Mark Cavendish had rough finish to stage one of the Tour de France Sunday in Brussels, a situation made worse by the jeers of fans dressed in team Sky kit.

They yelled repeatedly, “Cavendish, you suck! Go home!”

The HTC-Columbia sprinter stopped and looked at what appeared to be fellow Brits asking him to him to leave the Tour de France. He kept calm and responded briefly.

“Have a nice day, OK,” he said.

“That’s just life,” he told Cycling Weekly.

He followed the team’s press officer and coach Erik Zabel to the team bus, where Zabel talked to him briefly.

“It was strong from him that he stayed so calm,” Zabel said. “It annoys you a lot if you come off the finish line and the fans talk to you like this.”

Zabel won the green jersey at the Tour de France six times and joined HTC-Columbia to help coach Cavendish. Last year, he helped Cavendish win Milan-San Remo and six stages at the Tour de France. This year, though, Cavendish was delayed by teeth problems and a crash at the Tour de Suisse.

Cavendish wanted to set matters straight today and establish himself as top gun, but a crash soon after three kilometres ruined his chances.

“I don’t know what happened,” Cavendish said.

“Today was important for us. He missed a chance and of course Thor [Hushovd] was third and [Alessandro] Petacchi won,” Zabel added. “Now we’re one stage behind.”

Zabel revealed that he told Cavendish to keep his motivation high and not to be affected by the loss or the jeers of the fans. He said that Cavendish will have a chance on the cobbled stage to Arenberg and certainly on the flat stages to follow.

Besides scrapes and receiving the jeers of disrespectful fans, Cavendish is okay and will start tomorrow.

Tour de France 2010: Latest news
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Florencio kicked out of Cervelo team on eve of Tour
Tour teams presented in Rotterdam: What the riders said
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Tour de France 2010: Stage reports

Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters

Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos

Stage one gallery

Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos

Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Official start list, with race numbers

Brits at the Tour 2010

Tout team guide

Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special


  • Mark T

    ‘You Suck’ doesn’t seem like something a ‘Brit’ would say

  • Kev Smith

    I am horriefied that any british bike fan could say such negative comments about “Cav” his record speaks for its self and he has the oppertunity to be the greatest cyclist this country has ever produced. To be a top line sprinter you have to have the ****ks to be in there it takes guts determination and in my opinion “Cavs” arrogance and attitude are all part of his sprinting poweress.
    I would suggest that these individuals who can only hurl abusive get on the next boat back and take a long hard look at there own attitude and ask themselves what have they achieved in life ! !
    Good luck “Cav” your real fans have there fingers crossed for a good tour.

  • Mark Jones

    Like someone else said “you suck” doesn’t sound very British and I had visions of Happy Gilmore as soon as I read the article “you suck, jack ass”.

    Well done to Cav for keeping his calm with the morons. True British fans don’t just follow Sky and noone else, they follow British cyclists regardless of their team.

  • John Dee

    That type of behaviour belongs in the football stadiums of the world.
    Mark Cavendish is a young man on a mission and it is a pity the likes of Rooney & Co don’t have the same approach. By his nature Mark has not as yet learned a great deal of diplomacy but his is a wonderful person as those who know him will testify.

    With fans like that Team Sky have got what they deserve – yobs! But what did you expect – come on Wioggins is hardly a shining example – read his book post Athens etc etc. By the way why did Scott Sunderland leave Team Sky as well as other repected personel?

  • nevis the cat

    Hmm, “you suck” is not very English. We use other words. I suspect they were from over the pond and can bugger off back here. Good luck Cav!!

  • Matt

    I know everyone is entitled to their opinion, but what a bunch of morons! The crash was his fault, yes, but you can’t tell him to go home for cocking up one sprint. The last thing you want to see is bad feelings towards Britain’s best cyclist in decades (he is far better than Wiggins (win a million races including Milan-San Remo or come fourth in the Tour?)). Good to see Cav keeping his cool though.

  • sfnch fonebone

    What a terrible report. No mention that it certainly looked to me, and it was certainly looking to the ITV4 commentators at the finish that Cavendish rode straight on at the right-hander coming in to the finish and put Oscar Freire on the deck plus the two Cervelo riders. The kid needs to be shown reason.

  • Dan Stephens

    Just ordered a team sky top and have read this article 🙁 I do not want to be associated with this kind of behaviour. I have brought into the sky ethos and as a real cycling fan I like what they are doing but attracting people like this is not good for the sport…go back to football. The one thing with sky is that all the media circus focuses on is bloody wiggo and it is so frustrating and narrow minded. Personally if I was Cav I doubt I’d have been able to bite my tongue, especially after the last few months when everyone has been getting on his back. I hope Cav shows them all with another haul of stage wins.

  • Paul V

    Good to see that Sky are now attracting the uneducated yob element that has always followed Wiggins. Yet another good reason not to be rooting for that team.