Mark Renshaw thoughts?

Tour de France Stage 11 spoilers below the photo of Andy Schleck in the Yellow Jersey during Stage 11.

Saxo Bank team rider and race leader Andy Schleck of Luxembourg cycles during the eleventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Sisteron and Bourg-les-Valence, July 15, 2010. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT CYCLING)

You’ve seen the video (it’s embedded below if you haven’t) of Mark Renshaw head butting Julian Dean of Garmin-Transitions at the finish of today’s Stage 11. Renshaw was running interference for his teammate Mark Cavendish. Julian Dean was working to clear the path to the finish line for his teammate Tyler Farrar

Renshaw and his team, HTC-Columbia, believe his actions are justified as part of the game of winning in a hotly contested sprint finish. Tour officials disagree, and removed Renshaw from the Tour.

What do you think?

Cyclocosm posted this video and synopsis of “How the Race Was Won” in a Tour de France preview that explains the rules of what is and what is not allowed in a bunch sprint.

The UCI’s rules on what it is and isn’t ok to do in a sprint are both poorly-written, and enforced in a less-than-literal fashion. Drawing on some notable sprint rulings of the past decade, this How The Race Was Won examines exactly what you can and can’t get away with in the final rush to the line.

How The Race Was Won – Rules of the Group Sprint from Cosmo Catalano on Vimeo.


Cavendish doing it again for his 3rd win in the 2010 Tour de France.

HTC-Columbia's Mark Cavendish (C) of Britain sprints to win the eleventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Sisteron and Bourg-les-Valence, July 15, 2010. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT CYCLING)

HTC-Columbia's Mark Cavendish of Britain celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the eleventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Sisteron and Bourg-les-Valence, July 15, 2010. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT CYCLING)




Next: Stage 12: Bourge-de-Peage → Mende.

H/T to Fredcast, Carlton Reid, and TdfBlog for video links.


  1. I seem to recall Robbie McEwan doing this in the TdF a few years ago with Stewart O'Grady, and he was punished for the stage but not ejected. Pretty inconsistent by ASO.

  2. As I understand the rule, it's contact is okay so long as your hands remain on the bars. He was in compliance. If they don't like it, change the rule and find some way to punish him for dangerous action, but straight up ejecting him? Now there's no guideline to the rest of the peloton as to what is okay and what isn't. Is the rule, some contact? What's the standard? When does it become over the line?

  3. Looking at the view from above in the Vs video (just posted), it looks like Dean was starting to push Renshaw & Cav into the barriers when Renshaw pushed back against Dean. Maybe it's Dean who should be relegated for not maintaining his line?

  4. Well I'm rooting for my homey Tyler Farrar, but it seems clear that Renshaw illegally swerved to block Farrar in the crucial moment of the sprint. If this was the first infraction we'd seen from Cav and his mates, then forgiveness and a lighter penalty might be in order. But Cav was DQ'd last year in the Tour, penalized and fined earlier this year in the Tour of Switzerland crash, and hey, if you can't win a sprint by riding a straight line and letting others do the same, you don't deserve champion status.

  5. That overhead shot does seem like he came off his line to push HTC into the barriers. If we're going to sanction anyone for dangerous action or breaking the rules, I think you're right. It's probably Dean who should get DQ'd. But even then, maybe the stage or anything less than the whole Tour.

  6. Throwing wheels and fists, though, only gets you fined a few hundred Francs.

    Isn't Tyler Farrar known for his body english during sprints as well?

  7. From the video it is pretty clear that Dean was leaning into Renshaw and Ren's only options were to move off his line and stop leading out his man, or fight back the only way he could…he did the latter an appropriate amount and nobody was harmed and no lead out man was inhibited from doing his job. As for the farrar issue, tyler wasn't the least bit inconvenienced or slowed, and as soon as Ren saw how close he was he moved out. Disqualification from the Tour is so out of proportion for Ren's actions today one has to wonder what the judges were thinking. Not surprisingly Vaughters and his band of whiny near do wells are all in favor of the decision. What I find most interesting, of course, is how Dean changed his perspective on this after he spoke with his team leadership. In the immediate interview after the race, he seemed not to be bothered by the incident, and in subsequent interviews he was indignant about how dangerous it was. Vaughters and his boys are always good for a bit of theater, and in the process, the Tour, and some excellent riders, suffer.

  8. In previous stages, every time HTC tried to lead out Cavendish, Garmin would try to swerve into them and break up the HTC “train”. If you watch the overhead video of today's stage, it is pretty clear that Dean was being even more aggressive than usual, shouldering Renshaw off his line and toward the left wall. Cavendish has to break away much earlier than usual when Dean took out his lead out man.

    Perhaps Renshaw should have fought back with his arms instead of his head, but I don't blame him for trying to stay upright when Dean tried to knock him off his bike at 40+ mph. Farrar, who was behind everyone, was just collateral damage. I doubt that Renshaw even saw him; he was just having a hard time riding straight after the contact from Dean. If Farrar was smart, he should have tried to come around Dean's right when Dean was pushing Renshaw toward the left wall. Instead, Farrar tried to come around the left, but there was no room on that side.

  9. …the head butting was ruled inconsequential as both riders keep their hands on the bars, so the infraction was defined as renshaw riding farrar into the barriers…i initially agreed with that assessment…

    …in retrospect & on further review, i see dean forcing renshaw towards the barriers which precipitated the head butting & which would in turn limit cavendish's room to come off the wheel…renshaw fought back to give his man room to “go” & in doing so, moved over which limited farrar's room…

    …it may well have been as poor a decision on farrars part to go left in search of cavendish's wheel as much as it was augmented by renshaw moving over…i'm not so sure now that perhaps it should have been renshaw being nothing more than relegated with dean sustaining the more severe penalty…

  10. Just watched the replay with the overhead view above. It sure looks to me that Dean was the first to crowd Renshaw off the line, but Renshaw definitely tried to block Tyler Farrar was coming through. Didn't the officials say that was the worse offense?

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