Tour de France 2010
Start: 3 July, Rotterdam Finish: 25 July, Paris
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Cavendish crossed the line for his 13th career Tour stage win in three years
Mark Cavendish's third stage win of the 2010 Tour de France was marred when his HTC Columbia team-mate Mark Renshaw was disqualified for headbutting.
Isle of Man's Cavendish won the 184.5km stage between Sisteron and Bourg-les-Valence after Renshaw used his head to nudge Garmin's Julian Dean out the way.
The disruption created space for Cavendish to attack the line and win.
Luxembourg's Andy Schleck retained the overall lead after a relatively slow and flat stage through the haute Alps.
However, the race burst into life five kilometres from the finish when Lampre, with green jersey hopeful Alessandro Petacchi in their ranks, and HTC jostled for position at the front for their sprinters to attack in the final 300m.
This is cycling, not fighting. Everybody could have ended up on their backs
Tour technical director Jean-Francois Pescheux
Australian Renshaw was involved in an extraordinary tussle with Dean in the final kilometre as the Garmin rider attempted to create an ideal line for team-mate and specialist sprinter Tyler Farrar to attack.
Dean's presence pushed Renshaw closer to the barriers on the left, leaving little space for Cavendish, sat on the back of his team-mate's wheel, to respond in the final 500m.
Renshaw responded by using his helmet three times to push Dean to the right and give Cavendish the necessary room to hit the front.
With space a premium, the Manxman was forced to attack at 400m but had just enough to hold off Petacchi, with American Farrar in third.
"It was hard to get organised, but we were alright," said an exhausted Cavendish after his 13th Tour stage win in three years, overtaking Erik Zabel's, Mario Cipollini's and Robbie McEwen's tally of 12 career stage wins.
"I saw Julian fighting with Mark, I was behind and I was boxed in. I usually go around 200m - 250m max - but I had to go 375m-400m so it was a long finish by my standards."
However, former world team pursuit track champion Renshaw's aggressive approach enraged Tour technical director Jean-Francois Pescheux.
"Renshaw is out. We watched the film once and it was blatant. He head-butted Dean like in a keirin race," said the Frenchman.
"This is a bike race, not a gladiator's arena. Everybody could have ended up on their backs."
Petacchi's second place finish ensured the Italian took the green jersey in the points classification race from Thor Hushovd.
Renshaw's absence is a huge blow for Cavendish's hopes of claiming the green jersey, which is usually won by a sprinter, for the first time in his career when the Tour rolls into Paris a week on Sunday.
Cavendish is fourth in the sprinters' standings with 132 points, 29 behind leader Petacchi, with Hushovd in second and McEwen in third.
Quick Step's Jerome Pineau keeps the polka dot jersey as King of the Mountains.
Saxo Bank's Schleck maintained his 41-second overall race lead over defending champion and good friend Alberto Contador of Astana.
The duo were pictured chatting amiably during the ride through south eastern France. And Schleck, who revealed they had gone on holiday together, said: "It was quiet and we could act like normal people. So we remembered our holidays."
Friday's intriguing stage between Bourg-de-Peage and Mende covers 210.5km including three third-category and two category two climbs with a hilltop finish.
Stage 11 results:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB/HTC Columbia) 4h 42m 29s
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita/Garmin) same time
3. Tyler Farrar (Bel/QST) same time
4. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa/Caisse d'Epargne) same time
5. Robbie McEwen (Aus/Katusha) same time
1. Andy Schleck (Lux/Saxo Bank) 53h 43m 25s
2. Alberto Contador (Esp/Astana) +41"
3. Samuel Sanchez (Esp/Euskatel) +2'45"
4. Denis Menchov (Rus/Rabobank) +2'58"
5. Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel/Omega Pharma-Lotto) +3'31"
6. Levi Leipheimer (US/RadioShack) +3'59"
7. Robert Gesnik (Ned/Rabobank) +4'22"
8. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa/Caisse d'Epargne) +4'41"
9. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa/Katusha) +5'08"
10. Ivan Basso (Ita/Liquigas) +5'09"
17 Bradley Wiggins (GB/SKY) at 7'18"
18 Cadel Evans (Aus/BMC) at 7'47"
32 Lance Armstrong (US/TRS) at 17'51"
65 Geraint Thomas (GB/SKY) at 51'08"
103 Fabian Cancellara (Swi/Saxo Bank) at 1h 17'22"
139 Stephen Cummings (GB/SKY) at 1h 32'02"
143 David Millar (GB/GRM) at 1h 34'41"
145 Mark Cavendish (GB/HTC) at 1h 35'58"
153 Daniel Lloyd (GB/CTT) at 1h 41'28"
158 Jeremy Hunt (GB/CTT) at 1h 43'41"
Charlie Wegelius - withdrawn
For full results visit
the official Tour de France site