As this story goes online, the 13th stage of the Tour de France is 40km from its conclusion in Revel.

Up front, three riders are away – Juan Antonio Flecha, Sylvain Chavanel and Pierrick Fedrigo.

Behind them, HTC Columbia and Lampre-Farnese have been riding at the front of the bunch, slowly pegging it back. Despite the presence of a third-category climb in the final 7km, they’re thinking of a stage win for their sprinters.

Both Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Cavendish have already proved their ability in this year’s Tour with five stages wins between them.

But one question now hangs over Mark Cavendish – how will he fare now that key leadout man Mark Renshaw has been disqualified?

Renshaw had been key for Cavendish in all three of his stage wins this year and many of his victories last year. But after leading Cavendish out for his win into Bourg-Les-Valance on Thursday, Renshaw was kicked off the race for head-butting rival leadout man Julian Dean in the final kilometre.

Cav protested and HTC appealed the decision, but on Friday morning in Bourg de Peage, it was confirmed that Renshaw was out. As a result, Bernhard Eisel has now been charged with the role of filling Renshaw’s shoes as Cav’s final lead out man.

Like Renshaw, Eisel is a reasonable sprinter in his own right. In March he won Ghent-Wevelgem from a six rider sprint and has previously taken results at the head of a bunch gallop. He is also highly experienced, often taking the position of road captain for the HTC team.

Asked if he was up to the task for today’s stage, Eisel said:

“I hope so. I will have to be. Renshaw is out and we take that decision as it is.”

“We just need to stay focussed on trying to win races and I’m confident everything should be fine.”

Tour de France 2010: Latest news

Renshaw disqualification overshadows Cavendish’s win

Charly Wegelius pulls out of Tour

Did Armstrong own a stake in Tailwind Sports, or not?

Cavendish in a ‘must win’ situation for Tour’s green jersey

Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut

Roche alongside Tour’s top men ahead of Pyrenees

Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?

Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain

Bradley Wiggins: Tour rest day conference

Evans faces rough ride in yellow

Riis secures replacement sponsor but Shleck in doubt

Tour de France 2010: rest day review (July 12)

Armstrong’s Tour de France dream ends

Sky’s objective clear ahead of Tour’s high mountains

The Feed Zone (July 10): Tour de France news and views


Tour de France 2010: Stage reports

Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks

Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour

Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race

Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day

Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head

Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white

Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up

Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour

Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims

Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC

Stage three live coverage: As it happened

Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa

Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters

Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos

Stage 11 photo gallery

Stage 10 photo gallery

Stage nine photo gallery

Stage eight photo gallery

Tour 2010 wallpaper

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one gallery

Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos

Stage 11 video highlights

Stage 10 video highlights

Stage nine video highlights

Stage eight video highlights

Stage seven video highlights

Stage six video highlights

Stage five video highlights

Stage four video highlights

Stage three video highlights

Stage two video highlights

Stage one video highlights

Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Official start list, with race numbers

Brits at the Tour 2010

Tout team guide

Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special


  • Paul G

    I think Mark Cavendish answered the question today, by beating the other sprinters to second place.:)

  • Borderfox

    Today just confirmed what we all know with or without Mark2 little Cav`s the fastest n best sprinter in the Tour. The question we need answered now is will he go for the intermediate sprints to add more points to his quest for the green jersey, there`s 12 on offer tomorrow before the real climbs begin.