Urine testing is nothing new in the sport of cycling, as doping has run rampant over the past several years. But at the Tour de France on Wednesday, a fan took things to a new extreme, throwing urine on cyclist Mark Cavendish, according to Sky Sports.
The incident occurred during Wednesday's Stage 11 time trial, which stretched from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel. The motivations behind the fan's actions are still unclear, but Sky Sports speculates that it may stem from Cavendish's involvement in a crash that took out Tom Veelers during Stage 10 on Tuesday.
UPDATE: Thursday, July 11, at 8:50 a.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland
Cavendish has responded to the incident, according to a report from BBC Sport.
Manxman Cavendish was said to have been "saddened" by the incident.
But, speaking on Thursday, he said: "The beauty of cycling is that you can get so close to the spectators."
Asked if he was now riding with a fire in his belly, he said: "I think so, but, regardless, it's the Tour de France. I love the Tour de France and am here to win as many sprint stages as possible.
"It is the Tour de France. Anything can happen. It wasn't nice at the time. The majority of fans are brilliant."
Here are Cavendish's full comments on the incident, as well as the crash many think caused the incident, courtesy of the BBC:
---End of Update---
Will Cavendish bounce back from this incident?
Despite the belief by many that Cavendish was to blame for the wreck, he was exonerated from any wrongdoing by race officials, according to William Fotheringham of The Guardian.
Perhaps that explanation wasn't satisfactory for the fan in question, as the onlooker went to great lengths in order to express dismay with Cavendish's actions.
While Cavendish refused to comment on the incident, his Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammate Jerome Pineau expressed a great deal of disgust on Twitter:
Honte quand mon ami @MarkCavendish me dit qu il a été siffle et même arrosé d urine pendant tout le parcours !! C est scandaleux!!!— jerome pineau (@jejeroule44) July 10, 2013
The translation is as follows:
Shame when my friend @MarkCavendish said that he was whistled at and even had urine sprinkled (on him) throughout the journey! C is outrageous!
Cavendish won't be a factor in the overall standings, as he currently sits in 148th place, but he is one of the world's most accomplished sprinters. He is third in the sprint standings, but he has a chance to make some headway as the event continues. It will be interesting to see if this incident has any effect on his performance.
Cavendish won Stage 5 and will have several more opportunities to come away victorious, as there are three flat stages and two individual time trials still to come. As long as he is able to put this unfortunate experience behind him, look for Cavendish to remain a top sprint contender.
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