Mark Cavendish was withdrawn by his HTC-Columbia team from the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland on Friday as a result of the two-fingered salute used by the Manxman when he won stage two.

Cavendish stuck two fingers in the air as he crossed the line after winning Thursday’s stage, later saying that the gesture was aimed at “journalists and commentators who know jack-**** about cycling”. It was the British sprinter’s second win of the year after struggling with a severe tooth infection in the early season.

On Friday morning, Cavendish issued an apology for his actions via an HTC-Columbia statement, but the squad has now taken the matter one step further by withdrawing him from the event.

“I did want to make a statement to my critics but I realise that making a rude gesture on the finish line is not the best way to do that,” Cavendish said.

“I apologise to everybody watching the race and especially the kids. I am not proud of releasing the feelings in that way.”

Cavendish has been fined 6,000 Swiss francs by the Romandie race jury for the gesture and the team will donate his stage winnings to a children’s charity, Right To Play.

The Briton will now concentrate on stage wins at the Tour of California in America (May 16-23).

HTC-Columbia’s Michael Rogers took the Tour de Romandie race lead after Friday’s time trial stage. Two stages remain in the race, which concludes on Sunday.

Related links

Cavendish apologises for two-finger salute

Cavendish back to winning ways in Romandie

Stapleton cools Cavendish-Greipel fire

  • JC

    It was the right decision by a mile. HTC withdrew him before the UCI could come down on him harder. I don’t understand people that say he is only young he is 24/25 – a grow man who acts like a idiotic child. Age isn’t an excuse becuase quite simply he cannot be excused. There is nothing worse than seeing someone win the odd stage here and there and then thinking they are the God of cycling!

    I have said before and I will say again, he is far too big for his own boots now, there are plenty of other sportsmen, cyclists included, who hold a much bigger stature and deal with more pressure than Cav, and do you see them acting in an appauling way? If he moves to sky I can’t see Brailsford accepting his behaviour for one moment.

    I hope he wises up, or without realising there will be another ‘top young talent’ to knock him off his self built pedestal! Here’s to hope!!

  • Mister Legs

    once again ‘cry baby’ Cav shows his petulant and moody side. He’s as happy as larry if he’s winning but whenever anyone asks him a question when he hasn’t won, he’s a bottom lip sticker outer.

    He really needs to grow up and commentators in the UK need to realise that he’s not the only cyclist from the UK that is racing. Next time he’s in a race try counting all thereferences made to/about him during the commentary. OK, it’s accepted that he’s a major talent in the sprint but it’s just a ‘glory boy’ role as far as I’m concerned. How much work do you ever see him doing to help his teammates?

  • peter tomkins

    This won’t do his image any harm at all…..great publicity, the legend grows. Cav understands how to work the media a lot better than Gordon Brown.

  • Will Hirst

    I could see Cavs disgust at the press.But come on, winning a race is enough to silence your critics. You are British for godsake, there is no need for vulgarity.

  • Bfg

    To be fair all they have done is just send the biggest dope home.

  • Matt Ryder

    Good for cycling I say, bad for Cav.

    Okay he wanted prove the armchair critics wrong but all he really did was swear on live television to thousands of young viewers.

    I doubt Sky would have let him continue riding either HTC did the right thing to show some respect to the organisers who were livid.

    He’ll be back stronger next time it though…

  • dave morley

    A rap across the knuckles, plus a public apology was enough. Withdrawing Cav from the race is not justified. It is early days, yet, and I really want to see him flying, again, in le Tour, but if there is a deterioration in his relations with Columbia maybe he should move on. I would prefer Radio Shack, to Sky, as the Rupert Murdoch (Sky) connection has no appeal for me whatsoever. and I will not be supporting them.

  • Tony

    Sorry Graham, but I cannot agree. Cav is entitled to his opinion of others, but certainly NOT entitled to express them as he did. He is now a star performer, and like it or not, has a duty to act professionally at all times – by doing as he did, he lowered himself to the level of an overpaid premier division footballer!
    If he had been with Sky, I would not have been surprised if he had been sacked.

  • marty

    Columbia where right to pull Cav out. he as let himself down again. When is he going to to wise up and let his winning do the talking. There is nothing worse than a cocky winner. he needs to learn to be a bit more humble.

  • John

    Right action by the team. As a matter of common sense and respect for the fans you should not make such gestures and act more professionally. As for so called Journalists and commentators, alot of them are ex professionals and know more about the sport and its history then he ever will. He is still young and this may be just what he needed to learn to take criticism on the chin and answer with results not gestures.

  • George

    Graham Grow up . It’s a public sport which sponsors fund. With out sponsors we have no sport. If a footballer was to do this he would be sent off and fined. I think the team management did the right thing . Cav will be back and will win again and again . Why should he leave his team? They are behind him and have supported and have allowed him to develop they also have theright to pull the reins in now and again .

  • Dave Saunders

    I’m very unhappy about this decision by HTC-Columbia. The Harvey Smith is a fine British sporting tradition.

  • Graham Galpin

    I am disgusted! In this race are unrepentant dopers, including one who still has unresolved drug misuse charges against him. To pull Cav for a well deserved gesture to armchair critics seems absurd. If I was Cav I’d be on my bike alright; end of season, away to Sky.