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Cavendish in the clear over crash

updated 2:34 PM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
Mark Cavendish took to Twitter to defend himself against accusations he had deliberately nudged Tom Veelers.
Mark Cavendish took to Twitter to defend himself against accusations he had deliberately nudged Tom Veelers.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Germany's Marcel Kittel of Argos won the 10th stage of the Tour de France
  • Stage held over 197 kilometers between Saint Gildas des Bois and Saint Malo
  • Mark Cavendish defends actions after appearing to knock Tom Veelers off bike
  • Team Sky's Chris Froome stays in yellow jersey

(CNN) -- Marcel Kittel won the 10th stage of the Tour de France -- but it was Mark Cavendish who stole the headlines Tuesday.

The Briton was forced to endure a nervous wait following the conclusion of the race with television pictures appearing to show him barging into Dutchman Tom Veelers during a sprint finish.

The Manxman had looked to be in contention as the 197 kilometer stage between Saint Gildas des Bois and Saint Malo approached its climax before clashing with Veelers within sight of the finish line.

The Argos rider suffered cuts and bruises but race jury president Vicente Tortajada Villaroya refused to blame Cavendish for the coming together.

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"Veelers had done his job for Kittel, he was tired and he was looking down," the Spaniard told reporters.

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"If we have to blame anyone, it is Veelers. There has been no complaint from Argos, but we were not considering sanctions or a disqualification."

Cavendish, who finished third following the incident, maintained his innocence after missing out on a 25th stage win.

"The commissaires are already putting the blame on me," he told reporters.

"You can see he (Veelers) moves a little bit right, I move a little bit left, it's not like I took his wheel, I'm following the road."

Cavendish also took to Twitter to defend his actions, tweeting: "Just seen the sprint. I believe I didn't move line. I'm actually coming past Veelers and we touch elbows when he moves. Anyway, hope he's OK.

"There's no way I'd move on a rider deliberately, especially one not contesting a sprint. I hope Tom's OK."

Winner Kittel, who is the first man to win two stages during this edition of the Tour, escaped the crash as the sprinters went full pelt for the line.

"I'm really happy to have won but the victory is tempered a bit by the crash. I hope Tom isn't too injured," he told reporters.

"Apparently Cavendish bumped into Tom and he lost control of his handlebars and crashed.

"I cannot imagine that Cavendish did that on purpose, it just happens sometimes in a hectic finale. Every sprinter wants to come to the front when he comes to the line and I hope that he's OK.

"You can see that Cavendish really bumped into the handlebar of Tom but it doesn't look like he does it on purpose. Tom swings off to the right and Cavendish to the left - and it's just very unlucky at that moment."

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Team Sky's Chris Froome maintained his one minute 25 second lead over nearest rival Alejandro Valverde.

Froome was close to the crash towards the conclusion of the race but escaped with his lead intact.

"It was a bit tricky towards the end, but I always had a teammate with me and I kept out of trouble," he told reporters.

"It's always nervous when you come into the last 2 km with a bunch sprint coming off the final bend, but I was to one side of it and went around it without any problems."

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