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"I was third at the line, so I'm happy with that considering the big shoes of Mark Cavendish to fill. I didn't come here to sprint, I came here to leadout Mark, but things had to change now that he crashed."

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele

JAN BAKELANTS

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MARK RENSHAW

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QUICK-STEP - ALPHA VINYL

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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07.07.2014 @ 20:35 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Mark Renshaw went into the Tour de France as the final lead-out man for Mark Cavendish but after the Brit has crashed out of of the race, the Australian has taken over the role as lead sprinter. Today he finished third in stage 3 but admitted that it was hard to fill Cavendish's big shoes.

 

Australian rider Mark Renshaw assumed the role of sprinter for the bunch sprint finale of 155km Tour de France Stage 3, from Cambridge to London, on Monday.

 

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team lined up on the front for their teammate when Jan Barta (Team NetApp-Endura), who went solo in the late kilometers out of a two-man breakaway, was caught with 6km to go. Renshaw went on to earn a 3rd place finish behind stage winner Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

 

Tony Martin, Alessandro Petacchi, Michal Kwiatkowski, and Matteo Trentin were the train for Renshaw. Trentin was the final leadout man and guided Renshaw into position in the final few hundred meters.

 

Renshaw took over the role of sprinter from British rider Mark Cavendish, who withdrew from the race after a Stage 1 crash.

Kwiatkowski also finished 3rd for OPQS in Stage 2.

 

Tour de France has wrapped up its British stages. OPQS looks next to 163.5km Stage 4, from Le Touquet Paris-Plage to Lille, on Tuesday. It's another flat stage for the peloton.

 

"I was third at the line, so I'm happy with that considering the big shoes of Mark Cavendish to fill," Renshaw said. "I didn't come here to sprint, I came here to leadout Mark, but things had to change now that he crashed. So, like I said, big shoes to fill. But I am satisfied with third behind two really strong guys like Kittel and Sagan.

 

"The last corner was more like two or three corners rolled into one, so with the rain it was pretty slippery. Everyone took it slow. I managed to get the inside line, sprint on to Sagan's wheel, and basically the last 200 or 300 meters nothing changed. It was Kittel to the line with Sagan, and me on his wheel.

 

"But I have to say the team rode really well today. I'm proud that they got behind me in support of my new role. It shows we pulled together really well and our result today is nothing to be ashamed of.

 

"We'll see what happens in the next days. We've got some great riders in the team that can also take chances. My legs are good, I could tell at the start of the race. It's a big shame to be without Cavendish, and considering the result today we miss him even more. But we've got plenty of other possible objectives we can go for with a strong group of riders."

 

Jan Bakelants crashed, but was able to finish the race in 92nd place.

 

"I crashed twice today," Bakelants said. "The second time was in the feed zone because someone threw a bottle right in front of me when I was taking stuff out of my feed bag. I had no hands on the handlebar. I have a few abrasions. Of course it's not the ideal situation for the next days, but I'll see day-by-day and I have to keep going as best I can."

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