Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) strengthened his position at the top of the points classification on Sunday, winning stage 15 of the 2011 Tour de France in Montpellier.

Cavendish had ear-marked the stage as his last chance of a win before the race’s finale in Paris on Sunday, July 24. The Manxman’s HTC-Highroad team led from the front, keeping a five-man escape group in easy reach and bringing their man home for his fourth 2011 Tour stage win and 19th of his career since 2008.

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) put in a late acceleration to the line to take second, with Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) in third. Cavendish’s closest rival in the race for the green jersey, Jose Rojas (Movistar), finished fifth. Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) failed to score any points at the finish after an unsuccessful late attack.

Britain’s Ben Swift (Sky) made a bid for the stage win and came home in a creditable sixth place in what is his first Tour de France.

There was no change to the upper order of the overall classification. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) safely finished in the bunch to keep the yellow jersey after defending it with vigour in the Pyrenees. Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) is in second at 1-49, with Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) in third at 2-06.

Early break

Five riders escaped from the peloton just 2km into today’s stage. Niki Terpstra (Quick Step), Mickael Delage (FDJ), Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) were let off the leash and soon built up a lead of around three minutes on the bunch.

However, with scant opportunities for the sprinters until the final stage in Paris on Sunday, HTC-Highroad took it upon themselves to ensure that the escape group did not gain a large time advantage.

High winds played their part in the early part of the stage, with a split in the bunch occurring at the 30km mark. The second group quickly regained contact with the lead section of the peloton but it made the sprinters teams even more keen to keep everything tightly under control.

By the intermediate sprint point in Montagnac at 46km to go, the escapees’ advantage had shrunk to less than a minute.

Delage took the honours in the sprint from the breakaway, with Cavendish beating Rojas and Gilbert to take sixth place at the head of the bunch and 10 valuable points.

Gilbert had to quickly change a puncture after the sprint, and the peloton then relaxed slightly to allow the break to push their advantage back up to a minute and a half.

Gilbert’s late attack rules him out of sprint finale

Only Ignatiev and Terpstra remained in the escape by the time the race hit the 10km-to-go banner. Igantiev then sat up leaving Terpstra to have a solo dig. His day-long effort was ended when Gilbert launched a late attack in the final 3km.

The Belgian national champ was caught as the sprinters’ lead-out trains jostled for position, and ruled himself out of the bunch gallop and will now have to work hard to wipe out the 71-point deficit to Cavendish in the points competition.

HTC-Highroad again gave Cavendish the perfect lead-out, with Mark Renshaw sheltering Cav and then launching him to the line to another emphatic win and more valuable points for his bid for the green jersey in Paris.

Cavendish now leads Rojas by 37 points, and Gilbert by 71 points in the points classification.

On Monday the riders have their second rest day of the race before a week of action in the Alps.

Results

Tour de France 2011, stage 15: Limoux to Montpellier, 192.5km

1. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad in 4-20-24


2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Cervelo

3. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD

4. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

5. Jose Rojas (Spa) Movistar

6. Ben Swift (GB) Sky

7. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quick Step

8. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis

9. Francisco Ventoso (Ita) Movistar

10. Sebastien Hinault (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale all same time

Other

116. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky

119. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 28secs

Overall classification after stage 15

1. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar


2. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 1-49

3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 2-06

4. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 2-15

5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas at 3-16

6. Samuel Sanchez (Esp) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 3-44

7. Alberto Contador (Esp) Saxo Bank at 4-00

8. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 4-01

9. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 5-46

10. Kevin de Weert (Bel) Quick Step at 6-18

Other

11. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky at 7-55

18. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r La Mondiale at 10-56

42. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 35-27

58. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 55-30

127. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 1-54-39

134. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 1-58-34

Thomas Voeckler, race leader, Tour de France 2011, stage 15



Thomas Voeckler keeps the race lead going into the second rest day

HTC-Highroad and Leopard-Trek, Tour de France 2011, stage 15



HTC-Highroad take to the helm, with Leopard-Trek in the wings (right)

Ben Swift, Tour de France 2011, stage 15

Ben Swift: Improving in the race to place sixth on the stage

Mickael Delage in escape group, Tour de France 2011, stage 15



Mickael Delage at the front of the day’s five-man escape group

Mark Cavendish wins, Tour de France 2011 stage 15



Mark Cavendish takes his fourth win of the 2011 Tour

Tour de France 2011: Related links



Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Tour de France 2011: Latest news



