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'I don't want to use this f****** bike!' Cavendish furious after bad day at office

The British star doesn’t like losing.

Image: Christophe Ena/AP/Press Association Images

FOR MARK CAVENDISH there can be nothing worse than losing a Tour de France stage in a sprint finish, especially when the man who beats him to it is one of his greatest rivals.

The British champion was fourth in the sprint for the line at the end of the 176-kilometre ride from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier on Thursday as Germany’s Andre Greipel of the Lotto Belisol team claimed the victory.

Cavendish and Greipel have been rivals since their days riding together on the HTC-Highroad team, with conflict developing as the Manxman refused to play second fiddle to a rider three years older than him.

He is not a good loser, and his anger was all too evident  today as a crash 34 kilometres from the finish left him playing catch-up with the peloton, seriously hampering his chances of a second consecutive stage win. When he got back to the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team bus at the end of the stage, Cavendish was livid and, as a scrum of journalists gathered outside, the Manxman’s screaming could clearly be heard.

“I don’t want to use this fucking bike! What the fuck is wrong this bike!” he said, furious at seeing his chance of a second consecutive stage win pass him by.

It was around half an hour later before he emerged to face the media, although the official race medical report stated that he was being tended to by the team doctor for minor injuries suffered during his fall.

“I was going around a roundabout and it was very tight,” a now calm Cavendish said. “My front wheel went, but I didn’t necessarily lose the sprint because of that.

“I think there are a lot of factors. It took a lot of energy to get back from behind, but Andre was really strong.”

“I’m disappointed, but I won the sprint yesterday and the morale is still good. We rode strong all day in difficult conditions, so it’s ok, and we’ve got another two weeks left.”

In front of the television cameras, he also refused to blame problems with his bike for his bad day at the office, and insisted that his team “don’t really do a song and dance when we don’t win.”

However, Omega Pharma’s Danish sporting director Brian Holm admitted that Cavendish went “ballistic” and said that it was best to avoid the team’s fiery star rider at such moments.

“There were three, four or five riders who crashed when Cav went down and, if you ask him, it was probably somebody else’s mistake,” he said. “I just heard him yelling inside the bus but I don’t know what about. I think nobody can understand him when he’s yelling. Nobody has a clue what he’s saying.

“We blew it today and Lotto did everything right. Greipel got a good win and I think we just have to say congratulations.”

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