Giro d'Italia

Cavendish denies hitching a ride up Mount Etna

ROME (AFP) — British sprint king Mark Cavendish has been accused by two Giro d'Italia rivals of being towed up Mount Etna in Sunday's stage.

ROME (AFP) — British sprint king Mark Cavendish has been accused by two Giro d’Italia rivals of being towed up Mount Etna in Sunday’s stage. After winning stage 10 on Tuesday, the HTC rider denied the allegations.

Cavendish arrived just 25 seconds inside the stage cut-off point, which had he missed would have meant the end of his participation in the race.

And ahead of Tuesday’s 10th stage along the Adriatic coast from Termoli to Teramo, two rivals accused him of cheating.

“He should only be happy that he’s still in the race, he should have been disqualified for being attached to the car for a long time during the climb on Etna,” said Spanish Movistar sprinter Francisco Ventoso.

“It’s shameful, everyone else kills themselves to get to the top inside the cut off time while someone else holds onto a car without the authorities intervening.”

Garmin sprinter Murilo Fischer added on his Twitter page: “Incredible, he says he wants to win a stage at any cost and he does 10km holding onto a car.”

After winning stage 10, Cavendish denied taking a tow.

“We rode like our lives depended on it,” he said. “This is just part and parcel of being on a dominant team, of being a dominant sprinter, that people are going to make accusations.”