MONT-SAINT-MICHEL, France -- Mark Cavendish's team said it believes someone threw urine at the British rider during Wednesday's time trial at the Tour de France.
"Yes, that's true I think. I was behind him. I didn't see it, but I think it's true," Omega Pharma-Quick Step team press officer Alessandro Tegner said.
Tegner said the liquid smelled like urine and it was "all over him," and said Cavendish talked about the incident after completing the time trial.
"He said: 'I really don't know what's going on,"' Tegner said.
Tegner said the team does not know exactly where it happened on the 33-kilometre (20-mile) time-trial course to Mont-Saint-Michel on the Brittany coast.
Cavendish's teammate, Jerome Pineau, reacted angrily to the news.
"I'm ashamed when my friend Mark Cavendish tells me that he was jeered and even sprayed with urine," Pineau said on his Twitter feed. "It's scandalous."
The Guardian, on its website, quoted team manager Patrick Lefevere as saying: "Mark is sad, he's not upset, just sad. I cannot blame anyone, there are 100,000 or 200,000 people on the road, and one person decided to do this."
At the Tour, which is a free, non-ticketed event, the millions of roadside fans get closer to the athletes than at many other sports competitions. Most famously, a spectator once punched five-time champion Eddy Merckx in the kidneys.
Lance Armstrong tweeted: "why all the sudden shock and outrage. this has been happening for 100 years in some form or another."