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Cavendish lashes out

As American Tyler Farrar celebrated a first stage win a few metres away in the dusty bowl of the coach park, pre-race favourite Mark Cavendish was sitting on a step bemoaning his luck.

The Manx rider accused officials of picking on him after docking him points in the intermediate sprint which he had gained in typically abrasive fashion. The authorities deemed the fleeting clash of heads with race leader Thor Hushovd to have been illegal and docked both their points.

"Seriously no idea why?!" tweeted Cavendish, later adding: "Saw other riders in final (run-in) on TV and believe decisions are personal."

Cavendish had a strong opinion, too, on Romain Feillu's riding into the sharp left-handed corner 600 metres from the line, approached by the peloton at speeds approaching 70kph.

"I was fighting with Jose Rojas into the last corner and kamikaze Feillu came flying in," said Cavendish. "He causes havoc in every sprint. You ask every sprinter who causes havoc -- you might get a couple of Garmin guys saying me -- but most of the guys will say Feillu.

"He took me out on the last corner. I thought I was going to crash. I was 40m behind coming out of the last corner with no speed whatsoever. I went full gas, I gained 40m and finished with the front four."

Hushovd remains in yellow for today's 172.5km stage which has several nasty kinks, culminating in a two kilometre category-three slog to the finish. More mischief and mayhem look likely.

Irish Independent