Froome in command of Tour

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 11 Juli 2013 | 19.55

CHRIS Froome has accused the rogue Tour de France spectator who threw urine over Mark Cavendish of ruining the atmosphere of the centenary Tour.

Froome's elation at building an impregnable overall lead was tempered by the attack on former Sky teammate Cavendish.

The stage 11 incident followed Cavendish's role in the collision that upended Argos-Shimano rider Tom Veelers in a torrid finish into Saint Malo on Tuesday.

The disturbing incident came as Froome moved closer to a maiden Tour title, while Australians Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers and Richie Porte all climbed higher in the general classification.

Froome now has a gaping 3min25sec buffer over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Belkin's Bauke Mollema is third at 3min37sec ahead of Saxo-Tinkoff's dual champion Alberto Contador (3min54sec).

The stage was won by Cavendish's Omega Pharma team-mate Tony Martin.

Martin covered the 33km course in 41min53sec, 12 seconds faster than Froome.

Belgian Thomas de Gendt was third, 61sec down, while Porte was an impressive fourth, 1min21sec behind.

Evans (14th), Rogers (16th) and Porte (31st) all improved their positions after another dramatic day.

Cavendish avoided the media after a time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel from Avranches, telling a team official he was "sad rather than angry" after being doused in urine.

Froome also was upset by the incident.

"It is disappointing to hear about one individual like that," he said.

"That's one of the beauties of our sport. Anyone can come and watch at the side of the road and enjoy the excitement and really get close to the top riders in the world.

"Mark is one of the big characters in the sport, and some people love him, some people hate him. But to do something disrespectful like that, that's really sad. It ruins the whole atmosphere."

Cavendish's French teammate Jerome Pineau took to Twitter last night, saying he was "ashamed" of the spectators responsible.

"Yesterday I was so proud about the support (at) the race but today I am ashamed," Pineau wrote.

"Ashamed when my friend Mark Cavendish said that he was insulting and p...ed (on) all the parcours (course). Shame on you!"

Team boss Patrick Lefevere confirmed Cavendish had been jeered by hostile spectators and before one of the onlookers threw liquid out of bottle at the Briton.

"We always thought that cycling fans were gentlemen," Lefevere told the Daily Mail.

"In a football stadium we have a certain distance between players and the public. Here we are very close to the public. We cannot blame everybody because there are maybe 200,000 people along the course and one man or woman thought to do this."

Tour officials have vowed to catch the offender.

Cavendish was heckled not long after leaving the start ramp. Cleared of blame by race officials after commissaires studied video of the fall, Cavendish apologised to Veelers - who is said to still be furious with the world champion.

Lefevere believes simmering anger over Veelers' crash was the motivation behind the urine incident.

"Probably some spectators were not very pleased with what happened yesterday and they yelled to him (Cavendish) and then one other idiot threw urine at him," Omega Pharma team CEO Patrick Lefevere said. "Mark is not upset, but he is really disappointed because he thinks he didn't deserve this."

Lefevere was unable to confirm when exactly the incident had occurred.

"The cycling public is known for being very fair, we have no hooligans, but there are thousands and thousands of people on the roads and not everybody is a gentleman."

Cavendish's partner Peta Todd was devastated.

"The way people have behaved today is disgusting," she tweeted. "Yet we are just expected to take it on the chin. The jury ruled. #Inhumane." She followed up with: "My little heart hurts."

Cavendish's French team-mate Jerome Pineau described the episode as "shameful".

"It's shameful that my friend Mark Cavendish has told me he was whistled and had urine thrown on him during the race. It's a scandal," he tweeted.

Cavendish telephoned Veelers on Tuesday night to apologise, but Veelers is understood to have rejected the approach and demanded a face to face meeting.

Lefevere hopes the pair can move on.

"He (Cavendish) apologised already yesterday on Twitter and on the phone," he said. "If you don't agree you don't take the telephone, but he (Veelers) took the telephone.

"Today is a time trial so you don't have the time but maybe tomorrow he can have a little handshake with Tom Veelers if he agrees to do it and then this case has to be closed."

Australian Olympic gold medallist Scott McGrory was outraged.

"The spectator that threw urine on @MarkCavendish in the TT needs to be found and prosecuted. What a scum bag," he tweeted.

Orica-GreenEDGE's Svein Tuft set the early standard, roaring through the first intermediate time check after 9.5km at Ducey in 10min43sec.

As the second rider to start, the Canadian was quickest after 22km at Courtils in 25min35sec and held the position to Mont-Saint-Michel in 38min4sec.

The next 61 riders failed to better Tuft's time before de Gendt (Vacansoleil) crossed the line in 37min30sec.

Martin, who was following de Gendt across the winding, mostly flat course to the "Wonder of the West", promptly obliterated that effort.

Porte sat in third place briefly after a superb ride in the strengthening afternoon crosswinds after riding the course late morning with Froome.

The Tasmanian indicated he had recovered fully from Sunday's ordeal in the Pyrenees as Martin's time remained out of reach to all, including Froome.

The Englishman led at the intermediate time checks before fading slightly into gusting winds in the shadows of Mont-Saint-Michel.

Badly hurt in a crash in Corsica on the first day, Martin returned intervals of 10.21, 24.42 and 36.29.

Martin revealed he had been unable to sleep on his back because of injuries suffered in Bastia.

After averaging 54.271km/h for the stage, Martin slumped onto the road in the shadows of one of the world's most iconic abbeys.

OPS director Helge Riepenhof said: "They are exceptionally hard men in this race. And Tony in particular impresses me.

"There wouldn't be many riders still on their bikes if they had injuries like what he sustained in that crash.

"After the crash, the team was very supportive and told him that whatever he decided to do - stay or go home - they were behind him.

"But even in the hospital, he said to me: 'OK, what can we do to make sure I get through the next few days so that I'm ready for the time trials?'

"As soon as he saw that there's nothing broken, he was ready to race again and already focussing on the days ahead."

The stage started to the northwest of Mont-Saint-Michel in Avranches, famed in WWII as site of one of American General George Patton's most illustrious victories.


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