Tour de France 2017: Peter Sagan appeals against disqualification over Mark Cavendish crash

Mark Cavendish being elbowed by Peter Sagan
Race judges ruled that Cavendish (far left) was put into the barriers by Sagan
Tour de France: 1-23 July
Coverage: Live text commentary of every stage on the BBC Sport website. BBC Radio coverage on 5 live sports extra and/or website from 14:30 BST on every stage.

World champion Peter Sagan was disqualified from the Tour de France for causing the crash which ended Mark Cavendish's race.

The Briton accused Sagan, 27, of elbowing him during the sprint finish to stage four in Vittel.

Cavendish, 32, crashed into the barriers and later pulled out of the race with a broken shoulder.

Bora-Hansgrohe said Slovak Sagan "stayed on his line in the sprint and could not see Cavendish on the right side".

Sagan added: "Mark was coming really fast from the back and I just didn't have time to react and to go left. He came into me and he went into the fence.

"When I was told after the finish that Mark had crashed, I went straight away to find out how he was doing.

"We are friends and colleagues in the peloton and crashes like that are never nice. I hope Mark recovers soon."

Dimenson Data rider Cavendish said immediately after the stage: "I get on well with Peter and a crash is a crash but I'm not a fan of him putting his elbow in."

Sagan, who finished second, was initially docked 30 seconds and 80 points, but Dimension Data contested that decision.

After a review, Philippe Marien, president of the race commission, said Sagan was disqualified because he "endangered some of his colleagues seriously".

Briton Geraint Thomas kept his overall lead as Arnaud Demare became the first Frenchman to win a bunch sprint stage at the Tour since 2006.

Defending champion Chris Froome remains second overall, 12 seconds behind compatriot Thomas.

Crash mars Demare's maiden win

Mark Cavendish
In scenes reminiscent of the opening stage in Harrogate in 2014, Cavendish received treatment on the road

The sprint for the line was in full flow with Cavendish tracking Demare down the right-hand side of the road with the riders travelling at about 60km/h.

Sagan also moved to his right to use Demare as a lead-out man and, from cameras behind the race, seemed to flick an elbow out at Cavendish as they battled for space.

The camera angle from the front suggested Sagan was trying to keep his balance, but Cavendish was left with nowhere to go except into the barriers.

Cavendish, who has won 30 Tour de France stages - four behind the all-time record of Eddy Merckx - said Sagan apologised to him after the stage.

Mark Cavendish (centre)
An injured Cavendish crosses the line in Vittel

The Manxman landed heavily on the right shoulder that he dislocated when he crashed out on stage one of the 2014 Tour de France in Harrogate.

His right hand was bandaged before he remounted his bike and pedalled over the line. An X-ray later revealed a fractured right shoulder.

Sagan, who was aiming to equal Erik Zabel's record of winning six successive points classification titles. stayed upright to finish second on the stage before he was disqualified.

Dimension Data sporting director Roger Hammond tweeted an overhead view of the incident with the words: "Causes a big crash at 1.5 to go, elbows fellow competitor in the head 300 meters... can only result in one decision. #Goodbye."

Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish
Hammond tweeted a screen grab of the incident, with Cavendish far right

'Extremely harsh to disqualify Sagan' - analysis

Former GB cyclist Rob Hayles on BBC Radio 5 live

Cavendish was unlucky to come off the worst. I also think Sagan has come off unlucky. It is extremely harsh.

He was in a position he couldn't get himself out of. The bike was coming from underneath him and the elbow coming up is a natural instinct of the rider. He was off balance as well.

It is true from first look it appears that he gets his elbow up and 'whack, have some of that, Cavendish'. It made it look worse than it was.

Initially we heard that they had relegated Sagan to the back of the peloton and a 30-second penalty. I thought that was fair. Something had to be done and they needed to make a decision.

An hour later they disqualified him. It is bad for Sagan and really bad for the race - the world champion with a potential green jersey going home. It is a brave decision by the commissaires.

They have said it is an irregular sprint. That is sprinting; they are all irregular.

Had Sagan not done what he did he would have gone down himself. He had nowhere to go other than to put his brakes on and they don't do that.

Thomas retains race lead

The 207km stage from Mondorf-les-Bains had been a relatively sedate race after Belgian Guillaume van Keirsbulck made a solo break from the start.

He led for around 191km, building a lead of 13 minutes, before being caught by the peloton as the teams of the sprinters jostled to get their riders in the best positions.

Welshman Thomas was also brought down in a separate crash in the closing stages but said: "Luckily I took off most of the speed."

He said Team Sky team-mate Froome was also "OK" after being held up by the incident.

Thomas crossed the line more than two minutes after Demare, but because the crash happened in the final 3km on a designated sprint stage, he was credited with the same time as the winner and retains the yellow jersey.

Alexander Kristoff was promoted to second and Andre Greipel third after the disqualification of Sagan.

All the other general classification riders finished with the same time, meaning no significant changes in the standings.

Stage five is the first mountain-top finish of the race, at La Planche des Belles Filles, the scene of Froome's first Tour stage win in 2012.

Stage four result:

1. Arnaud Demare (Fra/FDJ) 4hrs 53mins 54secs

2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/Katusha) Same time

3. Andre Greipel (Ger/Lotto)

4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra/Cofidis)

5. Adrien Petit (Fra/Direct Energie)

6. Juergen Roelandts (Bel/Lotto)

7. Michael Matthews (Aus/Sunweb)

8. Manuele Mori (Ita/UAE Team Emirates)

9. Tiesj Benoot (Bel/Lotto)

10. Zdenek Stybar (Cze/Quick-Step)

General classification after stage four:

1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) 14hrs 54mins 25secs

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +12secs

3. Michael Matthews (Aus/Sunweb) Same time

4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Dimension Data) +16secs

5. Pierre Latour (Fra/AG2R) +25secs

6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel/Quick-Step) +30secs

7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Team Sky) +32secs

8. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto) Same time

9. Arnaud Demare (Fra/FDJ) +33secs

10. Nikias Arndt (Ger/Sunweb) +34secs

Selected others:

18. Simon Yates (GB/Orica-Scott) +45secs

20. Richie Porte (Aus/BMC Racing) +47secs

21. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +48secs

24. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R) +51secs

26. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +53secs

27. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) +54secs

29. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) Same time

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