Mark Cavendish and the rest of the riders on the Tour de France have more than their share of hardships to deal with during the grueling event.
The British rider surely could have done without the disrespectful -- not to mention disgusting -- ordeal he is said to have endured during Wednesday's Stage 11, when a spectator allegedly threw urine all over Cavendish somewhere along the 20.5-mile time trial route in Normandy.Cavendish is a top rider but isn't having the best of tours this year. The Omega Pharma-Quick Step team member finished 149th in Wednesday's stage, a day after being involved in a controversial crash with Dutchman Tom Veelers, and Cavendish's team manager Patrick Lefevre sadi he feels there was a connection.
"He was whistled and catcalled on the course, and a spectator threw urine on him," Lefevere said.
"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."
Team media officer Alessandro Tegner said the liquid smelled like urine and it was “all over” Cavendish.
OPQS's sporting director, Brian Holm, said the team would take no action in pursuing the matter. Cavendish had nothing to say publicly about it.
"It was really disappointing," said fellow British rider Chris Froome, who retained the yellow leader's jersey by finishing second in the stage. "One of the best things about our sport is that the spectators can get close to the top riders in the world and feel the excitement and the color."
Froome summed up the alleged incident best when he said, "It leaves a bad taste in the mouth."
No pun intended.