Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Mark Cavendish came in 3rd in a hectic bunch sprint finale of 197km Stage 10 of the Tour de France, won by Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano).
Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) was 2nd. Cavendish finished on the podium despite making contact with Kittel's leadout man, Tom Veelers, while trying to go left. Veelers crashed as a result of the contact.
"For the sprint we ran out of guys and Gert went early with just under a kilometer to go," Cavendish said. "It would have been too far if I had tried to go with him. I tried to get on another train, and just got beat. We could have done things a little bit differently, but that's bike racing."
"The road was bearing left, 150 meters to go the road bears left," Cavendish said of the contact made with Veelers. "I went to come round Veelers as he dropped the wheel, but he moved right. Unfortunately we touched elbows and with the difference of speed, he crashed. I do not believe there is fault on either side, but I hope he is ok."
"About Kittel...he is good," Cavendish said of the stage winner. "I think it's disrespectful to make it out as a big loss for us when he wins. He's an incredible bike rider. His team rode really well. It would have been nice to win today but he's an incredible sprinter and deserves the credit."
OPQS looks next to the 33km Stage 11 ITT tomorrow.
Tony Martin and Sylvain Chavanel will both do their best for top results.
"I feel pretty well," Martin said of his feeling going into the ITT tomorrow. "I had a pretty good rest day. The injuries are quite OK now, not too much pain anymore. I recovered well and am really motivated for the time trial tomorrow."
"To get off the bike after the crash and to motivate myself to continue after some bad nights, with almost no recovery, was pretty hard," Martin said. "I think I passed now the hardest part of this Tour and for me it's now a second start."
"Tomorrow morning I will check the course and then I will give it all to try and conquer this TT," Martin said. "It won't be easy but I will try."
"As French Champion of the discipline, tomorrow will be a special day for me," Chavanel said. "I'm in good condition and I'm really looking forward to the race. The parcour is good for my skills and of course for guys with the abilities of Tony. I really dream about a good performance as I did last year in the TT."