Combined, they count 44 stage victories on the Tour de France between them but Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel’s 2018 race’s came to an abrupt end on the slopes of La Rosière on Stage 11. The mountain stage featured four classified climbs including two hors catégorie ascents in just 108-km of racing. The two fastmen were in difficulty early in the stage and despite support by teammates did not make the time cut on the stage. The stage was won by Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas who moved into the yellow jersey.
Cavendish and Kittel’s seasons were built around the Tour de France but the pair will go home without stage wins. Kittels best finish was third on the races opening stage while Cavendish managed only two top-10 placings. Last year, Kittel was the king of sprints winning five stages before dropping out of the race. Cavendish won four stages in 2016.
The time cut off on Stage 11 was 31:27 and Kittel’s teammate Rick Zabel crossed the linea couple of seconds after the cut-off but the race jury decided he would be allowed to continue. Kittel, Cavendish and Cavendsh’s lead-out man Mark Renshaw were not so lucky coming across the line well after the time-cut came and went.
— Team Dimension Data (@TeamDiData) July 18, 2018
— Team KATUSHA ALPECIN (@katushacycling) July 18, 2018
The pair had struggled throughout the race to repeat the glories of their past Tour’s. In addition, it was evident they were struggling in the mountains. On Stage 10 Kittel, Cavendish and Renshaw were in a group of 11 riders who came within 30-seconds of the time cut off. Dylan Groenewegen who has won two stages of this year’s race was one of the last riders to make the time-cut.
Tomorrow’s Stage 12 will also prove trying for the heavier men in the peloton as well as the GC riders who face Alpe d’Huez. The stage also includes the Col de la Madeleine and the Col de la Croix de Fer. All three are HC but at 175-km, the cut-off time should be more generous to those less comfortable in the mountains.