Alexander Kristoff: outspoken about rival Mark Cavendish. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix
British cyclist Mark Cavendish is set to take legal action against Norway's Alexander Kristoff over claims the Brit crashed intentionally during the first stage of the Tour de France on Saturday.
The news came from BBC journalist Matt Slater via his Twitter account on Monday evening. He wrote: "Mark Cavendish considers legal action against Alexander Kristoff following the claim from the Norwegian that Cav crashed on purpose. Cav's agent Simon Bayliff said that the Manx star is angry/shocked by Kristoff's claims, especially the idea that he crashed on purpose."
The accusations from Kristoff follow the high-speed crash that sent both Cavendish and rider Simon Gerrans out of the first leg of the 21 stage competition.
The Brit did admit responsibility for the accident, but denies it was intentional. Cavendish sustained a serious shoulder injury after both riders fell from their bikes.
Kristoff criticized the British star on the website Cyclingnews.com, where the Norwegian compared Cavendish with footballer Luis Suárez.
"Suárez was banned for biting people in soccer and to me it looked like he crashed on purpose. Hope he [Cavendish] calms down," said Kristoff.
The Norwegian added: "At 60 km/h it is really dangerous and you might hurt people. So it isn't good of him. In an uphill sprint you sometimes lose a little control over your bicycle. It's not the first time he has done this. I hope he will calm down in future. He's an excellent sprinter, but it looks like he's losing his head sometimes."
Cavendish faces shoulder surgery and will be out for at least six weeks, likely missing the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The cycling pro said to Cyclingnews.com: "It's worse than I was hoping, but immediately after the crash I knew something was really wrong. It is really painful, but at the moment all I can do is focus 100 per cent of my effort on my recovery to be able to get back racing for Omega Pharma - Quick-Step as quickly as possible."