BOURG LES VALENCE, France, (Reuters) – The heatwave went to the riders’ heads on the Tour de France as Mark Renshaw was kicked out of the race over a head-butting incident that spoiled stage winner Mark Cavendish’s party yesterday. It was Cavendish’s 13th Tour victory of his career but not his luckiest. His HTC-Columbia team mate Renshaw led in the final stretch when New Zealand’s Julian Dean, working for sprinter Tyler Farrar, tried to block his way.
Australian Renshaw head-butted the Garmin Transitions rider twice to keep him out of the way of Cavendish, who surged to his third stage win of this Tour.
The Briton won ahead of Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi, who took the green points jersey, while American Farrar was third. Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck retained the overall lead with a 41-second advantage over defending champion Alberto Contador.
“Renshaw’s out. We saw the film once and it’s blatant. He head-butted Dean twice like in a keirin race,” said Tour technical director Jean-Francois Pescheux.“This is cycling, not fighting. Everybody could have ended up on their backs.” Minutes after crossing the line Renshaw told reporters: Either he (Dean) keeps turning left puts me in the barrier and I crash, or I try to lean against him, I didn’t have another option. It’s all about sprinting straight.”