Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Who's in Green? #TDF Stage 5

At the intermediate sprint in today's race Tom Boonen moved across towards the left hand barrier, making Jose Joaquin Rojas the wearer of the Green Jersey also move across. Unlike in stage 3 when Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd were relegated from the sprint a rider was impeded by this change of lane. That rider ironically was Mark Cavendish.

Let us look at the rule book:

2.3.036 Sprints Riders shall be strictly forbidden to deviate from the lane they selected when launching into the sprint and, in so doing, endangering others. from the UCI rules

If there is to be consistency then Rojas has to lose his 7 points from the sprint and Boonen his ten. The result would mean that Cavendish would have got 2 of the 10 he was docked on Monday back, Philippe Gilbert who finished just behind Rojas would also have gained 2 more points.

Watch the incident here at 1:25 in.

At the presentation of Jersey's today at the Cap Fréhel the Green Jersey was returned to shoulder of Rojas who came third in the final sprint just behind Gilbert who was second and Cavendish who took the win. But overall in the Green Jersey it was tight 119 Rojas to 118 Gilbert.

If Rojas loses his 7 points for impeding, he would only be in 112 and Gilbert should be on 120. Since Monday Cavendish has been saying that he is unable to push anyone off him who takes his line, he said it happened again to day long before the finish, because he is left defenceless to keep his line against a bigger rider. Of that final run in finish he said:

"What can I do? What am I supposed to do if somebody who's over six foot tall bashes into me? I'm not allowed to defend myself so I just have to accept getting bashed."
He as defenceless here again at the intermediate sprint, his lane basically disappeared. Should be an easy decision for the race commissaries. We await their judgement, if they make none then it is a person vendetta against the Manx Missile.

Update I've been out playing bowls, but on checking the news I find that  the race's competition director, Jean-Francois Pescheux has said:

"After reviewing the intermediate sprint it has been decided by the race jury to relegate Jose Joaquin Rojas and Tom Boonen from the intermediate sprin
"Both riders blocked Cavendish when he was trying to race up the inside. As a result both riders lose the points. The green jersey now goes to Philippe Gilbert." 

So consistency is being upheld at least at the intermediate sprints but there is still some dispute about the same thing going on at the final sprints.

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