9 Big Photos from Stage 11sirotti

Stage 11 Results

General Classification after Stage 11:

Full Results (click on "Stage Standing") —
Cavendish makes it four! Equals British Tour win record, back in greencyclingnews
  Last 2 Km (02:34 dutch) — nos
high-res finish
The uphill finish was not supposed to suit Cavendishvelonews
Stage ten time gap decision
  Mark Cavendish Post-Stage InterviewITV/Sporza
  Stage 11 Highlights (02:00) — eurosport
  Last Km (01:00 no commentary) — eurosport
  Mark Renshaw talks about the leadout (01:58) — eurosport
  Versus 11 video clips (more to come) — versus
  Stage 11 Recap/Highlights (03:12) —
Graham Watson Stage 11 Photosgrahamwatson
ITV stage 11 podcast with Matt Rendell, Ned Boulting and Chris BoardmanITV
9 Big Photos from Stage 11sirotti

Post Stage Analysis

Cavendish Makes It Four
Columbia-HTC sprinter continues to dominate, Rinaldo Nocentini remains in Yellow

Mark Cavendish took his fourth stage victory of this year’s Tour de France today in Saint-Fargeau. The slightly uphill finish offer the possibility of breaking his hold on the sprint stages, but with the help of his tightly coordinated team, Cavendish proved equal to the challenge. With his win today, the British sprinter retakes the lead in the points classification by a slim margin. Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Slipstream finished second after taking the long way around, Yauheni Hutarovich of Français des Jeux finished third. Rinaldo Nocentini of AG2R-La Mondiale passed another uneventful day in the Yellow Jersey, and the general classification remains unchanged after today’s jaunt through the French countryside.

The Story

Two riders set out for a long day in the wind, Marcin Sapa of Lampre-Ngc and Johan van Summeren of Silence-Lotto. By kilometer 32, they had built up an advantage of almost two minutes. The main field kept Sapa and Van Summeren close, and their advantage never stretched much beyond 3:30. The sprinters teams shared the work, with riders from Garmin, Columbia, and Rabobank making tempo on the front of the main field. A few crashes interrupted the tranquility. Vladimir Efimkin, Jérôme Pineau, Charly Wegelius, Christian Vandevelde, and Ryder Hesjdahl were among the victims, though they all continued the stage.

Sapa and Van Summeren split the mountain points on the two climbs. Van Summeren led over the Côte d’Allogny, while Sapa took the maximum points on the Côte de Perreuse. Behind, Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel-Euskadi and Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas-Doimo scooted out of the main field to take a point each on the climbs and signaled their seriousness in chasing the Polka Dot jersey.

As the kilometers counted down, Garmin and Columbia upped the pace on the front and the gap to the break fell steadily. Dave Zabriskie appeared frequently on the front for Garmin, who hoped to deliver their sprinter Tyler Farrar to his first stage victory. Some pundits wondered, meanwhile, if the slight uphill at the finish might break the rhythm of Cavendish sufficiently to open the way for one of the other sprinters.

With 5 kilometers to go, the bunch reabsorbed the break. Columbia lined up at the front with Cervélo and Garmin-Slipstream tucked in behind them. Just inside 2 kilometers to go, Milram moved up in the hope of setting up their sprinter Gerald Ciolek, but they soon faded, and Columbia again took over. Under the red kite, Rogers had the bunch strung out. There was no longer any possibility of moving up in the field.

At 500 meters to go, Renshaw started his lead-out. Hushovd tried to anticipate the sprint, but hit the wind too early. He looked to have picked a slightly too large gear, also. Cavendish began his sprint late this time, and hit it inside the 200 meter mark. From behind, Tyler Farrar took the long way around the quickly fading Hushovd. Farrar came within a bike length of taking the win, but again, it was all Cavendish at the line. Yauheni Hutarovich of Français des Jeux finished third, Oscar Freire fourth, and Thor Hushovd fifth.

With today’s win, Cavendish equaled his stage victory count of four from last year’s Tour. He called today’s finish a hard one, because it was uphill. “We knew we had to lead out and keep it late. I didn’t go until 150 meters,” he explained. As is his custom, the British sprinter also praised the cohesion of his Columbia-HTC team saying, “they cooperate and adapt to different conditions.” Cavendish also confided that he has his sights set on the Champs Élysées sprint.

General Classification Update

Here is the current top ten:
Rinaldo Nocentini AG2R-La Mondiale
Alberto Contador Astana :06
Lance Armstrong Astana :08
Levi Leipheimer Astana :39
Bradley Wiggins Garmin-Slipstream :46
Andreas Klöden Astana :54
Tony Martin Columbia-HTC 1:00
Christian Vandevelde Garmin-Slipstream 1:24
Andy Schleck Saxo Bank 1:49
Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas-Doimo 1:54

The race organizers have decided to nullify the 15 second gap on yesterday’s stage. As a result, Bradley Wiggins and Levi Leipheimer both return to their original spots in the general classification and do not lose 15 seconds. The race organizers have the option to apply a 3 km rule, which neutralizes the general classification times at 3 km, if there is a crash or mechanical incident. With the crash of Trussov in the final corner, it seems likely that they have applied the rule in this case. Otherwise, the general classification remains unchanged after today’s stage.

