Greipel outsprints Cav as Voeckler keeps yellow


Germany’s Andre Greipel outsprinted British rival Mark Cavendish to claim his maiden Tour de France victory in the 158km 10th stage between Aurillac and Carmaux on Tuesday. Frenchman Thomas Voeckler of the Europcar team retained the race leader’s yellow jersey by 1min 49sec on Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez of Rabobank.
In one of the few remaining sprint stages of the race Greipel took full advantage of Cavendish losing his formidable sprint ‘train’ in the final kilometres.
As the finish line came into view Cavendish emerged from the wheel of Italian Daniel Oss to attack on his own.
Greipel, however, had been keeping a close eye on his rival and immediately pulled out to the side, gritted his teeth and drove hard for the line where he beat the Isle of Man rider convincingly.
Spain’s Jose Joaquin Rojas, of Movistar, was third ahead of Norwegian Thor Hushovd of Garmin-Cervelo.
Cavendish, who rides for HTC-Columbia, has won two stages on the 98th edition so far to take his career tally on the race to 17 — unrivalled for a sprint specialist on the Tour.
Meanwhile, World cycling’s ruling body is set to look into the reasons behind a raft of crashes which have decimated the field during the first nine stages of the Tour de France. Philippe Chevallier, who is in charge of the road racing department at the International Cycling Union (UCI), said: “The UCI is going to study the reasons behind the crashes.
“We will look at the different parameters that may have contributed to them, including equipment, the number of riders and the roads used.” Although crashes are not out of the ordinary in the hectic first week of the Tour this year the toll has been particularly costly.
A number of big names, including Bradley Wiggins, Alexandre Vinokourov and Jurgen van den Broeck, crashed out. On stage nine alone six riders quit the race due to injuries from crashes.
Some riders complained about riders not being wide enough, while others said the behaviour of a nervous peloton — after a week which has yet to eliminate many of the big contenders — was more to blame. No riders so far have questioned their choice of equipment.
In what appeared to be a barb aimed at organisers, Chevallier said the number of crashes was due to the route chosen: “Having seen the roads used in the race we weren’t particularly shocked.”
Contador meets teenage fan who caused crash: AURILLAC: Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has met, and forgiven, the young fan who caused a crash in the first stage of the race and left the Spaniard with a significant deficit. At first reported to be a woman the fan, as it turned out, was a rugby-loving teenager from Les Herbiers called Theo.
After a first peloton had passed on the road to Mont des Alouettes the 13-year-old poked his head out to look up the road at the peloton. Seconds later Kazakhstan’s Maxim Iglinsky collided with the teenager, sending him into the ditch. While he suffered cuts and stings from nettles, the subsequent split in the peloton left Contador frantically chasing his rivals but finishing 1min 14sec behind most.
It was the worst possible start to the race for Spain’s three-time champion, who has since crashed another three times. Contador finally got to meet the teenager who may have derailed his bid for a fourth yellow jersey in a meeting organised Monday by French sports daily L’Equipe. After an ironic “Gracias hombre! (Thanks man!)” to Theo, Contador warned of getting too close to the peloton when speeds can easily reach 60km/h. “The important thing is to pay attention to the peloton next time you’re on the road,” Contador said in L’Equipe.
“We ride fast and it’s dangerous. I would rather you enjoyed seeing the riders go past.” Theo, who endured a few sleepless nights after reliving the incident on television, admitted: “It was the first time that we saw the Tour go past. But after that happened my Mum was really ashamed.
“My parents, brothers and friends haven’t stopped making fun of me since. “The thing is, I’m not even a cycling fan. I play rugby at Les Herbiers. It’s my Dad and uncle who are big fans. “But of course, I had heard of Contador.”
Contador, who also lost time in the second stage’s team time trial, started Tuesday’s 10th stage from Aurillac to Carmaux with a deficit of 1:41 and 1:30 on key rivals Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck respectively.