Team principal Doug Ryder claimed that his black riders, including Daniel Teklehaimanot and Eritrean champion Natnael Berhane, have been subjected to racial slurs from others in the event.
Teklehaimanot became the first black African to wear a leader’s jersey at a grand tour by taking the polka dot jersey for best climber on Thursday's sixth stage from Abbeville to Le Havre.
Meanwhile, MTN Qhubeka were speaking to the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, about the possibility of removing CC-Spraindi-Polkowice's Belarusian rider Branislau Samoilau from the event for racial abuse of Berhane during Wednesday’s fourth stage of the Tour of Austria.
A CCC spokesperson did not deny the allegations, stating to the Daily Telegraph: “In the heat of the battle some words have been said by our rider, which were very unfortunate and unacceptable.
“We, as a team, do not tolerate that kind of behaviour and the rider will suffer consequences. Before the next stage the situation has been clarified between two teams and the riders, but we don’t want to get into details.”
Image credit: Imago
The Telegraph also reported that Samoilau had made a gesture of apology by donating a month’s salary to the Qhubeka charity, which provides bikes to Africans.
Ryder had claimed: "Yesterday one of the riders from another team said to Natnael Berhane, ‘Get out of the way, you effing n*****’. Just outrageous.
“And one of the biggest teams in the world last year in the Tour of Spain, when we were trying to bring one of our riders to the front going into the mountains, said: ‘You guys don’t belong here, f*** off to the back of the bunch’. We have riders like Tyler [Farrar] and Edvald [Boasson-Hagen], riders who are well respected in the peloton, and they are their team-mates, and they say, ‘Hey guys, come on, these guys deserve to be here’.”