The green jersey battle at the Tour de France took a controversial turn Friday when the race jury relegated Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and penalized him points in an intense sprint to the line against archrival Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).
The jury slapped down a heavy price on Goss after ruling that the Aussie impeded the sprint of green jersey holder Sagan for sixth-place points.
Goss was looking to be back in the battle for the maillot vert after finishing three places ahead of Sagan in the day’s intermediate sprint.
At the finish line in Annonay, however, things went sideways for Goss as Sagan protested at the line and the race jury took a critical eye to his sprint.
The jury ruled that Goss deviated from his line and impeded Sagan. As a result, Goss was not only relegated one spot in the sprint, but also slapped with a heavy, perhaps excessive 30-point penalty that gives Sagan a big lead with barely a week to go in the Tour. Despite his intermediate grab, Goss left the stage with less points than he entered.
Sagan didn’t hold back his frustration with the final sprint. Speaking to reporters in the mix zone, Sagan said Goss was out of line, literally.
“We can see in the video what [Matt] Goss did. It’s up to the race jury to decide, not me, but I think that it’s obvious in the video,” said Sagan. “He did that because we are two riders who are going for the green jersey. He’s the one who is doing battle with me but I hope I’m going to win that fight.”
Stage winner: David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) won his first Tour stage in nine years.
Yellow jersey: Bradley Wiggins (Sky) defended yellow with no major shakeups in GC.
Green jersey: Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) widened his lead to 254-198 to Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) after the Aussie was relegated and penalized for an erratic sprint.
Polka dot jersey: Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) kept the KOM jersey with no major shakeups.
White jersey: Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) earned another trip to the podium to pull on the U25 jersey.
Best team: RadioShack-Nissan stayed atop the team GC.
The peloton: Gesink, Moncoutie gone
Robert Gesink (Rabobank) did not start today with pain from a rib injury limiting his ability to breath deeply. David Moncoutie (Cofidis) and Tom Veelers (Argos-Shimano) did not finish.
Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis), Jeremy Roy (FDJ-BigMat), Maxime Bouet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Kris Boeckman (Vacansoleil-DCM) all received 50CHF fines for bidon collé (sticky bottle).
J.J. Haedo (Saxo Bank) fined 50CHF for irregular feeding.
Mark Cavendish (Sky) fined 30CHF for “temporary” drafting, 200 CHF for yelling at a commissaire — comportement incorrect envers un commissaire.
Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) fined 50CHF for prolonged drafting behind a vehicle.
Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) was relegated to last place in his group (which was a group of two, so he moves from 6th to 7th), penalized 30 points and 30 seconds, and fined 200CHF for deviation of line and putting a colleague in danger.
Roberto Kiserlovski (Astana) fined 100CHF for comportement incorrect.
Weather forecast: Increasing heat
Warm, summerlike weather continues, with highs in the upper 80s F, with a chance of afternoon showers and gusting breezes.
Tomorrow’s stage: Bastille Day sprint
The 99th Tour de France continues Saturday with a 217km 13th stage from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Cap d’Agde, on a rolling course that could see a bunch sprint if there are teams willing to chase down a breakaway. Expect Lotto-Belisol and Orica-GreenEdge to do most of the heavy lifting to keep attackers on a short leash, though Sky’s Dave Brailsford said Thursday that the team may work for Mark Cavendish.