Tour de France | Peter Sagan Protests Disqualification For "Causing Cavendish Crash" on Stage 4 Finish
Sagan was firstly docked 30 seconds and 80 points, but Team Dimension Data contested...
World Champion Peter Sagan has been disqualified from the Tour de France for causing the crash that sent British rider Mark Cavendish down in the final 200m of sprinting in stage four – but his team have appealed against the decision.
The brutal crash occurred when Cavendish was lining up for the final sprint on eventual winner Arnaud Demare’s wheel, only for Sagan to drift right after reported skidding from the wheel of Andre Greipel.
Sagan then stuck out his elbow, causing Cavendish to crash into the barriers and break his shoulder as Sagan rode on to finish in second place on the stage. Cavendish has since withdrawn from the race.
In a statement from team Bora-Hansgrohe, they confirmed that a protest had been lodged, though officially a team cannot appeal the original decision.
Bora-Hansgrohe said that Sagan “stayed on his line in the sprint and could not see Cavendish on the right side."
Part of the statement read that Sagan said: ‘“In the sprint I didn’t know that Mark Cavendish was behind me.
“He was coming from the right side, and I was trying to go on Kristoff’s wheel. 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."
Dimension Data sporting director Roger Hammond meanwhile tweeted an overhead view of the incident (below) and said: "Causes a big crash at 1.5 to go, elbows fellow competitor in the head 300 meters... can only result in one decision. #Goodbye."
The decision has drawn significant controversy in the road cycling community. If it is upheld, Sagan will be denied the opportunity of equalling Erik Zabel’s record of winning six successive green jerseys in a row. It is very much a history-making call.
And there can be no doubt that the Tour will be less exciting without him involved as well.
The Slovakian is renowned for winning the green jersey – having won the points classification every year since his Tour de France debut in 2012.
Sagan was initially docked 30 seconds and 80 points, but Mark Cavendish’s team Dimension Data contested that decision resulting in the eventual disqualification decision.
Phillipe Marien, President of the Race Commission, said after a review that Sagan had been disqualified because he had “endangered some of his colleagues seriously."
Former Great Britain cyclist Rob Hayles though told BBC Radio 5 Live that it was “extremely harsh to disqualify Sagan".
He said: “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."