HTC-Columbia has withdrawn Mark Cavendish from the Tour de Romandie after he celebrated yesterday's stage victory with a naughty gesture. Many interpreted Cavendish's actions as a response to criticism in the press for his lack of results so far this season. The UCI smacked the British sprinter with a fine, and his team has decided to withdraw him from the race. The prize money from the stage victory will go to charity. Cavendish's team-mate Michael Rogers took over the leader's jersey after today's individual time trial.
Below the fold, the text of the HTC-Columbia press release.
San Luis Obispo, CA - 30th April 2010 - High Road Sports has taken Mark Cavendish out of the Tour de Romandie at the conclusion of today's stage, as a result of his inappropriate actions after winning stage two of the race on Thursday.
Cavendish has separately issued his own apology stating "I apologize to everybody watching the race and especially the kids. I am not proud of releasing my feelings in that way. I hope I can redeem myself and show my feelings and passion for cycling with results rather than with gestures such as the one yesterday."
High Road Sports agrees with the individual fine issued by the UCI commissaries today and in addition will direct payment of Cavendish's prize money from his stage win to the international charity Right To Play. Right To Play operates in 25 countries and helps millions of children around the world by teaching them life values and lessons through sport and has been a partner of High Road Sports for the last three years.