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Peter Sagan disqualified from 2017 Tour de France

World champion causes Mark Cavendish to crash heavily in final sprint

Peter Sagan has been disqualified from the 2017 Tour de France after his role in Mark Cavendish’s crash in the final sprint of stage four.

Sagan barged Cavendish into the barriers as the Manxman tried to sneak through a tight gap, flicking out an elbow which caused the Manxman to crash badly.

The incident also caused John Degenkolb and Ben Swift to crash, and left Cavendish’s arm in a sling as he awaited an X-ray. Cavendish was later confirmed to have broken his shoulder and abandoned the race.

Upon the conclusion of the stage, Dimension Data directeur sportif Roger Hammond and Cavendish’s long-standing manager Rolf Aldag called for Sagan to be disqualified for the incident.

And race commissaires later agreed, having reviewed the footage, stating that Sagan’s ‘irregular sprinting’ merited disqualification, having initially only relegated the Slovakian and docked time and points.

Sagan, the world champion, has been ejected from the race as a result of the incident (Pic: Sirotti)

Race commissaires stated: “We decided to disqualify Peter Sagan from the 2017 Tour de France because he endangered seriously several other riders including Mark Cavendish in the final meters of the sprint which happened in Vittel.

“We apply article 12.104 of the UCI regulations which allow us to disqualify a rider.”

Sagan had said post-stage he was not aware of Cavendish closing in beside him, and went to the Dimension Data team bus to apologise.

Hammond, however, admitted he was furious post-stage, before Tweeting that the race jury could only make one decision – disqualify Sagan from the Tour.

Cavendish refused to initially pass judgement on the incident, stating that he wished to talk to Sagan about his use of the elbow before making comment, and reiterated that point upon learning of the world champion’s disqualification.

Mark Cavendish is helped to the finish line after crashing heavily on stage four of the Tour de France (Pic: Sirotti)

“I was massively grateful that Peter came directly after the finish to see me,” he told reporters. “With the movement to the right [during the sprint], obviously I wouldn’t be happy but that’s racing.

“But I was a little bit confused with the elbow. That’s something I’d like to speak to him about. I’m not angry, I’m a little confused. In terms of disqualification – that’s the jury’s decision.”

Aldag backed that view, telling reporters: “They are both sprinters, so they are hard guys, but I think the message we send out here is if the world champion can elbow his competitors off the bike at 65km/h… that’s pretty much life threatening so I don’t think we can accept that.”

He also took to Twitter after the stage, Tweeting for the first time since joining in April 2015 to say: “This was not a race accident. Violence. Hard to DQ a world champion from #letour, but needs to be done.”

Former sprinter Robbie McEwen also believed Sagan should have been disqualified, though not for the elbow but for his erratic sprinting line which forced Cavendish into the barriers.

However, he later took to Twitter to clarify his comment – stating he thought Sagan should have been relegated on the stage but not booted out of the Tour.

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