Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) denied causing the crash in which Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) took a tumble during the sprint for victory in Nancy at the end of another hectic stage at the Tour de France on Friday.
Talansky openly blamed the Australian national champion for the crash, but Gerrans insisted that he did not maliciously cause the spill and suggested Talansky should watch the replay to see exactly what happened.
"I'm sorry that he crashed, but I think as everyone saw, there wasn't any malice about it, and I don’t think I did anything wrong," Gerrans told journalists outside the Orica-GreenEdge bus.
"As I think everyone saw, we were in a pretty select group going for the win. I saw in the footage afterwards that Talansky went down. I think when he sees what happens, too, he'll be able to see that I'm moving from the left to the right and he's moving from the right to the left and he fell on my back wheel."
Recovering from his crash injuries
Gerrans was a victim of a crash on stage 1 when he tangled with Mark Cavendish. The British sprinter was left with ruptured ligaments and a dislocated shoulder and was unable to continue in the Tour. Gerrans landed on his back and has struggled to perform at his best due to his injuries.
He finished fifth in the sprint in Nancy after moving across the road to try to find a way through, behind winner Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano).
"Today was a good indication that I'm recovering. Unfortunately, I didn’t get up for a place there but that's the best I felt since stage 1. That's all looking good moving forward," he said optimistically.
"I had an unlucky first few days, but I seem to be coming round now. I'm recovering from the crashes and feeling a lot better."
Gerran refused to be drawn on his chances for Saturday's stage to Gerardmer, perhaps wary of the three climbs in the final 20 kilometres and sensing the overall contenders in this hectic, crash-riddled Tour de France will dominate the racing.
The 161km stage is the first of three tough days in the Vosges mountains in the east of France.