:00
64. Danny Pate – Garmin-Slipstream +00:00
70. Levi Leipheimer – Astana +00:15
82. George Hincapie – Team Columbia-HTC +00:00
161. David Zabriskie – Garmin-Slipstream +00:38
- Rinaldo Nocentini – Ag2r-La Mondiale – 39:11:04
- Alberto Contador – Astana +00:06
- Lance Armstrong – Astana +00:08
- Levi Leipheimer – Astana +00:39
- Bradley Wiggins – Garmin-Slipstream +00:46
192K (119.3 miles) - July 15, 2009
• Both towns are hosting the Tour for the first time
• With a population of only 1,800, Saint-Fargeau is this year's smallest host
• Sprint Points at: Quincy, Saint-Ceols, Suilly-la-Tour
• Mountain Passes: Cote d'Allogny located 45.5 kilometers - 1.5km climb to 4.5 percent grade - Category 4; Cote de Perreuse at 150km - 2km climb to 4.6 percent - Cat. 4
Image courtesy of www.letour.com
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