Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SPORTS - BY MIKE WALTERS

AXED sprint leg­end Mark Cavendish’s wife Peta has branded Team Di­men­sion Data boss Doug Ry­der a “cow­ard” af­ter leav­ing him out of the Tour de France.

The Manx Mis­sile’s mis­sus is out­raged Bri­tain’s 30-times stage win­ner (above) will not be able to trim Eddy Mer­ckx’s all-time record of 34.

Ry­der said: “Mark is a leg­end of the race. We se­lected a team based on the route and how hard it is this year. It was a team de­ci­sion.”

But Di­men­sion Data head of per­for­mance Rolf Aldag con­tra­dicted Ry­der and Peta tweeted: “There is a fair amount of fic­tion in that state­ment. Un­for­tu­nately this is no sur­prise. The truth al­ways comes out in the end. Cowards can’t hide for­ever.”

Aldag said: “It’s within my re­spon­si­bil­ity to se­lect a team – I called eight names and Mark was in­cluded.

“But the team owner has the right to over­rule me, which he did.”

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