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VITTEL, France (VN) — World champion Peter Sagan was sensationally kicked out of the Tour de France on Tuesday for causing a crash that saw Mark Cavendish taken to hospital.
“We’ve decided to disqualify Peter Sagan from the Tour de France 2017 as he endangered some of his colleagues seriously in the final meters of the sprint which happened in Vittel,” said the president of the race commission Philippe Marien, who cited article 12.104 of the UCI rulebook which gives officials the authority to disqualify a rider.
“I’d like to know more about the elbow,” Mark Cavendish said, reflecting the curiosity of the entire Tour de France.
Two crashes marred the finale of Tuesday’s fourth stage to Vittel, but it was the second that caused uproar. With less than 150 meters to go, Cavendish and Peter Sagan tangled close to the barriers. Sagan moved right, Cavendish moved up, there was head contact, an elbow came out, and Cavendish hit the deck at high speed. He went to the hospital Tuesday evening but no diagnosis has yet been released.
The race jury faulted Sagan. It initially docked him 30 seconds, plus 80 points in the points competition before disqualifying him.
Cavendish’s team seemed to want more. Rolf Aldag, Cavendish’s sport director at Dimension Data, “If it is in the rulebook that you can elbow someone with 200 meters to go then we need to rewrite the rules,” he said. Roger Hammond, another Dimension Data sport director, took to Twitter.
Cavendish was more circumspect.
“I get on with Peter,” he said. “If he came across, that’s one thing, but the elbow. I’m not a fan of him putting his elbow into me like that. Like I said, I get on with Peter. A crash is a crash. I’d just like to know about the elbow.”
The question of whether or not Sagan should be disqualified should be left to the jury, he added.
Cavendish crashed hard on his shoulder, and his finger was bleeding after the finish line. Before he left for the hospital he spoke with a scrum of reporters.
“Injury-wise, I’m going to go and get it checked out,” he said. “I will definitely need stitches in this finger, it’s bleeding a lot.
“With the shoulder, it might be something to do with a previous injury, it’s sat backwards so I’m not sure if I’ve done something to the ligament. I’m not a doctor, but from the feelings I’m not optimistic.”
Cavendish crashed on the opening stage of the Tour de France in 2014 and underwent shoulder surgery.
Sagan defended his part of the crash. “I wanted to go on [Démare’s] wheel, but Cav was coming pretty fast from the back,” he said. “After, I didn’t have time to react to go left. And after, he just came to me, and after into the fence.”
Sagan made his way to Dimension Data’s bus following the incident and the two spoke. “Apologized? Yes, for sure, because it’s not nice to crash like that,” Sagan said afterward.