CHATEAUROUX, France — The first week of the Tour de France concluded today on another crash-marred day with Mark Cavendish claiming the 135.1-mile Stage 7 from Le Mans.
Cavendish, who also won Stage 6, completed the flattest stage of the 21-day race in another sprint finish in 5 hours, 38 minutes and 53 seconds for his 17th career Tour de France stage win.
For the second straight stage among the nine sprinter stages in the race’s 98th edition, Tyler Farrar didn’t contend for the sprint. The Wenatchee rider, competing in his third Tour de France, finished 172nd among the 190 stage finishers and is 142nd overall, trailing by 16:12.
In the sixth stage, Farrar said he didn’t have strong legs and told Garmin-Cervelo teammate and race leader Thor Hushovd of Norway to “go for it.”
Farrar was among numerous riders who went down in a crash with about 25 miles left in Stage 7. Farrar returned to his bike as did the majority of the fallen. But Bradley Wiggins (Sky) of Great Britain, who placed fourth overall in 2009, abandoned the race with a suspected fractured collarbone, as did Chris Horner of Bend, Ore., (RadioShack), who was 10th overall last year.
As the waning moments of the seventh stage unfolded, Jonathan Vaugers, the team’s manager, said via Twitter that Farrar wasn’t going for the sprint.
Hushovd, who assumed the race lead when his team claimed the stage 2 team time trial, finished sixth in the stage. He kept his one-second margin over Cadel Evans (BMC) of Australia, twice an overall race runner-up. Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) of Luxembourg is third overall, trailing by four seconds.
Farrar, who claimed his first career Tour de France victory in stage 3, now has until Tuesday befor the next sprinter’s stage