Great Britain's Olympic cycling silver medallist Mark Cavendish has threatened to sue a journalist over questions regarding a crash which threatened to derail his pursuit of glory in Rio 2016.
The 31-year-old finished second in the men's omnium to add an Olympic medal to his illustrious career which includes 30 stage wins at the Tour de France – but the achievement was achieved not without controversy.
During the final event of the six-discipline omnium – the 160 lap points race – the Isle of Man rider collided heavily with South Korea's Park Sanghoon causing two additional competitors, Australia's Glenn O'Shea and competition leader and eventual gold medallist Elia Viviani of Italy, to hit the floor. The pair escaped without serious injury but Park was stretchered away from the track and taken to hospital where he was treated for a mild concussion.
Cavendish escaped punishment for the incident which saw him suddenly swerve down the track into the path of Park, and went on to cling onto the silver medal position ahead of Denmark's Lasse Hansen – who won bronze despite a late challenge. The podium position completes the Manxman's long-held ambition of winning an Olympic medal, but his reaction following the race leaves plenty to be desired.
The reigning madison world champion was asked about the episode by Brazilian television, but Cavendish unleashed a sharp reply. "It was my fault, I should have been looking where I was going a bit more," he said, according to Velonews. "I hope he [Park] is alright, really. I apologized to Elia when he went down." Thijs Zonneveld, a journalist working for Dutch publication Alegemeen Dagblad, showed Cavendish a video replay in the writers mixed zone but was given short shrift by the rider.
The Dimension Data sprinter responded: "The guy wasn't Dutch, was he? I could sue you for that, do you know that?" Cavendish was not quizzed by the British press or BBC Sport and has seemingly survived an investigation into the motivation behind the manoeuvre. Retired Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen – who has previously admitted to 12 years of doping – called for Cavendish to be disqualified during the final event and condemned his attitude towards the media.
None of Cavendish's opponents have submitted an appeal to race organisers, meaning he will keep his Olympic silver. Sir Chris Hoy – Britain's most successful Olympic track cyclist – felt the move was "not intentional". "Things can get quite physical and you can get quite aggressive in a race, but that wasn't an aggressive move," the Scot added. "If he was being aggressive he would would have ducked the shoulder in or the elbow. That was careless. I'm sure he'll speak to the Korean and apologise."