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Cavendish doused with urine at Tour
A spectator reportedly threw urine at rider Mark Cavendish during Wednesday’s time trials at the Tour de France.
According to the BBC, the liquid was thrown at Cavendish from a bottle during Stage 11, and Cavendish “initially (thought) it was water before realizing what it was from the taste.”
Cavendish has not commented on the incident, but Omega Pharma-Quickstep team manager Patrick Lefevere did, telling The Guardian: "I didn't see it happen, but you had only to smell his jersey. Mark is sad, you might have expected him to be angry, but he's just sad. I cannot blame anyone. There are 100,000 or 200,000 people on the road, and one person decided to do this."
The attack came just one day after Cavendish made contact with Dutch rider Tom Veelers during a sprint to the finish line of Stage 10, causing Veelers to crash. He then grabbed a reporter’s tape recording during his post-race interview session:
On Tuesday night, Cavendish defended himself, addressing the contact with Veelers and the stolen tape recorder on Twitter:
Not seen a replay of the final yet, but was involved in an incident with Tom Veelers. Whatever has happened, if I'm at fault, I'm sorry.— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) July 9, 2013
There's no way I'd move on a rider deliberately, especially one not contesting a sprint. I hope @tom_veelers is ok.— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) July 9, 2013
Just seen the sprint. I believe I didn't move line. I'm actually coming past Veelers & we touch elbows when he moves. Anyway, hope he's ok.— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) July 9, 2013
Can all sprint experts on twitter go & try flicking their bike right at 65kph without leaning your body left to balance & come back to me.— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) July 9, 2013
As for Wednesday’s incident, Cavendish's teammate Jerome Pineau tweeted in his native French that he was "ashamed" of what happened on the course. Lance Armstrong, however, didn't seem quite as sympathetic:
@dwuori why all the sudden shock and outrage. this has been happening for 100 years in some form or another. piss, spit, fists, etc.— Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) July 10, 2013
In his defense, Armstrong would know. In 2004, he had to have armed bodyguards accompany him during a time trial at L'Alpe d'Huez after receiving death threats.
Other past Tours have seen riders get punched, shot by air rifles, and attacked with tacks. Competitors have also “had wine thrown at them, and sides of raw meat waved in their faces,” according to The Guardian.
Through 11 stages, Cavendish is in 149th place, with a 1:44:09 gap separating him from leader Christopher Froome.
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