HTC one man down

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Mark Renshaw of HTC-Columbia, has been given le-boot today after doing a little headbutting in the final stretch. Personally, I think this punishment is too harsh and complete bullshit. Garmin rider Julian Dean made an attempt to squeeze up the side and force Renshaw off his line, but he held it and gave a lil something back. You think he’ll just move over or brake for ‘ol limp wrist Farrar to come alongside? Fuck that! Hold your line and lean on the fugger. Send him back to the bus to watch tape of how once again Garmin got schooled. Dudes are riding along at over 38mph, touching handlebars, leaning and pushing back and this is to be expected. Now, the organizers will let two riders throw fist-a-cuffs and use a spare wheel as a weapon and walk with a paltry fine, but they give Renshaw the boot? This is a bit extreme.

Australian Mark Renshaw was disqualified from the Tour de France today for his aggressive actions in the sprint finish of the 11th stage to Bourg-les-Valence. The HTC-Columbia lead out man for Cavendish had help the Manxman win three stages in this year’s race.

Race director Jean-Francois Pescheux reviewed the film, which shows Renshaw repeatedly head-butting Garmin-Transitions man Julian Dean, who was leading out Tyler Farrar. The move delayed Farrar’s ability to sprint.

“Renshaw hit [Dean] with his head, much like in a keirin. But we are in the sport of cycling, we’re not in combat. They all could have ended up on their backs tonight. We can not accept that.”

More over at

You make the call, but I think the two bitches slapping each other after the finish deserved an early exit long before Renshaw did.

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UPDATE: Here’s the aerial shot from the Lance Channel. Click on the link and watch the vid…Time 1:39-1:45. Watch as Dean clearly leans on and pushes Renshaw to the left. Dean also places his elbow over Renshaw’s and starts leaning away. Rubin’s racing, Harry and Dean got his. Now, also watch as riders behind are moving around more than a fart in a wind tunnel. Fuggers are going right, left and all over the place. Thor moves over on an AG2R rider towards the barricade. A Rabobank rider forces a Sky rider very close to the barricade…Bbox rider moves over on Thor…Fuck people, this is a sprint. Too sketchy for ya? Move to the back.

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About Flodizzle

Another cyclist toiling away in graduate school. Go figure. Tucson, Arizona, USA

40 Replies to “HTC one man down”

  1. The lead out man Mark Renshaw ought to get a bonus, not the boot.
    And those guys fighting – that was AFTER the race… doesn’t count, right?

  2. The Tour officials have generally taken a very dim view of such conduct during a mass sprint. Tom Steels in 1997 comes to mind:

    “Belgium’s Tom Steels has been expelled from the Tour for violent behaviour during the sprint for the line. . . Steels was seen by Tour officials to throw his water bottle at the Frenchman Frederic Moncassin.”

    Read the rest:

    Video of the stage finish:

    I think expelling Renshaw was the correct decision in this instance. He threw a series of headbutts into Julian Dean & he then took Tyler Farrar into the barriers. Both are quite serious, combined they are even more concerning. It sends a strong message. And it send the right message.

  3. He totally deserves to be thrown out. At the lead of a 40mph sprint, his headbutting had it taken somebody could have had a serious impact on the entire peleton. The school yard fight after the race was just plain childish, but it only endangered the two guys.

  4. …headbut ???…i swear i heard aussie renshaw saying “i love you, man” when he “leaned over” in companionship towards his kiwi mate julien dean…

  5. Agreed, watching the vid it appeared that Renshaw was acting dangerously, and not with the purpose of protecting his man. Road racing is sketchy, which is why I stick to mtbiking.

  6. Renshaw’s irregular sprinting directly affected the outcome of the stage. That should not be tolerated. A couple of mid-pack riders having slap-fight after the stage makes no difference to anyone— just good for laughs.

    It’s too bad, Renshaw is probably the best lead out man in the business these days— with Julian Dean very nearly comparable.

    Too bad the only really interesting race at this point is for third place overall.

  7. I didn’t think the head butt was too far out of line. He had plenty of room on the left, but Dean was coming up close. Robbie McEwen did the same thing a couple of years ago and was just relegated for the stage. However, right afterward he looked over his shoulder then cut into Farrar’s line hard enough that he had to take a hand off the bars. That’s just bullshit. Tyler wouldn’t have gotten the win if it hadn’t happened, but he would have held off Pettachi.

