Omega Pharma-Quick Step sports director Brian Holm has pointed a finger at the media after a fan reportedly sprayed urine at Mark Cavendish during today’s 11th stage of the Tour de France.
Holm was in the team car behind Cavendish who was competing in the 33km individual time-trial when the incident occurred.
It comes a day after the 28-year-old was embroiled in a crash controversy with Argos-Shimano lead-out man Tom Veelers.
“Of course I couldn’t see it was urine but I thought people were quite negative,” Holm told Cycling Weekly. “So congrats to the media for yesterday making him look like he caused the crash.”
Cavendish and Veelers made contact in yesterday’s high-speed finale. Veelers had finished his lead-out for teammate Marcel Kittel, who won the stage ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol), before he clashed with Cavendish, who ran third, and hit the tarmac sustaining extensive skin abrasions and bruises.
Cavendish was pressed on the crash in post-race interviews where he became frustrated and pinched a journalist’s recording device, which was soon after returned.
The Dutchman Veelers was adamant the 24-time Tour de France stage winner was at fault, but the race jury issued no penalty.
“Everybody said it was Cav, Cav, Cav. The international commissaries said he made no mistake,” Holm continued. “It’s not going to be a long discussion. It’s part of the race. And Cav would never, ever crash somebody on purpose.”
Holm said the team did not plan to take action after today’s drama.
“I hope it’s not a general situation,” said Holm. “He’s going to have some long days in the Alps if people keep throwing piss on him!”
The sprinters have another chance to vie for line honours tomorrow. Kittel has two stage victories to his name thus far with Cavendish, Greipel and green jersey leader and defending champion Peter Sagan (Cannondale) at one a piece.