Cavendish`s 13th win marred by Renshaw incident

Paris: Sprinter Mark Cavendish`s 13th Tour de France victory of his career on Thursday was not his luckiest as close aide Mark Renshaw was disqualified over a head-butting incident.

HTC-Columbia rider Renshaw led in the final stretch when New Zealand`s Julian Dean, working for sprinter Tyler Farrar, tried to block his way.

Australian Renshaw head-butted the Garmin Transitions rider twice to keep him out of the way of Cavendish, who surged to his third stage win of this Tour.

The Briton won ahead of Italy`s Alessandro Petacchi, who took the green points jersey, while American Farrar was third.

"Renshaw`s out. We saw the film once and it`s blatant. He head-butted Dean twice like in a keirin race," said Tour technical director Jean-Francois Pescheux.

"This is cycling, not fighting. Everybody could have ended up on their backs."

The decision to rule out Renshaw did not affect the race result and Farrar conceded defeat.

"Cav did a neat sprint. He`s not to blame. But they don`t need to race like that. I want to win but I don`t want to crash," Farrar told reporters.

Renshaw`s team believed his actions in the run up to the finish of the 184.5-km 11th stage were justified.

"There was no other solution because Renshaw had both hands on the handlebars, there was no other solution than get him away with the head otherwise everybody would have ended up in the fence," HTC-Columbia sports director Rolf Aldag told reporters.

"Sprinting is not kindergarten, if they come by each other, shoulder against shoulder, elbow against elbow and if you can`t do that you`d better do time trialling."

Cavendish added: It`s against what we as a team believe happened. I`m very sad."

Luxembourg`s Andy Schleck retained the overall lead with a 41-second advantage over defending champion Alberto Contador.

Cavendish`s 13th career victory in the race is a performance unequalled by any sprinter in the last two decades.

The 25-year-old has eclipsed sprinting greats such as his mentor Erik Zabel of Germany, Italian Mario Cipollini and Australia`s Robbie McEwen.

Bureau Report

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