Australia's Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) has claimed back-to-back victories at the Tour de Suisse after again sprinting to victory on Stage 4. The rider also hit back at claims he had offended the nation, pointing out that he has a lot of affection for the European country.
McEwen was reported as having unleashed a string of profanities directed at former rider Kurt Betschart. The ex-professional, who manages the post-stage finishing ceremonies at Suisse, allegedly copped the verbal spray after hurrying McEwen to get off the mobile phone so the presentation could start after his Stage 3 victory.
"A Swiss newspaper wrote that I had offended the land," acknowledged McEwen. "That is not true. I love Switzerland!"
Race organisers provisionally decided against imposing a fine on McEwen, a move that local hero Fabian Cancellara couldn't understand. The Team CSC rider was quoted in the report by Swiss newspaper Blick, describing McEwen as an unpopular rider and noting to Cyclingnews, "if people don't know how to behave themselves, they're better off being sent home."
McEwen brushed off the controversy, instead focusing on his second victory of the season. The double sprint victory is a promising sign from the Queenslander, just weeks out from the Tour de France.
"In the finale I had Leif Hoste, Jurgen Roelandts and Greg Van Avermaet beside me, and they did it perfectly," McEwen said. "I could launch my sprint in the last turn. Now we will go drink a glass of champagne."
McEwen will be forced to fight on his own for the Tour's green sprinter's jersey this year. The team announced recently its efforts would be focused on bringing McEwen's compatriot Cadel Evans home in the yellow jersey.