  8. …’frankie a’ made a decent comment while interviewing julien dean when he suggested that renshaw was headbutting not for space or position but for simply being challenged by dean…

    …as mikey sez, renshaw’s the best & i’d say while he’s tough & fast, he usually rides pretty clean…

    …today, not so much…

  9. In Renshaws’ interview he alternates between grasping for justifications and downplaying the magnitude of his play.
    Based on his words and reaction I’d bet he knew quite well he was in deep shit. I’d also bet he plays it a lot cleaner in future.

    Good call on the official but hard luck for HTC.

  10. I think the headbutting was within reason (remember the McEwen vs O’Grady from a few years back), but the way he looked back, saw Farrar, and then swerved into his path…that’s what got him “le boot.”

  11. I’m not a huge fan of road racing but it’s stuff like this that makes it interesting at times. I come from a BMX background so I can identify with the physical communication that occurred. I agree with giving some bastard who’s trying to cut you out a strong message of your intent. The man doing the headbutting obviously has the bike handling skills to do such a thing, he didn’t seem to waver off his line too much while he was using his helmet as a ball-peen. At the same time there could have been a huge accident because of his actions. I know moves like this aren’t acceptable in BMX racing today, not even a throw of an elbow will be tolerated. I personally think elbow throwing should be part of BMX racing, 4X as well, but that’s on a dirt track with only 4 – 10 people in the pack. But on an asphalt surface with how many in the pack? 40? 50? At what speeds? It might get out of control and ugly really, really fast….But I still like to see it happen without anyone going down.

  12. the headbutting was/looked ineffective and silly, but who doesn’t want to throw a water bottle at a Frenchman? that at least had some cathartic effect.

  13. If he’d a done the Silca in the spokes trick like in “Breaking Away”, maybe. Rubbin’s racin’.

  14. …farrar really did do an admirable job in getting 3rd…

    …he fights to get up there wherein renshaw definitely deviates his line & runs him towards the barrier…he has to interrupt his momentum to put a hand on renshaw…he works back up to speed again just as petacchi comes across his wheel to jump into cav’s slipstream…chopped @ every opportunity…

    …he also deserves credit for being so damn polite in post race interviews…he referenced the situation but he didn’t whine about it…

    …i like renshaw & he & cavendish are THE one – two punch right now…they get it right more than any other combo but mister renshaw shot hisself in the foot today…

  15. Look at the video again. He gave at least one, maybe two extra headbutts than he needed to hold his line. And then he CLEARLY looked back, saw Farrar coming, and move over to block. Overall he made the sprint more dangerous and unfair. He acted as if HTC is ENTITLED to be the lead train in every sprint. They are not.

    I would like to think Cav can win most sprints fairly and that he doesn’t need dirty riding from his teammates. Sprinting is tough business and there is bound be lots of banging but in this case Renshaw crossed the line.

    Those to bitches fighting after the race? Completely different level of danger to other riders and impact on the race.

  16. Durn burn you, el jefe! Made me snort Pottsville’s finest out my nose.

  17. No room for this at the end of a Tour stage. No room at all. It’s dangerous, and he could be affecting other people’s livliehoods, as in, he could seriously injure someone for no good reason.

    See ya later Renshaw.

  18. The headbutts were wrong and he deserves the boot. Watch how after cavendish passes him Renshaw starts swerving all over the road. Pot meet kettle. He would have got away with one headbutt.

  19. Unsportsmanlike behavior . Disqualification on the stage , out of tour , warning to Renshaw , fine him 1000 swiss . FUCKING IDIOT .

  20. Reply #17 (Matty D) hit the nail on the head – he went way above what was reasonable and then changed his line in order to block the sprinter from a rival team. That’s dangerous and reckless; unnecessary injuries occur when garbage like this is allowed.

    Booting him outta the Tour was the right choice, IMHO.

  21. Let’s quit bullshitting and see what the rule book says. Does anyone know what the rule book says? Any clause included: ‘headbutting strictly prohibited?’ or something to that effect?

  22. I have to admit, indeed – Cavendish has had his stage wins and the cost could have been great this time. Was Renshaw just trying to not get shoved in the fence (it did create an opening) or was it get ‘dish up there at all costs? I see some serious aggression in these races. How is it going to be in 2020 when the bikes are helium impregnated carbon foam and weigh 10 pounds?

  23. He was headbutting so well I’m starting to suspect he had a tiny little headbutting motor in his helmet.

  24. I’ve never raced so maybe I need an explanation. HTC has one of the most talented lead outs and, by far, the fastest cat on two wheels. Why all the other crap? If they put the hammer down, Cav remembers his lithium, they win fair and square. Right? It’s a shame. If there’s something I’m missing I’m all ears (eyes).

