British cycling star Mark Cavendish had urine thrown at him by a spectator during the 11th stage of the Tour de France yesterday, his team have confirmed.
The incident happened during the 33-kilometre individual time-trial from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, a day after Cavendish was blamed for a collision that sent Argos rider Tom Veelers crashing to the ground in Saint-Malo.
“Probably some spectators were not very pleased with what happened yesterday and they yelled to him and then one other idiot threw urine at him,” Omega Pharma team CEO Patrick Lefevere told AFP.
“Mark is not upset, but he is really disappointed because he thinks he didn’t deserve this.” Lefevere was unable to confirm when exactly the incident had occurred, but sought to play down its importance as Cavendish’s teammate Tony Martin, the world time-trial champion, went for the stage win.
“The cycling public is known for being very fair, we have no hooligans, but there are thousands and thousands of people on the roads and not everybody is a gentleman,” the Belgian added.
Cavendish escaped without punishment following Tuesday’s clash with Veelers, which happened during a sprint for the line won by German rider Marcel Kittel.
Veelers pinned the blame on the British champion, and an anxious Cavendish became embroiled in a spat with one journalist after the finish to Tuesday’s stage, snatching away his dictaphone after being asked if he felt the crash was his fault.
However, Cavendish later called Veelers to apologise and Lefevere hopes that can be the end of the matter. “He apologised already yesterday on Twitter and on the phone,” he said. “If you don’t agree you don’t take the telephone, but he (Veelers) took the telephone.
Today is a time-trial so you don’t have the time but maybe tomorrow he can have a handshake with Veelers if he agrees and this case has to be closed.”