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96th Tour de France

Stage 11 - Vatan to Saint-Fargeau - 192.0 km (119.0 mi)

15 July 2009

 

 

 

Stage 11 Map

Stage 11 Profile 

 

 

 

Today, at the point where bicycle tire crossed a white streak of paint set across the Place de Marechal de Lattre de Tassigny in Saint-Fargeau, the paths of two Englishmen intersected. One man, already three decades removed from the last days of his twenty-year racing career, was one of the greatest of the generation of British cyclists who in the 1960s and 1970s paved the way for future generations to succeed in the sport professionally. The other man, the next great hope in the long line of future generations which came inevitably after, is in the nascent stages of what promises to be an unprecedented career. They've never been the best of friends, though they are mostly cordial to one another publicly. But despite their differences, both are now tied today atop the record books as the greatest ever amongst their countrymen to take to the saddle and tackle the Tour de France.

Barry Hoban enjoyed a two-decade reign amongst the dark-horses of the European peloton from 1962 until his retirement following the 1981 season. Along with riders like the tragic Tom Simpson and Belgian-raised Michael Wright, Hoban fueled a rise of British legitimacy in professional cycling. His first Tour de France stage win came on the fourteenth stage of the 1967 race, a funereal procession from Carpentras to Sete after Simpson died on the sizzled face of Mont Ventoux the day before. The pack, riding together at an abridged pace with Simpson's amphetamine-and-alcohol fueled death still fresh in their minds, allowed the British contingency to cross together. Hoban was awarded the stage win, his wheel crossing first, and fifteen years and seven stage victories later he would retire as the British record-holder for the most career wins at the Tour de France.

Today, the fiery sprinter Mark Cavendish equalled his compatriot thirty-four years after Hoban got his last. In an uphill finish which was supposed to neutralize the Manxman's unparalleled top-end acceleration, Cavendish expertly utilized lead-out men Tony Martin, George Hincapie and Mark Renshaw to stay clear of a surging Tyler Farrar and a fading Thor Hushovd to claim his fourth stage win in this year's race. In taking Stage 11, Cavendish scored his eighth career victory in just three starts of the race. After being shut out in his first try in 2007, where he abandoned after Stage 8, he returned last year to win four stages before dropping out fourteen stages in to focus on the Olympics in Beijing. This year, he has dedicated himself to the Tour -- and his efforts have him back in the maillot vert as the points leader.

Cavendish, asked by the press after the race about his unique connection with Hoban, replied in trademark unrepentant fashion, "It's nice to be able to be spoken in the same sentence as Barry Hoban, one of the great British pros. He's a nice guy, he talks a lot to me. He's given me some advice, but he's also said some things in the press that offended me a little bit." So, at least for the moment, Cavendish and Hoban sit aside one another in the record books as the top British cyclists to saddle a bike and tackle the Tour de France.

One expects that it won't last for long. The way Cavendish is riding now that the Pyrenees are behind and the Alps are still in the distance, it's conceivable that he might just become the first British cyclist to win three straight stages with tomorrow's run-in to the spa haven of Vittel in the foothills of the Vosges. And after Friday's radio-free stage over five mountains in the Vosges, Saturday affords another opportunity to increase his record. But despite his obvious accelerating advantage over his competition, he is still not too brash -- despite brushed-off accusations by an anonymous French cyclist in today's L'Equipe that he uttered "racist" and "anti-French" epithets in the peloton -- to honor his foes in victory. After someone inferred that the field might not be as in this year's race as in Tours past, "This is a massive, massive insult to say that the guys are weak. They gave me a massive fight today, they came close."

Close, though, is not enough. It isn't too far out of the realm of belief to imagine Cavendish walking away from this Tour with victories in fully one-third of the twenty-one stages. If Columbia can keep the pack together for tomorrow's Stage 12, Saturday's Stage 14 from Colmar to Besancon, Stage 19 on July 24 from Bourgoin-Jallieu to Aubenas, and the ceremonial finish on the Champs-Elysees the final Sunday, well... it isn't unfathomable that the Manx Missile might match the record for stage victories in a single Tour, setting himself on a legitimate course to challenge Eddy Merckx's all-time career record of 34 stage wins. But at least for this one day, when the HED wheels on his Scott bicycle crossed the unidentified brand of paint swathed across the road in Saint-Fargeau, Cavendish marked his transcendence to Hoban-like levels...

 

 

 

 

RESULTS - STAGE 11

  1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) 4:17:55
  2. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream)
  3. Yauheni Hutarovich (Francaise des Jeux)
  4. Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
  5. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam)
  6. Leonardo Duque (Cofidis)
  7. Gerald Ciolek (Milram)
  8. Lloyd Mondory (AG2R-La Mondiale)
  9. William Bonnet (BBox-Bouygues Telecom)
  10. Nikolai Troussov (Katusha)

 

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

  1. Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R-La Mondiale)  43:28:59
  2. Alberto Contador (Astana) +0:06
  3. Lance Armstrong (Astana +0:08
  4. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) +0:39
  5. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) +0:46
  6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) +0:54
  7. Tony Martin (Columbia) +1:00
  8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) +1:24
  9. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) +1:49
  10. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) +1:54

POINTS CLASSIFICATION

  1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) 176
  2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) 169
  3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) 110
  4. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) 110
  5. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) 100
  6. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) 97
  7. Lloyd Mondory (AG2R-La Mondiale) 74
  8. Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) 64
  9. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) 55
  10. William Bonnet (BBox-Bouygues Telecom) 54

 

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS

  1. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 79
  2. Christophe Kern (Cofidis) 59
  3. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) 56
  4. Brice Feillu (Agritubel) 49
  5. Pierrick Fedrigo (BBox-Bouygues Telecom) 49
  6. Christophe Riblon (AG2R-La Mondiale) 46
  7. Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux) 43
  8. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 38
  9. Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R-La Mondiale) 35
  10. Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R-La Mondiale) 34

 

BEST YOUNG RIDER

  1. Tony Martin (Columbia)  43:29:59  
  2. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) +0:49
  3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) +0:54
  4. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) +1:40
  5. Brice Feillu (Agritubel) +3:26
  6. Peter Velits (Milram) +4:28
  7. Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank) +7:06
  8. Pierre Rolland (BBox-Bouygues Telecom) +8:59
  9. Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) +15:45
  10. Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d'Epargne) +16:07

 

TEAM CLASSIFICATION

  1. AG2R-La Mondiale --  128:53:09
  2. Astana -- +0:03  
  3. Columbia -- +4:45
  4. Milram -- +5:20
  5. Saxo Bank -- +5:24
  6. Garmin-Slipstream -- +5:56
  7. Caisse d'Epargne -- +7:05
  8. Cofidis -- +10:00
  9. Rabobank -- +11:11
  10. Francaise des Jeux -- +12:59

 

 

 

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