Right at the beginning of the race, there is a break. At 127km, there is another breakaway attempt. For this stage, I’m watching it on EuroSport.
Pineau gets some points by going up the mountain climb 4th. At 120km, the lead is about 3 minutes. Two French riders from Française-des-jeux and Cofidis are part of the breakaway, with one rider from Footon Cervetto.
I didn’t like Eurosport’s coverage so I switched to ITV4. Paul Sherwen and Phil Ligett really do a great job. Robbie Hunter is out with a broken arm. Geslin, Auget, and Benitez are at 1:35 ahead of the peloton.
At 27.5km, the peloton is at 16″. With a few accelerating attacks, the lead pack drops the racer from Française-des-jeux. At 22km, the breakaway is caught. Auge and Benitez congratulate themselves. This leaves the sprinting teams ready to organize themselves for the bunch sprint.
At 15km, Saxo Bank is keeping a blistering pace to attack Contador, who’s Astana team is decimated out of the peloton. Most of the Spanish Astana riders have trouble. Cancellara is at the front time trialing his team leader Andy Schleck to the finish at 54 kph. At 8km, Chavanel makes a move followed by Radioshack’s Popovich. HTC has moved to the front as Saxo Bank has stepped off the gas. They are quickly caught a kilometer later. The peloton is at 60 kph.
At 3km, Team Lampré is at the front. Thor Hushovd is there. Team Sky is trying to get organized, but they only have 3 or 4 riders in the front. The speed is 62kph now. Cancellara is at the back of the peloton.
At 1 km to go, HTC gets Renshaw as the lead out man for Cavendish. He was head-butting Julian Dean from Garmin Transitions away to give enough space to Cavendish. Cavendish accelerates and wins the stage. Petacchi gets 2nd so Hushovd loses the green jersey. When Renshaw dropped back, Dean gave him a few pushes.
Renshaw is disqualified from the Tour for head-butting Dean.