Cerv?lo Test Team was once again in the thick of the action Saturday at the 2009 Tour de France as Hayden Roulston joined the winning 12-man breakaway and attacked to finish third in the 199km 14th stage from Colmar to Besancon.
Russian rider Serguei Ivanov attacked with about 11km to go to solo to victory. Roulston chased in vain, but the Russian crossed the line 16 seconds clear.
"I was there to win the stage. You had to be strong and smart to win today, and I just missed out, so I am a little bit disappointed," said Roulston, a winner of two Olympic medals on the track last summer in Beijing. "It’s always a 50-50 thing (when a rider attacks out of break), do you or don’t you. Do you chase and let someone else attack you or do you wait? There was still 10km to go (when Ivanov attacked), so I waited. It turns out it was a harder day than people thought."
Italian Rinaldo Nocentini retained the leader’s jersey and Cerv?lo’s Carlos Sastre finished 94th safely tucked in the main pack at 5:36 back.
There were no major shakeups in the overall rankings, through George Hincapie climbed into second place thanks to the breakaway effort. Sastre was bumped to 17th overall, but lost no time to his rivals and remains 2:52 back.
"What can happen tomorrow? I really don’t know," Sastre said at the finish line when asked about Sunday’s climbing stage. "This Tour is so strange and odd, that everything is possible and maybe nothing will happen at all. It’s all but impossible to say what’s going to happen."
The rolling stage also saw a controversial bunch sprint when British rider Mark Cavendish nudged Cerv?lo’s Thor Hushovd too close to the race barriers in the important points sprint. Even though the stage is over, the finish-line points are still critical in the close fight for the green jersey.
Cavendish was later relegated to last place in the main pack for dangerous sprinting.
"It was the correct decision. The sprint Cavendish made was not fair," Hushovd said. "That’s not correct what he did today. I had to brake. I could have passed him, but I had to brake. It’s OK if he’s faster than me, I accept it, when he doesn’t follow the rules, then that’s not good."
The decision had an immediate impact on the green jersey standings. Cavendish earned no points while Hushovd claimed 13 points after crossing the line 13th in the bunch, expanding his lead to Cavendish to 218-200.