LE TOUR: Cavendish beaten into second place by Greipel

STAGE 10: After the rest day cames a shortish hilly stage, (100 miles)  where André Greipel of Omega Pharma-Lotto got the better of former teammate Mark Cavendish who was second with Geraint Thomas 9th. Cavendish’s Green jersey rival ,Thor Hushovd, was 4th.

The win by Greipel, who had a very successful Tour of Britain in 2010, was his first Tour de France stage victory and will only boost his confidence and hunger for more as the race gets going into the second half of the three week event. The bunch kick followed a stage where a break of six; Remy Di Gregorio, Arthur Vichot, Sebastien Minard, Julien El Fares, Marco Marcato, and Anthony Delaplace held the lead for much of the race until they were caught with around 10 miles to go.

What followed was a super aggressive end to the stage with the likes of Points leader Philippe Gilbert going off the front in a break as did GC contender Tony Martin and Britain’s David Millar too had a dig. The bunch though controlled by the sprinter teams, was having none of that however and they saw that the race to the line finished in a bunch sprint where Cavendish had to give best to Greipel in a very close finish where horsepower was king and speed finished second. Cav’s lack of team support in the final few hundred metres at the end could well be explained by a message on Twitter by Matt Goss who says “Bad day today upset stomach and was doing little cat spews for the last 60km of the stage, shame I couldn’t help Cav…”

Cavendish said later on Twitter, “Went with 250m to go, but didn’t ‘kick’ until 200m. Greipel rode it perfect & got speed by running up on me”

Then, speaking later on ITV, he explained how his teammate Bernhard Eisel helped him on the climb – “he kept the pace perfect for me on the climb and the peloton was becoming fragemented so I then used the guys coming past me to get back on. I wasn’t comfortable but I wasn’t about to be dropped either. We then had Tony Martin in the break so we didn’t have to chase that and then I had the guys around me to look after me until 1k to go”.

“I was then in third wheel, I was on Oss’s wheel, and I knew you couldn’t see the finish until 150, and it was a flat finish so I tried to go at 350 off his wheel. I went early which wasn’t too early on this type of finish but I didn’t commit early enough when I rolled around Oss on the  corner and kicked with 170 to go, Griepel came past me and beat me. I’m happy for him, he’s come here to the Tour de France and won but I’m dissapointed because I felt I made a mistake”.

“At least we’re making up ground for the Green Jersey. Maybe the intermediate sprints are dampening my kick, but I’d love to wear it in Paris”.

Thomas Voeckler continues to lead the race while the victim of a ‘hit and run’ on stage 9 by a French TV car, Johnny Hoogerland, finished the stage in 111th place in the same time as the rest of the field and continues to have the King of the Mountains jersey on his shoulders, five points ahead of the yellow jersey Voeckler. Geraint Thomas meanwhile is in fifth place in the White jersey competition and said after the stage on Twitter “Well, today was fast and furious!! Always seemed to bit a little too far back… Tomorrows another day!”

Team Sky Reactions

Xabier Zandio, Team Sky Rider: “I am really enjoying the Tour and so far things have been going well for me. I have been able to avoid a lot of the crashes and I also managed to get myself in a break a few days ago as well. It was nice to get that opportunity and when Flecha also joined us, I was able to do some good work for him.

“My original job in the team was to work for Bradley but now he has gone I will be working for Rigoberto, who we are hoping can do well in the white jersey competition. I was able to keep him out of trouble today and thankfully everything ran relatively smoothly.

“The racing here has been pretty hectic so far and really nervous. It’s unlike any other in that respect. We’re expecting it to come down to a sprint tomorrow so I will be watching out for Rigo again whilst the other guys try and set something up for either Edvald or Swifty. They are both looking really strong at the moment, and G as well, so it would be great to get another win. I hope we can achieve that.”

Sean Yates, Team Sky Sports Director: “It was Juan Antonio Flecha’s first day back after his crash on Sunday – he was able to get through it and actually felt surprisingly good which is great for him and us. Another few days surviving should see him come round for the middle couple of stages between the Pyrenees and the Alps.”

“In the end we didn’t get a placing today but the final was hard and with Philippe Gilbert attacking on that final climb it strung it out a lot.
I was pleased to see Rigoberto Uran safely in that front group as he had been suffering a bit since that crash with Bradley (Wiggins) and the mountains are looming. Luckily his injury seems to be getting better and he’ll be giving it his best shot between now and the finish.”

Previous Stages
STAGE 1 | STAGE 2 | STAGE 3 | STAGE 4 |  STAGE 5 | STAGE 6 | STAGE 7 | STAGE 8 | STAGE 9 |

It was a stage with yet more crashes and leading riders being taken out of the race but none more so spectacular than the sight of a French TV car swerving into Team Skys Flecha and throwing him and Jonny Hoogerland (pic of injuries here) into a field and out of contention for the stage. Hoogerlandwho has ridden with such panache in the Tour of Britain, finished the stage despite needing 33 stitches for injuries and received the Polka Dot jersey in an emotional scene on the po

Stage 10:
1. André Greipel, Omega Pharma-Lotto     3:31:21
2. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad
3. Jose Rojas, Movistar Team
4. Thor Hushovd, Garmin-Cervelo
5. Romain Feillu, Vacansoleil
6. Daniel Oss, Liquigas-Cannondale
7. Sébastien Hinault, AG2R
8. Borut Bozic, Vacansoleil
9. Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling
10. Samuel Dumoulin, Cofidis

77. David Millar, Team Garmin-Cervelo
146. Ben Swift, Sky Procycling

1. Thomas Voeckler, Team Europcar     42:06:32
2. Luis Leon Sanchez Rabobank Cycling Team 01:49
3. Cadel Evans, Aus  Racing Team      2:26
4. Fränk Schleck, Leopard Trek      2:29
5. Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek      2:37
6. Tony Martin, HTC-Highroad      2:38
7. Peter Velits, HTC-Highroad
8. Andreas Klöden, Team RadioShack      2:43
9. Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto      2:55
10. Jakob Fuglsang, Leopard Trek      3:08

28. David Millar, Team Garmin-Cervelo      5:32
32. Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling      5:51
107. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad     45:42
114. Ben Swift, Sky Procycling     47:43

1. Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto     226      pts

3. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad     197
4. Thor Hushovd, Team Garmin-Cervelo     163