Following the British Riders on the Tour de France - Stage 7
Le Mans - Châteauroux 215km | 2011 Tour de France Homepage
STAGE 7 IMAGES OF THE DAY
Bradley Wiggins sits in the road, his Tour de France at an end - whilst Mark Cavendish celebrates his 17th Tour stage win (AP Photo/Christophe Ena/Laurent Cipriani/Press Association Images)
Wiggins Out - Cavendish Takes Stage
British cycling fans endured the full spectrum of emotions in the last 40 minutes of the seventh stage of the 2011 Tour de France as Bradley Wiggins crashed out, then Mark Cavendish won the sprint to take his second win of this year's race.
The drama began when Bradley Wiggins was left sitting in the road after a large tangle of riders, involved in a crash in a forested section 36km out from the finish, cleared and re-mounted. It quickly became apparent that he was injured and for couple of minutes time seemed to stand still as the Sky Team leader was examined by race medical staff and made a brief and abortive attempt to get back on his bike.
His Sky team-mates, initially hoping they'd soon be pacing him back into the race, were eventually forced to go on without him. Wiggins was last seen heading for an ambulance cradling an arm, the victim of that classic cyclist's injury, a broken collarbone.
Back at the front of the race Mark Cavendish, benefitting from a superb team lead-out from HTC-Highroad, won the stage with a signature late burst of speed. It was close, with German André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) actually passing Cav' as he emerged from the protection of the HTC "train", but Manxman simply accelerated back past him to win by a length, with Greipel fading and ceding second to Italy's Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - ISD). It was Cav's 17th stage win in the Tour and the same venue as his first.
Behind Cavendish, there was a big split in the field, with only 80 riders not losing time. David Millar was the only other British rider in this lead group. Geraint Thomas was amongst those riders delayed and he was to relinquish the white jersey at the end of the stage, having lost over 3 minutes, along with all his remaining Sky team-mates, including Ben Swift.
After the stage Cavendish was clearly delighted with the win - "It's a very special day for me, it was here where I won my first stage and so it's a very sentimental moment. I have to thank the guys for all their work today, it was a hard windy day, and the guys rode hard for me all the way through. They were marvellous. It was an amazing leadout, I didn't have to do anything and I'm really proud of them all."
But it soon became clear that he was unaware of Wiggins' departure from the race and he was clearly upset when told the news.
More info: Read our Bradley Wiggins fact-file
STAGE 7 ON TWITTER
Bradley Wiggins' exit from the tour was, naturally, the talk of Twitter for the British riders in the race. First up, the man himself, with:
Reality kicking now drugs are wearing off, sad to be heading back so soon, can't thank everyone enough for the support
Given Brad's staunch anti-drugs stance and shock and disappointment following the crash, it's probably not fair to point out that some of the more cynical cycling pundits were sniggering at this tweet's reference to drugs.
So, moving swiftly onwards, it sometimes takes a child to put things in perspective:
My 6 year old son's first words to me on the phone" daddy does this mean you'll stop cycling now and never have to leave home again" kids!
Mark Cavendish's on camera response to the news that Wiggins was out will have done a lot to scotch th rumour that the pair don't get on, as will his tweet on the subject:
Really hope @bradwiggins is ok. Devastated for him. I guarantee he would've silenced some people this year. Top bloke.
Geraint Thomas's tweets summed up the feelings of the team, and indeed many of Bradley's fans:
Gutted for Brad and the team!! Worked so hard to turn it around after last year. That's sport I guess. He'll be back!!
And Thomas added another angle, perhaps more in anger than anything with this:
All this talk of rider safety... It comes down to us riders!! There are some right muppets in the peloton, even some GC riders!!
Finally on the subject, the photographer Graham Watson voiced the sense of loss many fans are feeling having seen Wiggins go out before he could show whether he was indeed capable of challenging for a podium spot:
I had very high hopes for Wiggins - but now we'll never know if he'd have got to podium
But the final word of the day must go to Mark Cavendish who continues to deliver year after year in this most challenging of races - his seventeenth stage win produced a typically team orientated response from Mark:
I crossed the line 1st, but I was absolutely nothing today without 8 of the most amazing guys I'd ever wish to be associated with. So proud.
STAGE 7 VIDEO
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad 5:38:53
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
3 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
4 Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
5 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
6 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team
7 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo
8 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar
9 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
10 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
18 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo
128 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:03:06
145 Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:03:06
DNF Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
General classification after stage 7
1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo 28:29:27
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:01
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:00:04
4 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:08
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 0:00:10
6 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:00:12
7 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
8 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:00:13
9 Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:20
38 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:03:18
59 Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad 0:06:06
70 Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:06:56
1 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 167 pts
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 156
3 Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad 150
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo 130
5 Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 99
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 98
7 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto 78
8 Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 76
9 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 60
10 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team 55
1 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 4 pts
2 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ 3
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 2
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 1
5 Mickaël Delage (Fra) FDJ 1
Young rider classification
1 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 28:29:47
2 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:01:53
3 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ 0:02:17
4 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:02:32
5 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:02:56
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:58
7 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
8 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:03:04
9 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:03:42
10 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 0:03:44
1 Team Garmin-Cervelo 84:39:01
2 Leopard Trek 0:00:04
3 Team RadioShack 0:00:10
4 HTC-Highroad 0:00:13
5 Quickstep Cycling Team 0:01:21
6 Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:34
7 Katusha Team 0:01:46
8 Team Europcar 0:02:10
9 Movistar Team 0:02:29
10 Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:02:53
11 FDJ 0:03:05
12 Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:03:07
13 AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:29
14 BMC Racing Team 0:04:28
15 Liquigas-Cannondale 0:04:41
16 Lampre - ISD 0:05:24
17 Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:05:25
18 Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:06:30
19 Pro Team Astana 0:07:49
20 Sky Procycling 0:09:20
21 Saur - Sojasun 0:09:27
22 Saxo Bank Sungard 0:12:32