Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Mark Cavendish snaps at reporter after Tour de France crash

Marcel Kittel of Germany, center right, crosses the finish line ahead of second place Andre Greipel of Germany, center left, to win the tenth stage of the Tour de France.

Mark Cavendish was involved in an angry confrontation with reporters after his crash in the final metres of yesterday's stage 10 of the Tour de France in Saint-Malo, won by Marcel Kittel.

As the Manxman faced questions about a collision with Kittel's lead-out man Tom Veelers which sent the Dutchman to the floor, as well as the disappointing lead-out attempts from his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team-mates, Cavendish snatched a tape recorder from one of the reporters and retreated inside the team bus.

"We came up, we lost our guys early," Cavendish said. "I tried to follow (team-mate) Gert Steegmans, I followed his lead and launched from there.

"It was too early in the sprint so I settled back on to Tom's wheel and when Greipel kicked I went then.

"We as a team could have done something different. We will talk about that later."

Asked if the crash was his fault, Cavendish snapped, saying: "Was what my fault?" and then disappeared inside with the tape recorder, which was later returned by the team's press officer.

Cavendish could be facing further sanctions for the crash, with the British national champion appearing to veer in front of Veelers as riders battled for position.

After Veelers was sent sprawling to the floor, Cavendish looked back and never regained his rhythm, sitting up in third place as Kittel beat Andre Greipel over the line. While he had not been in the mood to face questions, Cavendish used Twitter to give his side of the story. Writing before he had seen a replay, Cavendish wrote: "Whatever has happened, if I'm at fault, I'm sorry.

"There's no way I'd move on a rider deliberately, especially one not contesting a sprint. I hope @tom-veelers is ok."

Moments later, he tweeted again: "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."

Remarkably, nobody else came down despite Veelers being stricken in the middle of the road with the peloton bearing down fast.

Kittel said he could not imagine Cavendish deliberately causing a crash.

"Apparently Cavendish bumped into Tom and he lost control of his handlebars and crashed." he said.

"I cannot imagine that Cavendish did that on purpose, it just happens sometimes in a hectic final."

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