Julian Dean has no sympathy for a rival thrown
out of the Tour de France today for repeatedly head-butting the New
Australian Mark Renshaw was disqualified from the tour after an
ugly head-butting incident as the two sprinters jockeyed for position
to lead out their team’s respective top riders in the final stages of
the 184.5km 11th stage to Bourg les Valence today.
The tactic seemingly worked as Renshaw’s HTC-Columbia teammate
Mark Cavendish secured the 13th tour stage win over his career, but
officials frowned upon the incident and immediately ejected Renshaw
from the tour.
Dean’s Garmin-Transitions teammate, American Tyler Farrar,
finished third, while Dean himself came 23rd, to sit 160th on general
classification, one hour 45 minutes behind the race leader, Andy
Schleck, of Luxembourg.
Renshaw head-butted Dean’s left shoulder three times, an attack
which left the experienced New Zealander fearing for the safety of
other riders had a crash ensued.
Dean supported the officials’ decision to disqualify Renshaw.
“It is very dangerous. It is hard enough to keep things upright in sprints anyway,” he told Radio Sport.
“They’re very tight and the consequences of a crash at that
speed at that stage of a race … some could have been very seriously
Dean, contesting his sixth Tour de France, said he was flabbergasted by Renshaw’s actions.
“It was quite unusual behaviour and certainly not very appropriate when you are sprinting along at 65k an hour.”
Dean said he came up alongside then went to pass Renshaw 400m
out from the finish when the Australian “started hitting me with his
“That’s why he was thrown off the race. It just came from nowhere. Where it’s directly so deliberate, it’s not on.”
Dean said he had done nothing to inflame the situation or prompt Renshaw’s actions.
“I did nothing wrong. If there was an ounce of doubt that the
commissaires felt I was out of place then they wouldn’t have thrown him
out of the race.”
Race officials acted quickly to eject Renshaw.
“This is cycling, it’s not wrestling,” course director Jean-Francois Pescheux said.
He said removing Renshaw was “severe” punishment, but that his violation was “flagrant”.
“There are rules to respect.”
Renshaw’s team believed his actions were justified.
“There was no other solution because Renshaw had both hands on
the handlebars, there was no other solution than get him away with the
head otherwise everybody would have ended up in the fence,”
HTC-Columbia sports director Rolf Aldag said.
“Sprinting is not kindergarten, if they come by each other,
shoulder against shoulder, elbow against elbow and if you can’t do that
you’d better do time trialling.”
Schleck retained the overall lead with a 41-second advantage over defending champion Alberto Contador.