Tour de France leader Chris Froome: Fan threw urine at me

MENDE, France -- A spectator yelling "Doper!" hurled a cup of urine at Chris Froome, the Tour de France leader said, in Saturday's Stage 14, which was won by fellow British rider Stephen Cummings.

"That's unacceptable on so many levels," said Froome. "He just sort of launched this cup toward me."

His teammate Richie Porte said another person, also seemingly a spectator, punched him a few days earlier on a climb in the Pyrenees. He and Froome both feel that some of the reporting about the Tour, in which Froome has faced pointed questions about his dominant performance and insinuations of doping, is turning public opinion against them.

Froome, who has already proved himself to be thick-skinned, said: "I'm not going to give up the race because a few guys are shouting insults."

Generations of dopers, none more famous than Lance Armstrong, means that trust in cycling is in short supply, and Froome's repeated assurances that he is clean have fallen on deaf ears.

"This is the legacy that has been handed to us," Froome said.

Although such incidents remain rare, Froome is not the first rider in Tour history to have been doused by urine. The unpleasant incident put a damper on a day when he extended his already comfortable race lead.

Cummings got South African team MTN-Qhubeka its first win, on the day that South Africans celebrate as International Nelson Mandela Day. Established in 2009, Mandela Day is meant to encourage South Africans to emulate Mandela's humanitarian legacy and recognize the decades he spent fighting apartheid.

Cummings ambushed two French riders, Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot, on a short flat section after the steep final climb.

"Fantastic," Cummings said.

Bardet and Pinot reached the summit together on the short but very sharp final ascent, only for Cummings to speed past them and take the win on an airfield above the town of Mende.

Bardet said he and Pinot were guilty of watching each other too much, neglecting the danger from Cummings catching them from behind.

"He was very crafty," Bardet said. "Very disappointed."

There were changes in the overall standings.

Tejay van Garderen, who had been second overall, struggled on the final ascent and couldn't stay with Froome and Nairo Quintana, who had been third overall at the start of the stage in Rodez.

Froome beat Quintana to the line with a finishing sprint. The Sky team leader now has an overall lead of 3 minutes, 10 seconds over Quintana, who vaulted into second place. Van Garderen is third, 3:32 behind Froome.