Cavendish wins in Valence. Renshaw heads home after head-butt.


Renshaw headed home from Tour.

The World Cup isn’t over, it’s just called the Tour de France.

HTC-Columbia’s Mark Renshaw executed several perfect headers — only the ball was Julian Dean’s face. The lead out man for Mark Cavendish gave his sprinter a strong lead-out, just a little too forceful, make that illegal.

It was Australia versus New Zealand, HTC-Columbia against Garmin-Transitions. The last few days of high heat certainly didn’t keep tempers from flaring. Renshaw made sure Cavendish got his 13th win and earned himself a boot from the Tour.

You think Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador aren’t the best of pals? Not much compares to the animosity between Bob Stapelton’s team and the Argyle army of Jonathan Vaughters. It’s like a mean-spirited Hillbilly fued, the Hatfields and the McCoys. Wouldn’t suprise me if Vaughters is googling “Valence, France, gunshop” right now.

During last year’s tour Cavendish dumped all over Tyler Farrar, claiming the American wasn’t in the same speed zone as he and Alessandro Petacchi. Later, when HTC-Columbia’s George Hincapie had a chance to take his first yellow jersey, the Garmin team rode hard enough to help erase those hopes.

Renshaw is probably lucky that Garmin’s Robbie Hunter crashed out of the tour yesterday. Hunter is the kind of guy who’d just get off his bike at the finish, walk over, and flatten Renshaw with his fist.

Now Twisted Spoke has never been a UCI jury member but we have to ask the question: why punish the leadout man but still allow Cavendish to keep the win? This seems like allowing the bank robber to leave with the million dollars but throwing the getaway car driver in jail for double parking.

One thing is for sure in this head-to-head combat: Garmin will be landing the next blow. Just a heads up on that one.

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  • joepappillon

    Why punish the leadout man and not Cavendish? Because in this case Cav' isn't to blame (although he benefited from the illegal, unfair, dangerous, and shifty tactics of his right-hand man).

    To have punished Cavendish would have been just as unfair as the disgraceful riding of Mark Renshaw. Thus, the jury took the only decision it could – booting Renshaw from the race.

    As Farrar wryly noted after the finish, before news of Renshaw's ejection began to circulate, what would have been the impact of declassifying Renshaw from 30th to 90th? There wouldn't have been an effect, of course, other than to reinforce such dishonorable behavior.

    And so in a rare show of strength and character, the race jury told Renshaw to sprint for the hills and get the hell out of the Tour de France!

  • TR

    Renshaw deserved the boot not only for the head butts, but more seriously to me was his glance over his left shoulder at Tyler and then rode him into tne boards. Renshaw gave a weak defense in interview. Hats off to Farrar and Dean for staying cool in their post race interviews. The war within the States will be interesting down the road.

    • I'm said that Tyler and Dean never really got a chance to put it together against Cavendish. A shame. Matt

  • robert

    Sorry, TW, but you're wrong. The head butt may have looked bad and may have relegated both Renshaw and Dean (for straying off his line and into Renshaw), but the ejection was for Renshaw's attempt to block Farrar from passing him on the left after he pulled off. Listen to Farrar's interview immediately after the sprint and watch the video as Farrar has to put his hand out to keep Dean from cutting him off and into the barriers.

  • Neil

    Yes Joe – “rare” indeed! For a guy who has never been in any trouble for his sprinting to be rubbed out for defending his line in a way for which no one has ever been rubbed out before (i.e. headbutting, according to Pescheux) that is. As for strength and courage this is ALL about penalising Cav.

    • I would have been tempted to relegate Cavendish also since he profited from Renshaw's actions.