Mark Cavendish has denied racially insulting French riders at the Tour de France, claiming that some of his best friends are French.
Cavendish, who grabbed a fourth stage victory this week, was the focus of attention in L’Equipe newspaper, which published the allegations by anonymous French riders.
"Cavendish is racist, he's anti-French," said one rider. "He should be careful. We're not going to put up with his attitude much longer."
Today, Cavendish hit back. His latest Tweet said: “I have no problem with French people. Some of my best friends are French.”
Earlier, the Isle of Man rider admitted that he could be ‘arsey’ in the heat of the moment, but the nationality of the rider on the receiving end was irrelevant.
He said: "I didn't say this. I had to laugh at that article. It would have been nice to have the name of the rider who supposedly said this so that I can go and sort it out.
"I get a little hot-headed sometimes, but it's irrelevant the nationality of the rider when you get arsey at someone. When you're a rider with a public profile, you can't be friends with everybody. It's going to be like that.
"I take it as a compliment that they're going to try and start shit about something that's not about bike riding, because they've got nothing to criticise my riding about."