Tour de France: Wiggins crashes out, Cavendish wins stage
TOUR DE FRANCE 2011
- Saturday 2 July - Sunday 24 July
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Britain's Bradley Wiggins broke his collarbone as he crashed out of the Tour de France before compatriot Mark Cavendish went on to win stage seven.
The 31-year-old Team Sky rider - who was sixth overall when the Tour left Le Mans - was caught up in a multiple pile-up around 40km from the end of the 218km stage in Chateauroux.
Cavendish later clinched his second stage win of the 2011 Tour as Thor Hushovd retained the yellow jersey.
It was his 17th career Tour stage win.
The Manxman, third in this year's points competition and only 17 points off the leader Jose Joaquin Rojas, is now in the top 10 on the all-time list for stage victories.
The HTC-Highroad rider's latest victory came on the same road in Chateauroux as his maiden triumph in 2008.
"It's a very special day for me," said Cavendish.
"Out of all the stages this is the one I wanted [again]. I had to go for the intermediate sprint, which was really dangerous.
"A few of the riders are getting dangerous now. But the guys [support riders] were incredible today, I'm so proud of them staying together.
"I'm gutted for Bradley. People may doubt him, but he's in the best form of his life."
Team Sky's hopes of seeing Wiggins become the first Briton to finish on the podium ended around 43km from the end of the 218 km seventh stage to Chateauroux.
A visibly shaken Wiggins said: "It was just one of those things, I couldn't get up off the floor for love nor money.
"That's bike racing, these stages are part of the Tour de France. That's the risk you take as bike riders - it's unfortunate but life goes on."
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford, whose team had celebrated their first Tour stage victory when Edvald Boasson Hagen won on Thursday, said it was a bitter blow to lose the recently-crowned British road champion.
"It's obviously a devastating day for the team. Bradley's in great shape, team leader, it's the end of his Tour," said Brailsford.
"It's a shame we never got to see him going in the mountains. He was in the form of his life."
Welsh Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas lost possession of the white jersey for the best young rider on Friday, with Radobank's Robert Gesink taking it ahead of stage eight.
Both he and Boasson Hagen also dropped down the general classification.
Speaking on behalf of the eight remaining members of Team Sky, Thomas - who was ahead of the incident on a Tour which now seen eight riders withdraw - said: "It's obviously gutting for the team. I was really looking forward to riding for him in the mountains because he's in great shape.
"There was a lot of fighting all day, a lot of stress.
"We've been lucky up until now. We've managed to avoid it all. Unfortunately Brad had that crash. He was just behind and I heard it.
"He'll be back. Come the end of the season I'm sure he'll be up there at the worlds [the World Road Championships in Copenhagen] - and I'm sure he'll be back [at the Tour de France] next year."
STAGE SEVEN RESULT:
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR/ HTC-Highroad) 5 hours 38 minutes 53 seconds
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita/ Lampre - ISD) same time
3. Andre Greipel (Ger/ Omega Pharma-Lotto) "
4. Romain Feillu (Fra/ Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) "
5. William Bonnet (Fra/ FDJ) "
6. Denis Galimzyanov (Rus/ Katusha Team) "
7. Thor Hushovd (Nor/ Garmin-Cervelo) "
8. Sebastien Turgot (Fra/ Team Europcar) "
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa/ Movistar Team) "
10. Sebastien Hinault (Fra/ AG2R La Mondiale) "
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor/ Garmin-Cervelo) 28 hours 29 minutes 27 seconds
2. Cadel Evans (Aus/ BMC) +1"
3. Frank Schleck (Lux/ Leopard Trek) +4"
4. David Millar (GB/ Garmin-Cervelo) +8"
5. Andreas Kloeden (Ger/ RadioShack) +10"
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/ Leopard Trek) +12"
7. Andy Schleck (Lux/ Leopard Trek) same time,
8. Tony Martin (Ger/ HTC-Highroad) +13"
9. Peter Velits (Svk/ HTC-Highroad) same time
10. Robert Gesink (Ned/ Rabobank) +20"