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



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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.