Tour de France 2010: Cavendish Wins 11th Stage Sprint

Mark Cavendish took his third Tour de France stage win this year, outsprinting Alessandro Petacchi in a controversial and wild finish that led to the expulsion of one rider.

Cavendish was able to pull ahead in the final sprint thanks to HTC Columbia teammate Mark Renshaw, who was booted out of the Tour after he head-butted Garmin-Transitions lead-out man Dean Julian at least once. Then, in the final push to the finish line, Renshaw appeared to block Garmin-Transitions sprinter Tyler Farrar, who was fighting for the stage win against Cavendish and Petacchi. Farrar eventually finished in third place.

Cavendish defended his teammate’s action, saying that Renshaw just “fought to prevent the lane from being closed to him.” However, race officials were firm on their decision, declaring that Renshaw has been kicked out of the Tour for aggressive riding.

There were no changes in the general classification standings for the second-straight day, as top contenders Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador maintained their hold on first and second places, respectively.

Friday’s 12th stage could see the climbers take the spotlight once again as the 210.5-kilometer route from Bourg-de-Peage to Mende features five mid-level climbs.