Renshaw kicked off Tour for butt

Renshaw kicked off Tour for butt
By Reuters

16/07/2010 at 18:40Updated 16/07/2010 at 21:08

Australian Mark Renshaw, the lead-out man for sprinter Mark Cavendish, was kicked out of the Tour de France for head-butting New Zealand's Julian Dean in the finale of the 11th stage.

"Renshaw is out. We watched the film once and it was blatant. He head-butted Dean like in a keirin race," said Tour technical director Jean-Francois Pescheux.

"This is cycling, not fighting. Everybody could have ended up on their backs."

Renshaw helped Columbia team mate Cavendish snatch his 13th career Tour stage victory and third of this year's race in Bourg-les-Valence.

Renshaw believed his actions in the run up to the finish of the 184.5km stage were justified.

"I'm extremely disappointed and also surprised at this decision. I never imagined I would be removed from any race especially the Tour de France," he said.

"I pride myself on being a very fair, safe and a straight up sprinter and never in my career have I received a fine or even a warning.

"Julian came hard in on my position with his elbows. I needed to use my head to retain balance or there would have been a crash. If had used my elbows when Julian brought his elbow on top of mine we would also have crashed. The object was to hold my line and stay upright.

"I hadn't started the sprint yet. We were still at 375m to go. After that Cavendish had to start his sprint early and I was also ready to finish off the sprint as I still had a lot left in my legs.

"It would have been good to try to take some more points. I only saw open space on my left. I had no idea Tyler Farrar was there. By no means would I ever put any of my fellow riders in danger."

Renshaw's head-butt on Dean

Renshaw's post-stage reaction