Sagan kicked off Tour for Cavendish elbow

About 50 meters (yards) from the end of Stage 4, Sagan elbowed Cavendish, who was trying to pass, but was squeezed against the barriers to his right, out of the way.

Race jury president Philippe Marien of the UCI says, "We have chose to disqualify Peter Sagan from the 2017 Tour de France after the tumultuous sprint here in Vittel, where he endangered several riders, including Mark Cavendish and others who involved in the crash".

Soon after the race though, Sagan was disqualified having appeared to have caught Cavendish with his elbow.

"Like I said, I get on with Peter, a crash is a crash, but I'd like to know about the elbow".

"A crash is a crash, I'd just like to know about the elbow really".

Cavendish crashed out of the 2014 Tour de France in Harrogate when he suffered a separated right shoulder.

Sagan was subsequently docked 30 seconds by the race jury for the incident, losing his second place finish and the green jersey points on offer.

His Dimension Data team said the Briton was going to the hospital to have checks on his wrist and collarbone. "I'm delighted", Sagan said.

Unable to react, Germany's John Degenkolb (Trek Segafredo) and Britain's Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) both ploughed into Cavendish's prone body before flying over their handlebars. He took the green jersey for the points classification in the process.

It came on a day when fellow British rider, yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas, was involved in another crash at the end of what had otherwise been a fairly uneventful ride through the flatlands of the Lorraine region, from the Belgian border. He still leads team-mate Chris Froome, the defending champion, by 12 seconds ahead of Wednesday's Stage 5 in the Vosges mountains. "I hit the deck but I'm fine", Thomas said.

Norway's Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) came home third, but moved up to second after Sagan's expulsion, as FDJ rider Demare, who has been in impressive form lately, had time to raise his arms in celebration before crossing the line.

Starting from Verviers, the native town of Ronde van Vlaanderen and Amstel Gold Race champion Philippe Gilbert, stage 3 of the Tour de France saw the riders make a foray into Luxembourg before arriving in France for the first time this year, three days after the Grand Depart in Düsseldorf.

Early reports claimed that Cavendish had broken his shoulder, but the 31-year-old could not confirm this after he made a brief appearance - sporting a sling - outside his team bus after the stage.

Tomorrow's fifth stage takes the Tour another 160.5 kilometers from Vittel to La planche des belles filles.

  • Rogelio Becker