Other general classification riders: 13) Fränk Schleck of Saxo Bank @ 2:25, 14) Roman Kreuziger of Liquigas-Doimo @ 2:40 15) Carlos Sastre of Cervélo TestTeam @ 2:52, 18) Cadel Evans of Silence-Lotto @ 3:07, 23) Vladimir Karpets of Katusha @ 3:49, 24) Denis Menchov of Rabobank @ 5:02.

Other classifications: With his stage win today, Mark Cavendish takes over the lead in the Points classification. The race remains tight, though, and Cavendish leads Thor Hushovd, who placed fifth today, by 7 points. José Joaquín Rojas of Caisse d’Épargne and Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Slipstream are now tied at 110 points.

In the mountains classification, Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel-Euskadi still leads Christophe Kern of Cofidis. Franco Pellizotti is third. Both Martinez and Pellizotti sprinted for mountains points today and each added 1 point to their total. Clearly both riders are serious about chasing the Polka Dot jersey with the Alps still to come.

Tony Martin, meanwhile, continues to lead the Young Riders classification by 49 seconds over Andy Schleck and 54 seconds ahead of Vincenzo Nibali.

Johan van Summeren of Silence-Lotto wins today’s prize for most combative rider, after his long day out in the break.

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow’s stage runs from Tonnerre to Vittel through bumpy terrain. The stage includes six categorized climbs, though none of them is especially difficult. The up and down terrain should favor the breakaway riders, and an escape could hold on to the finish tomorrow. The stage finishes with a gradual climb to a flat run-in. Look for the smaller teams to have a go tomorrow in pursuit of stage victory, while the general classification favorites conserve their legs for the mountainous third week of this Tour.

For more details on tomorrow’s stage, please turn the page.

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Course Preview

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Terrain Type: A day for the sprinters.
GC Importance: Nothing to see here.

Côte d'Allogny 1.5 km, avg. 4.5 %, Catégorie 4
Côte de Perreuse 2.0 km, avg. 4.6 %, Catégorie 4

The Tour traverses central France during this second week of the race, and heads east toward the border with Germany. This stage begins in Vatan and travels northeast to finish in Saint-Fargeau. Two categorized climbs enliven the proceedings, though they are unlikely to prove decisive in the end. This stage should end in a sprint. The final kilometer is slightly bowl-shaped, with a slight descent than a false-flat climb to the line. In the event of a headwind, timing the sprint correctly could prove tricky. Either way, it’s a finish for the fast men and an opportunity to chase points in the Green Jersey competition.

Both Vatan and Saint-Fargeau are Tour de France virgins. Neither town has ever hosted a Tour start or finish before this year. Vatan lies in the Champagne berrichonne, an open space of plainsland in central France. Also known as Septaine, this region is traversed by the Cher and Indre rivers and dotted with small villages and towns. Vatan is home to not much more than 2000 inhabitants.

Saint-Fargeau is similarly small, though it boasts a chateau dating from the tenth century. The Chateau de Saint-Fargeau holds annual festivals re-enacting events from its lengthy history, from knights in armor to American military vehicles from the Liberation. Saint-Fargeau is also known for its water-sports on the nearby lac du Bourdon.

Profile Details

The terrain here in central France is bumpy, but none of the climbs are especially difficult. The stage sets out from Vatan on relatively flat roads. The racing should start out fast, as the smaller teams try to get a break started. The first intermediate sprint comes after 26.5 kilometers of racing in the town of Quincy.

After just over 40 kilometers of racing, the riders will climb the category 4 Côte d’Allogny. The côte climbs 1.5 kilometers at an average gradient of 4.5%. Don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit. From the summit, the course descends briefly to a plateau and passes through Menetou-Salon. The second intermediate sprint of the day comes at kilometer 73.5 in Saint Céols. If the battle for the Green Jersey is close, the sprinters’ teams could bring back the break in order to contest the intermediate sprints. Much depends on how the sprinters have divided the spoils in the early sprint stages.

A third intermediate sprint comes at kilometer 114.5 in Suilly-la-Tour. Small hills interrupt the flat terrain through this section of the course, but it should not cause the sprinters any difficulty. For the next 35.5 kilometers following the final intermediate sprint, the course climbs steadily. The final categorized climb lies just outside Yonne. The Côte de Perreuse climbs 2 kilometers at an average gradient of 4.6%. From the summit, there remains 42 kilometers to race to the finish.

The stage follows a slightly descending track and passes through Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye and Mézilles. Then it descends slightly to a flat finish in Saint-Fargeau. There is a sharp right-hand turn - nearly 90 degrees - inside the final kilometer, as the course turns off the D965 highway into Saint-Fargeau. The finish line is at the Place du Maréchal de Lattre de Latigny.

Who to Watch

Sprinters Party! This stage is for the sprinters with three intermediate sprints and only two categorized climbs. An early break of two or three riders from the smaller teams will do the hard work of riding in the wind today, but their efforts are unlikely to end in victory. This stage should continue the rivalry among the big-name fast men at this Tour de France. Mark Cavendish, Daniele Bennati, Oscar Freire, and Tyler Farrar should all be at the front in the final kilometer. Of course, only one will end the day with podium kisses. — Gavia

Gavia (updates to this preview will be made during the race and especially the day before the stage with current analysis)<-->