Reuters - Sat, 01 May 00:01:00 2010
Briton Mark Cavendish was pulled out of the Tour de Romandie by his team for celebrating victory in the second stage in Fribourg with a two-fingered salute at his critics.
"Mark Cavendish was taken 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," his HTC-Columbia team said after Friday's third stage in Moudon.
Cavendish, who had earlier apologised for the gesture, was also handed a 6,000 Swiss francs (£5222) fine.
"In spite of the rider's apologies made in a team statement and then to the jury before the start of Friday's time trial, the jury inflicts a 6,000 CHF fine (on Cavendish) for incorrect behaviour," the race jury said in a statement.
The win on Thursday was only Cavendish's second of the season and the Manxman, arguably the world's best sprinter, had been the target of media criticism for his lack of victories.
Cavendish, whose start to the season had been hampered by a dental infection, said he regretted making the gesture.
"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," the 24-year-old said.
"I apologise to everybody watching the race and especially the kids ... I hope I can redeem myself and show my feelings and my passion for cycling with some exciting results in the next couple of months rather than with gestures such as the one yesterday."
Tour of Romandie:
Stage 4 - Saturday 3pm LIVE on British Eurosport 2 (Sky 411 / Virgin 525) & Eurosport Player
Stage 5 - Sunday 5pm on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) & Eurosport Player