Mende - Australian Mark Renshaw has apologised to Tour de France officials for the headbutting incident which got him controversially thrown out the race on Thursday.
Renshaw, the lead-out man for British sprinter Mark Cavendish in the HTC-Columbia team, was excluded after he tried to headbutt Kiwi Julian Dean three times and also for blocking the path of American Tyler Farrar as they drove hard for the finish line.
Race officials acted almost immediately, first declassifying the normally affable Australian before excluding him from the rest of this year's race after checking television pictures.
Race course director Jean-Francois Pescheux said former track rider Renshaw, who played a key role in Cavendish's record-setting six stage wins on the 2009 edition, had called him to apologise.
"I apologise for what I did," Renshaw told officials, according to Pescheux, the Australian underlining the fact it has been a tough first 10 days of racing.
Pescheux said: "I appreciated the fact he called to say that."
Despite Renshaw's underhand tactics, Cavendish went on to claim his third win of this year's race and 13th from three participations.