Kiwi cyclist George Bennett has taken time out from his finest hour - victory in the Tour of California - to lament the strained relationship between riders and motorists on New Zealand roads.
Bennett, 27, became the first NZ cyclist to claim a tour on the world circuit, snatching the lead in Saturday's 24km time trial and holding it over the 125km final leg in Pasadena this morning.
But he admitted to Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch that he feared for his safety and that of other cyclists training in a hostile environment, especially back home.
"People always ask, how is cycling in New Zealand and there are two sides to the story," he said, soon after his win. "On one side, there's this great sport that's developing and kids are getting into it, and it's saving the environment and saving people money ... everything like that.
"So it's this really positive thing, but you have this driver rage, where everyone's like 'get off the road' and there's no place for cycling on the road, and it's super dangerous."
Bennett told Veitch he knew of three cyclists who had died in accidents over the past month. Those fatalities weren't all on New Zealand roads - one was respected Italian professional Michele Scarponi, who was hit by a van, while training in Italy.
Bennett and Scarponi had battled for a top-10 finish in last year's Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain), with Bennett eventually prevailing.
"I think about it a lot, I think about it at training," he told Veitch. "I've got my mum on a road bike and I think about it when she's riding.
"I think the attitude needs to change in New Zealand, because people can't believe it. When they come to New Zealand or [Australia], they say this is such a nice place - this is my European team-mates - but what the hell's wrong with the drivers.
"Everyone's swerving at them and they just can't believe this is how people are treated on the road. In Europe, it's completely different."
But Bennett conceded the fault did not lie solely with motorists and cyclists needed to take a close look at their own behavior on the roads.
"I also understand the flipside and that sometimes cyclists can be their own worst enemies. You get crazy bunch rides, especially around Auckland, where they're riding five across the road.
"I really detest that, because that makes it dangerous for me, when I'm out riding.
"New Zealand definitely has a long way to go on that front and I can also appreciate that cyclists need to think about how they are going about things, but the general attitude of 'get off the road' is really bad."