Tour de France Stage 4: Arnaud Demare wins, Mark Cavendish crashes hard

Tour de France Stage 4: Arnaud Demare wins, Mark Cavendish crashes hard

"We have chose to disqualify Peter Sagan from Tour de France 2017 as he endangered some of his colleagues seriously in the final metres of the sprint which happened in Vittel", said race jury president Philippe Marien.

He cited Article 12 of the International Cycling Union (UCI) rules, which states that any rider making a wilful obstruction "against one of the 1st 10 riders placed" faces elimination. Cavendish slammed into the barriers and two other riders plowed over the British sprint specialist, a victor of 30 Tour stages.

I don't know if I've snapped the fake ligament in or what - I'm going to go and get it looked at.

The deficit was reduced with around 70 kilometres to go, but instead of becoming quieter, the stage all of the sudden turned into an even more eventful one, as three other men jumped from the bunch and joined the leaders., but with ten kilometres remaining everything came back together.

"I'm ok, I'm in a little bit of pain, I'll go for some more tests now, we'll see", Cavendish told a scrum of reporters outside his Dimension Data team's bus.

But it might also have surprised fans who would have expected him to be marking his general classification rivals further down the final climb rather than burning energy chasing Sagan. Marcel Kittel, Arnaud Démare, André Greipel, Peter Sagan - obviously, Mark Cavendish, Alexander Kristoff and Dylan Groenewegen will all be hoping to get involved on the slightly uphill, but not too steep, finish.

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Initial reports said Sagan had been penalised 30 seconds and 80 green jersey points, although that has now been changed to a disqualification. He remained in the front for nearly 200Km until the peloton and Movistar took control with 15km left of the stage.

"Apart from a few abrasions and some lacerations he's doing fine".

The Irishman admitted he surprised himself with the fight he put up in finishing behind world champion Peter Sagan and Australian Michael Matthews in Longwy.

Sagan drifted into Cavendish's line, and appeared to have his elbow out as he bumped into Cavendish, but Cavendish may have made contact first, forcing Sagan to throw out his elbow to balance his bike. Thomas finished eighth, two seconds behind Sagan, with Chris Froome ninth. "There was a crash in front of us and again I had nowhere to go".

In all the furore of another bunch pile-up, French champion Demare's achievement of becoming the first Frenchman to win a Tour stage in a sprint finish since 2006 was nearly lost.

"If I was Sagan, I'd apologize for that", said Roger Hammond, Cavendish's sports director at Dimension Data.

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