Mark Cavendish had urine thrown at him during today’s (Wednesday) time trial in the Tour de France, according to a team-mate.
The incident came after the British national champion was embroiled in controversy last night when a crash late on stage 10 to Saint-Malo sent Tom Veelers to the floor and ended Cavendish’s hopes of victory.
Although the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider was cleared of any blame by the race organisers, many fans condemned his actions on social media.
The reaction escalated this morning when Cavendish tackled the 33km time trial route from Avranches, which was packed with spectators.
His French team-mate Jerome Pineau wrote on Twitter: “Yesterday I was so proud to see the support at the race but today I am ashamed.
“Ashamed when my friend @MarkCavendish tells me he has been whistled and even sprayed with urine on the course. It’s scandalous.”
Cavendish declined to talk when asked about the incident, but another member of team staff said with a grin that there had “been a smell” when the Manxman returned to their bus.
Cavendish was among the early runners in today’s time trial due to his lowly position in the general classification, and set a time of exactly 42 minutes.
His team-mate Tony Martin, the world time trial champion, had the early lead after completing the course in 36 minutes 29 seconds.