Mark Cavendish has hit out at the "vile and threatening" abuse he has received on social media in the wake of the collision with Peter Sagan that ended both cyclists' participation in the Tour de France.
Cavendish was forced to abandon the Tour with a broken shoulder suffered in the incident which resulted in Sagan’s disqualification, and says the hurtful messages he and his family have received since must stop.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinions”, Cavendish said in a video message posted on Twitter. “But please note it is a sport. Vile and threatening comments on social media to myself and my family isn’t deserved. I’d ask you all to respect that and please not send threatening or abusive language to myself and my family.”
Cavendish sad he has sorted things out with Sagan, the reigning world champion, and the Briton believes he is being targeted partly because of his behaviour during his younger years.
“I’m paying now as a 32-year-old for the attitude I had as a kid,” he said. “Unfortunately this will never leave me and I’ll always deal with the brunt of people’s personal opinions.
“I’ve missed the race that I’ve built my career around. Unfortunately these things happen in cycling, especially in the chaotic finale of the sprint, but there’s no hard feelings between Peter and I. We are friends, he apologised after and called me in the evening as well. That’s a measure of the man he is.”