Renshaw banished after tour headbutt

15 July 2010

Mark Renshaw has been disqualified from the Tour de France following his controversial involvement in HTC-Columbia team-mate's Mark Cavendish victory in stage 11.

Renshaw, who is regarded as the best lead-out man currently in world cycling, headbutted rival Julian Dean in the high speed finish to the stage in Bourg-les-Valence.

Cavendish went on to win his third stage of the race ahead of Dean's Garmin-Transitions team-mate Tyler Farrar.

Italian Alessandro Petacchi was second in the 184.5-km stage, which has passed off without much drama until the final 500 metres.

"Renshaw was declassified immediately but we have decided to also throw him off the race," explained the Tour's technical director Jean-Francois Pescheux.

"We've only seen the pictures once, but his actions are plain for all to see. This is a bike race, not a gladiator's arena."

The loss of Renshaw is likely to seriously hamper Cavendish's hopes of more stage wins and the Green Jersey for leading points scorer.

"I think Mark did a great job of giving himself and the rest of the guys space, it was the only way to keep Julian's elbow away from getting over his," said Cavendish in his post-stage interview.

"Mark's not dangerous in my view, he's an incredibly good bike handler and clever bike rider and I'm really disappointed with the decision."