HELPING to set the tempo at the front of the peloton leading into a climb – that was the different role Mark Renshaw filled on stage six of the Tour de France.
The experienced Bathurst rider has in the main been included in Dimension Data’s team for the 21-stage cycling epic to help the chances of lead sprinter Mark Cavendish.
But the 181 kilometre stage from Brest to Mûr de Bretagne was not one for the sprinters.
It saw the 2km long category three climb of Mûr de Bretagne tackled twice in the closing 20km, so Dimension Data instead put its hopes of a stage win on Tom-Jelte Slagter.
Ultimately the Dutchman finished 12 seconds behind stage winner Dan Martin, but the work Renshaw and his team-mates did before the final ascent was impressive.
“Cavendish’s lead out man doing the job on a very lumpy day,” cycling commentator Matthew Keenan exclaimed on seeing Renshaw at the front of the peloton.
Renshaw, Cavendish and another of their team-mates in Julien Vermote took turns setting the pace and positioning Slagter before they dropped off inside the final 20km.
The Bathurst native and Cavendish finished 14 minutes, 30 seconds off the pace.
“It was necessary to be in front there because afterwards the roads were really narrow and twisty, so we brought our guys already into a perfect position for the first time up Mur de Bretagne,” Vermote said.
“We were able to drop Tom-Jelte off in the perfect position to the foot of the final climb.”