Tour de France: Feillu draws confidence from frustrating second place
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Monday, July 4, 2011

Tour de France: Feillu draws confidence from frustrating second place

by Conal Andrews at 4:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Cavendish critical of French sprinter

Romain FeilluTyler Farrar did everything perfectly to win today’s third stage of the Tour de France, but the rider who finished just behind him believes that he might have been first to the line had things played out different. “I have mixed feelings, [being] disappointed and satisfied,” said 27 year old Vacansoleil-DCM sprinter Roman Feillu. “It is a pity that I got boxed in because this was a great opportunity.”

Feillu put in a strong burst inside the final 100 metres and was clearly moving faster than Farrar, who started his sprint from further out. However he didn’t have time to get by before the line, and was left regretting what might have been.

“The sprint is what it is: if there is no place you can not squeeze through,” he said. “Looking back, I should have started sprinting earlier, that would have kept me from getting boxed in. It was my only mistake. I knew right away that I was beaten, but it was close. This is the biggest race in the world and this second place gives me and the team confidence for the near future.”

Feillu’s result was not without controversy, however, as HTC Highroad sprinter Mark Cavendish blamed him afterwards for what he said was dangerous riding.

“I was fighting with Rojas into the last corner and kamikaze Feillu came flying in,” he told reporters at the finish. “I thought I was going to crash. I thought I was coming down. I was 40 metres behind coming out of the last corner with no speed whatsoever.”

Cavendish had been well placed up to that point, but suddenly disappeared from contention. He dug in to try to get back on terms, but was unable to do so. However he got some encouragement anyway. “I went full gas. I gained 40 metres and finished with the front four and I gained points - it just shows my form.”

Tomorrow’s stage finish is too tough for the sprinters, but Cavendish, Feillu, Farrar and others will most likely square up again on Wednesday. The HTC Highroad rider said that he fancies his chances in the sprints ahead.

“I think it’s going to take a very uneducated person to write me off this year,” Cavendish told AFP. “I’ve got great form, the team’s got great form, it’s just a bit of bad luck [today].”


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