LIBOURNE, FRANCE (AFP) - Mark Cavendish on Friday (July 16) apologised to his mechanics for a Tour de France strop after video emerged of him complaining about his bike before storming off to the team bus.
Footage showed the 36-year-old British sprinter screaming at his team before slamming a bike into the ground at the start of the 19th stage from Mourenx and Libourne.
"During a day of the Tour de France, as riders we are put in a perilous situation and I wanted my bike to be perfect, in order to help me stay safe," he wrote on Instagram later on Friday.
"My bike had some problems when I got on it this morning. Despite this, I should not have reacted in the way that I did and not so publicly.
"I've been extremely close friends with my mechanics for over a decade and they've worked tirelessly to ensure I've always been safe and successful.
"Although they know how short I can be when I'm stressed, no-one, especially those you care about, deserve to have a voice raised to them."
Cavendish would have set a new record of 35 Tour de France stage wins with his fifth win on the 2021 edition on Friday.
He had already equalled Eddy Merckx's 46-year-old record.
But an early mass fall and lack of will from other teams to stop a breakaway allowed a large group to build up a big lead over the main pack.
"I still have Paris," he said of Sunday's sprint finish on the Champs-Elysees.
"And I still have the jersey," he said, as he stepped down from the awards ceremony in the sprint points leader's green tunic.
Cavendish was a late inclusion on the Deceuninck team roster but has won four stages on the 2021 Tour with a fifth possible on Sunday when the race winds up in the French capital.