German André Greipel shot around the bend final sweeping bend and over the line first at the Tour de France yesterday. He won his first ever stage and, making extra special, he took it against Mark Cavendish.

“It is a symbol,” Omega Pharma-Lotto’s team manager, Marc Sergeant told Cycling Weekly. “This is a race he was never able to participate in because he was in Cavendish’s team. Now he can because he’s in another team, and winning against Cavendish must be something special for him.”

Sergeant signed Greipel last year when his contracted ended with HTC-Highroad, where he had spent five years in the team with Mark Cavendish. He told Greipel to focus simply on the big wins, not pulling in numerous smaller ones.

Up until last year, Greipel raced in the same team as Cavendish, where he had often gone on winning sprees. Last year, he won numerous races from stages at the Tour of Down Under to the Vuelta a España, but failed the race the Tour because Cavendish proved his speed early on with the team.

In 2008, Cavendish five stages at the Tour de France. He now has 17.

“Cavendish has been the number one sprinter since his first Grand Tour stage win in 2008,” HTC’s coach, Erik Zabel told Cycling Weekly.

“Of course, it’s harder for him because he’s won 17 stages in the Tour. He’s a title defender, he’s the main favourite when coming to a bunch sprint. All sprinters want to beat him, especially André because they were team-mates for several years and there was this competition between the two sprinters, two classy sprinters.

“Cav wanted to win today and it’s not easy for him to be beaten by Andre.”

Zabel explained that the team was committed to Cavendish yesterday in the 10th leg to Carmaux. Team-mate Tony Martin chased down an attack by Greipel’s team-mate, Philippe Gilbert in the final 15 kilometres. Gilbert wanted to put Cavendish on the defence and possibly sneak clear for green jersey points.

Cavendish gained 44 points yesterday: nine from winning in the intermediate sprint for seventh and 35 for placing second to Greipel. Gilbert leads the competition by 29 points over Cavendish and told Cycling Weekly that he wants to try to win the jersey by Paris.

“He’s coming close now,” Zabel said of Cavendish. “It was a big chance, with the stage win, we would have been close.”

HTC will have its last chance for a few days today. The 167.5-kilometre leg to Lavaur suits sprinters and should see another showdown between the two former team-mates.

Tour de France 2011: Related links

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Tour de France 2011: Latest news

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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 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 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 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

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  • dai bananas brother

    Right you are Ken, but this bloke’s prattle is just unbelievable. Fortunately, in my workplace we have most of the sports cahnnels on all day without any accompanying volume. It puts the need for ‘commentary’ into sharp perspective. You can live withoutit at home. Use as background music by Francoise Hardy.

  • Ken Evans

    dai bananas brother:

    Did you know that some TVs have a volume control ?

    Many sports commentators are useless,
    and speak when it isn’t necessary,
    in many different sports !

  • dai bananas brother

    Terrific stage – ruined for Dai by the shortcomings of Eurosport. He says that the commentator needs to stop telling us what we can see for ourselves anyway; give out information as opposed to subjective opinions on who is or is not going to win the stage; and above all to desist from screaming and yelling down the TV when the sprint is winding up. Apparently, there was such a racket yesterday that Dai’s missus jumped out of the bath and ran down the stairs as she thought sombody was attacking him.

    If they aren’t careful, they’ll get the plug pulled on them, just like in 1984 when Italian TV cut short pictures of Moser’s Hour Record ride with under ten minutes to go and put on a cop show instead. (Streets of San Francisco apparently)

    So be warned cut out the racket and the inanity or Dai will be watching the other side