Arnaud Demare (FDJ) won stage four of the 2017 Tour de France in Vittel in a chaotic sprint which saw Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) crash heavily into the barriers, leading to Peter Sagan’s (Bora-hansgrohe) disqualification from the race.
An earlier crash within the final two kilometres had already seen yellow jersey Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) hit the deck and a vastly-reduced group continue to contest the sprint.
And worse was to follow in the sprint as Cavendish tried to thread his way through a narrow gap, only for Sagan to stick out an elbow and force the Manxman into the barriers. Sagan was subsequently disqualified from the Tour de France by the race jury (read the full story on Sagan’s disqualification).
Fellow Brit Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) also went down as Cavendish skidded back across the road.
It left Demare, positioned further forward in the middle of the road and out of the trouble, to celebrate his first Tour stage win, ahead of Sagan.
Cavendish received medical attention on the road but crossed the line on his bike, before speaking about the incident to the press gathered outside the Dimension Data team bus.
“If he came across, it’s one thing – but the elbow, I’m not a fan of putting the elbow in like that,” said Cavendish. “A crash is a crash, but I’d like to know about the elbow. I’d like to speak with Peter, I have a good relationship with him.”
— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 4, 2017