  25. Shit looked like good old fashioned racing to me.
    Nobody was put in danger because of the head butts.
    Nothing was out of control.
    HTC Dude was helping Garmin dude understand the order of things.
    As it should be.
    Sprinting heaven.

  26. Gnome, thank you. I could not say it better. So on what grounds or explanation was he removed from the race? And, again – what does the rule book say? Anyone know?

  27. Fuck man, even in piddly-ass pro-am regional races headbutts get laid all the time. (And I’d wager most of the people calling for Renshaw’s head have never been at the front of an honest-to-god bunch sprint. Contact happens. All. The. Fucking. Time.) The big issue is that TdF organization HATES Cavendish. This had nothing to do with Renshaw — it was to punish Cavendish for having the gall to win stages.

  28. “The big issue is that TdF organization HATES Cavendish. This had nothing to do with Renshaw — it was to punish Cavendish for having the gall to win stages.”

    @Aaron— ah, this conspiracy theory was inevitable. Just like they hate Lance for spending so much time on the top step.

    Pop quiz: who lead 800M of the last kilometer of the 2009 Tour de France? (Hint: he wore a yellow and white kit.)

  29. In New Zealand this has been reported as just another case of dirty Aussie poor sportsmanship, haha, 3rd main story in the news. Watching it I think Julz was slowing and swerving into Renshaw’s path and deserved what he got. (Even though he’s a fellow Kiwi and the man…)

  30. I checked out the french websites and read the original commissaires statement: It’s all about looking over his shoulder and putting Farrar in the barriers – if Farrar had not taken a hand off his bars and pushed against Renshaw, it would have ended in a crash, a big one.
    JF Bernard said that the head butts are ok because neither sprinter took their hands off their bars, stayed on their line and was outside the final 200m. At most it would have ended with a fine.

  31. Disclaimer: I’m a skip, so I’m biased, and part of a nation of bad sports according to a large number of comments on various sites.
    Renshaw kept his hands on the bars the whole sprint as required under the rules. Dean hooked an elbow over him prior to the incident; Renshaw was just getting free and shareing his displeasure.
    There was no way Garmin were going to beat HTC in a straight sprint, so Dean tried to block; fair enough, then Renshaw pushed him off; again fair enough.
    After letting the Manx man loose, Renshaw engaged in a completely dirty move, pushing Farrar toward the barriers; possibly motivated by a bit of old testement ‘eye for an eye’.
    Renshaw is at fault for blocking Farrar Do the UCI rules allow for relegating Renshaw and Cavendish? To my mind that would have been a more suitable punishment.

  32. I think Julz was the only dude to finish all last year’s grand tours, he’s awesome.

    The media got better pictures of the headbutting so that’s what they’re reporting, rather than Renshaw running Farrar into the barriers, figures.

  33. @littlejar: While there’s no specific rule on head butting, race officials seem to take the position that one hit is pushing someone away but three or four is just being an asshole. Especially when the person you’re headbutting is overtaking you. On the other hand, UCI rule 2.3.036 is pretty specific about, “Riders shall be strictly forbidden to deviate from the lane they selected when launching into the sprint and, in doing so, endangering others.” If you watch the clip on Versus, Renshaw clearly looked over his shoulder at Farrar coming around him then swerved to put him into the barriers.

  34. …the head butting was ruled inconsequential as both riders keep their hands on the bars, so the infraction was defined as renshaw riding farrar into the barriers…i initially agreed with that assessment…

    …in retrospect & on further review, i see dean forcing renshaw towards the barriers which precipitated the head butting & which, had it worked, would in turn limit cavendish’s room to come off the wheel…renshaw fought back to give his man room to “go” & afterwards, in doing so, moved over which limited farrar’s room…

    …it may well have been as poor a decision on farrars part to go to his left in search of cavendish’s wheel as much as it was augmented by renshaw moving over…i’m not so sure now that perhaps it should have been renshaw being nothing more than relegated with dean sustaining the more severe penalty…

  35. This is a head butt:

    His was more like a balancing nudge and the 3rd one was pretty close to the barriers, so I think there was some excitement behind the action.

    Clearly Renshaw didn’t turn his head enough to see and target Farrar, he moved out of Petacchi’s way.

    For all Farrar’s crying and moaning, he just quit the Tour. Guess he didn’t want to try the head to head with Cav since he can’t blame the Renshaw lead out for his flat performance. Why is Farrar such a big story? Farrar=0 TdF stage wins, Cav=13 TdF stage wins. Why do people want him to win soooo bad, he’s the great American hope…