Kittel and Cavendish out of Tour after missing time cut
LA ROSIERE, France (AP) — Record-chasing Mark Cavendish and Germany's Marcel Kittel are out of the Tour de France.
Cavendish and Kittel, two of cycling's top sprinters, were disqualified from the Tour on Wednesday after proving too slow on its grueling Stage 11 in the Alps.
The pair have a combined 44 career wins at the Tour but both riders finished well beyond the allowed time limit on the 108.5-kilometer (67-mile) leg from Albertville to La Rosiere near the Italian border.
Cavendish struggled across the finish line atop the summit more than 1 hour, 5 minutes after stage winner Geraint Thomas. That was more than double the 31 minutes allowed.
Cavendish entered the race hoping to add to his 30 stage wins at the Tour and close in on Eddy Merckx's record of 34.
The 30-year-old Kittel, a rider for Katusha, also missed the cut after finishing 44 minutes behind Thomas. He has won 14 stages at the Tour, including five at the 2017 edition.
Cavendish's teammate for Dimension Data, Mark Renshaw, also finished too late.
The 33-year-old Cavendish, who is from the Isle of Man, won four stages at the 2016 Tour. But he had to pull out of the 2017 Tour on the fourth stage when he broke his shoulder in a crash following a clash with Peter Sagan, who was then expelled for causing the injury.
Cavendish had not seriously contested any of the six sprint finishes already featured at this edition of the Tour. With the race now in the southern mountains, there are only two flat stages left before the traditional finish in Paris.
Katusha said Kittel's teammate, Rick Zabel, will be allowed to continue in the Tour after race organizers showed clemency since he only missed the cut by 3 seconds.
The time cut for a stage is calculated on a percentage of the stage winner's time, and the length and difficulty of the leg.