TdF 2011 - Stage 19

Yet another day of Grupetto madness today as Mark (along with 81 other riders) finished outside the time limit for the second day - resulting in another loss of 20 points, the only consolation being that 2nd placed Joaquin Rojas Jose was also outside the time limit. Today's stage pitted the riders on the legendary climb of the Alpe-d'Huez and it clearly proved a struggle for over half the field - as was Stage 18... Whether this is down to the pace at the front end of the field, or the Grupetto organsing themselves to save their legs, who knows... Mark was interviewed by ITV4 after the stage: "It's a real relief, it's as if the Tour's over." You can watch the interview by Ned Boulting here.

As things currently stand the top 5 in the points classification are:

  • 1. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad - 280 points
  • 2. Joaquin Rojas Jose, Movistar Team - 265 points
  • 3. Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto - 230 points
  • 4. Thor Hushovd, Team Garmin-Cervelo - 195 points
  • 5. Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team - 191 points.
There are still a maximum of 85 points available (1st place = 20 points for the ITT tomorrow, then 20 points for the intermediate sprint and 45 points for the finish line sprint on Sunday), so Mark will have to work hard - on Sunday - to ensure overall victory...

Tomorrow's ITT sees Cadel Evans firmly installed as overall race favourite, even if he is downplaying his chances...

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