Chris Froome is hoping for an incident-free day and the chance to take more time out of his Tour de France rivals today after Mark Cavendish was at the centre of a controversial finish in Saint-Malo last night.
Cavendish collided with Dutchman Tom Veelers 100 metres from the line on stage 10 as the Manxman tried to get in position for a sprint finish, and Veelers demanded Cavendish be disqualified after tumbling to the ground.
Cavendish stayed upright to finish third behind Veelers’ team-mate Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel, and race organisers verified that result, saying Veelers was more the man at fault as he was easing off after delivering Kittel to the finish.
But that verdict only came after Cavendish had reacted angrily to questioning about the incident. “The road was bearing left,” he said.
“I know you’re trying to get all the ‘Mark Cavendish is a really bad sprinter’ stuff again but with 150 metres to go the road bears left. All I do is follow the road.”
Veelers fumed: “I’m a little finished with Cavendish,” while Greipel described the incident as “Unnecessary and scary s***” on Twitter.
As the dust settled, Cavendish was no closer to getting back into the battle for the green jersey, trailing Peter Sagan by 103 points and Greipel by 20, while he must also wait to tie Andre Leducq, who remains alone in third on the all-time for Tour stage wins with 25.
There will be little danger of a crash today with the first of the two individual time trials in this year’s Tour. Froome in the yellow jersey was close behind when Veelers fell but got past safely to remain one minute and 25 seconds ahead of closest challenger Alejandro Valverde in the general classification.