Basso back for Tour de France win



Garmin-Cervelo celebrate third Tour win



Geraint Thomas: “I had goosebumps on the Tourmalet”



Schlecks distance Contador in Tour mountain stage



Greipel gripes about ‘crazy’ Feillu



Tour de France Feed Zone (July 13)



Greipel’s first Tour stage win ‘extra special’



Greipel takes first win over Cav since HTC split



UCI defends its stance on tilted saddles



Kolobnev tests positive at Tour



Contador worried by knee injury



Tour rest day review (July 11)



Voeckler living the yellow jersey dream again



Hoogerland’s Horror crash



Crashes take toll on Tour’s favourites



Schlecks within striking distance of Tour’s race lead



Wiggins’ operation scheduled for Monday



Thomas leads Sky’s new focus



Analysis: Cav back on the train again



Sky devastated by Wiggins’ exit from Tour



Wiggins crashes out of Tour



Dan Lloyd’s busman’s holiday at the Tour



Wiggins saw Sky’s first Tour win coming



Tour bans motorcyclist after Sorensen’s crash



Cavendish’s race for the Tour green jersey



Cavendish surprises with Tour stage win and press conference




Tour de France 2011: Teams, riders, start list

Tour de France 2011: Official start list

Tour de France 2011: Who’s riding?

Tour de France 2011: Team guide

Tour de France 2011: Stage reports

Stage 14: Vanendert surprises the favourites as Voeckler holds on

Stage 13: World champ Hushovd takes well deserved solo Tour win

Stage 12: Sanchez wins at Luz Ardiden as Frank Schleck gains on other contenders

Stage 11: Cavendish moves into green after winning in Lavaur

Stage 10: Greipel beats Cavendish in Tour stage 10 sprint

Stage nine: Sanchez conquers day of crashes and climbs

Stage eight: Costa wins first mountain stage of 2011 Tour

Stage seven: Cavendish wins but Wiggins crashes out of Tour

Stage six: Boasson Hagen takes Sky’s first Tour de France win

Stage five: Cavendish wins in Cap Frehel

Stage four: Evans edges out Contador on the Mur-de-Bretagne

Stage three: Farrar sprints to first Tour victory in Redon

Stage two: Garmin win team time trial to put Hushovd in yellow

Stage one: Gilbert blasts to victory as Tour gets off to spectacular start

Tour de France 2011: Highlights videos



Stage 14 video highlights



Stage 13 video highlights



Stage 12 video highlights



Stage 11 video highlights



Video: Feeding the riders at the Tour



Stage 10 video highlights



Stage nine video highlights



Stage eight video highlights



Stage seven video highlights



Stage six video highlights



Video: Erik Zabel’s role as Cavendish’s sprint advisor



Stage five video highlights



Video: The ride of Philippe Gilbert at the Tour de France



Stage four video highlights



Stage three video highlights



Stage two video highlights



Stage one video highlights




Tour de France 2011: Photo galleries


Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson





Tour de France 2011 wallpaper gallery





Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage four photo gallery by Andy Jones



Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage two photo gallery by Andy Jones





Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson





Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson





Tour de France 2011 team time trial training photo gallery by Andy Jones



Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Andy Jones



Tour de France 2011 team press conferences by Andy Jones



Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2011: Live text coverage

Tour de France 2011 LIVE: CW’s text coverage schedule

Stage seven live text coverage

Tour de France 2011: Archive videos

Video: 2003 Centenary Tour

Video: Lance Armstrong retrospective

Video: Behind the scenes at the Tour

Video: Guerini’s 1999 stage win

Video: Thrills and spills at the Tour

Video: Armstrong in 1999

Video: The Indurain years

Video: Ladies of the Tour

Video: Best of bizarre



Tour de France 2011: Archive articles


1999 Tour de France stage two: Passage du Gois causes chaos

Tour de France 2011: TV schedule

British Eurosport Tour de France 2011 TV schedule

ITV4 Tour de France 2011 TV schedule

Tour de France 2011: Related links

Tour de France: The jerseys, what they are and what they mean

Potted history of the Tour de France

The closest Tours in history

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index


Halfords banner animated

  • Ken Evans

    I don’t know what his hit rate is,
    but I am guessing that Cav has won about 1 / 5
    of all the Tour stages he has ridden ?