Angry ... Bradley Wiggins has lashed out at critics. Photo: AP
Tour de France leader Brad Wiggins has hit back at anonymous internet critics with a profanity-laden attack.
At the end of his post-stage eight media conference, the yellow jersey wearer was asked what he thought of people who use forums such as Twitter to accuse him of doping.
Wiggins fights off his rivals on stage eight
Race leader Bradley Wiggins successfully holds off the challenges from Cadel Evans, Jurgen Van den Broek and Vincenzo Nibali on stage eight. Photo: Getty Images
Wiggins's Sky team is the dominant squad at the Tour this year and some are now comparing them to the powerful teams that supported Lance Armstrong through his record seven titles.
Armstrong and several support staff on those Tour victories are now subjects of US Anti-Doping Agency charges.
"I say they're just f ---ing wankers, I cannot be doing [sic] with people like that," said Wiggins, who holds a 10-second lead over defending champion Cadel Evans.
"It justifies their own bone-idleness because they can't ever imagine applying themselves to do anything in their lives.
"It's easy for them to sit under a pseudonym on Twitter and write that sort of shit, rather than get off their arses in their own lives and apply themselves and work hard at something and achieve something.
"And that's ultimately it - c----."
Evans was soon on Twitter noting Wiggins's comments.
"Bradley Wiggins has a few choice words for those who doubt racing can be clean," Evans said as he also posted a link to the comments.
Retired Australian star Robbie McEwen and fellow sprinter Mark Cavendish also backed Wiggins.
American Christian Vande Velde, who is not commenting on speculation he has testified against Armstrong, was another to offer support.
Wiggins's compatriot David Millar, who has resurrected his career after being busted for doping, saw the funny side of the comments.
"Wiggo's now better at me in everything to do with cycling, profanity-filled interviews were all I had left. Now he’s taken that crown. Darn," Millar tweeted.
While cycling continues to pay for a shocking past attitude towards doping, riders are increasingly frustrated that their sport receives little credit for trying to clean itself up.
They note they are probably the most-tested and scrutinised athletes in professional sport.
Sky rode brilliantly in stage seven to put Wiggins into the overall lead, with Australian teammates Richie Porte and Michael Rogers driving the pace on the final climb.
Teammate Chris Froome also won the stage and took the lead in the king of the mountains category.
Wiggins finished fourth in stage eight to retain his lead ahead of the crucial stage nine time trial.