Tour de France 2017: Peter Sagan disqualified for 'elbowing' Mark Cavendish before crash

World champion Peter Sagan was disqualified from the Tour de France for causing Mark Cavendish to crash on stage four.

Cavendish receiving treatment on the road
Cavendish receiving treatment on the road

The Briton accused Sagan of elbowing him during the sprint finish in Vittel.

Cavendish, 32, finished the stage after receiving medical treatment for several minutes, before going for an X-ray.

"I get on well with Peter and a crash is a crash but I'm not a fan of him putting his elbow in," said Dimension Data rider Cavendish.

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.

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 Frenchman Demare as a lead-out man and, from cameras behind the race, seemed to flick an elbow out at Cavendish as the two battled for space.

The camera angle from the front suggested Sagan was trying to keep his balance but leaving Cavendish 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.

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.

"I need stitches in a finger," said Cavendish, who also had his right arm in a sling after the stage.

"It's something to do with the shoulder that I hurt in Harrogate. I'm not a doctor but I'm not optimistic."

Slovakian Sagan stayed upright to finish second on the stage, but his disqualification means his hopes of equalling Erik Zabel's record of winning six successive points classification titles is over.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider said before his disqualification was announced: "He was coming from behind. I did not have time to react and go left. He came to me and I had to defend."

Asked if he had apologised for the crash, he said: "For sure, because it's not nice to crash like that."

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."

The initial stage results posted on the Tour's website showed Sagan had been docked 30 seconds and 80 points, but Dimension Data contested that decision.

After a review, Philippe Marien, president of the race commission, said: "We've decided to disqualify Peter Sagan as he endangered some of his colleagues seriously in the final metres of the sprint in Vittel.

"We will apply article 12.104 of the rules of the UCI... in which case commissaires (the race jury) can decide to enforce a judgement to disqualify a rider."