16 Jul 2009

Cavendish denies racist claims

6:46 pm on 16 July 2009

The British sprint specialist Mark Cavendish has hit back at claims that he racially insulted French riders at the Tour de France.

However, the 24-year-old from the Isle of Man, who took out stage eleven, his fourth stage win this race, admits.

he can be difficult to handle.

Allegations in L'Equipe newspaper which cited anonymous French riders say he racially insulted them - and that his arrogance was getting on their nerves.

Allegations about his arrogant ways have prompted debate in the past but Cavendish denies he was racist.

Another claim levelled at Cavendish was his refusal to do his share of the work in the 'grupetto', the slow bunch of non-climbers which usually works together to get through the difficult mountains stages.

Cavendish made sure he will make even fewer friends among his fellow strugglers in the mountains when he confirmed he'd continue sitting at the back and not taking his share of the relays.