VIT­TEL, FRANCE — One day Peter Sa­gan was twirling his fin­gers and cel­e­brat­ing vic­tory.

A day later, the world cham­pion from Slo­vakia — one of the sport’s big­gest stars — was dis­qual­i­fied from the Tour de France.

Sa­gan was sent home Tues­day for caus­ing a se­ri­ous crash in a chaotic sprint fin­ish that left Mark Cavendish need­ing treat­ment for his in­juries and fur­ther ex­am­i­na­tions in a hos­pi­tal.

About 50 me­tres from the end of Stage 4, Sa­gan el­bowed Cavendish, who was squeezed against the bar­ri­ers to his right, out of the way.

Cavendish slammed into the bar­ri­ers and two other rid­ers plowed over the Bri­tish sprint spe­cial­ist, a win­ner of 30 Tour stages.

“We have de­cided 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 were in­volved in the crash,” race jury pres­i­dent Philippe Marien of the UCI said.

Cavendish was taken to hos­pi­tal with hand and shoul­der in­juries. “I will def­i­nitely need stitches in this fin­ger, it’s bleed­ing a lot,” he said.

“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.”

Sa­gan was aim­ing to match Erik Za­bel’s record of six green jer­seys in the Tour’s points clas­si­fi­ca­tion, and he was right on tar­get af­ter winning Stage 3.

Af­ter the crash, Sa­gan went over to see how Cavendish was and pat­ted him on the back, while the Bri­tish rider showed him his wounds.

“It’s the sprint. I just didn’t know that Mark is be­hind me, he’s com­ing from the right side,” Sa­gan said. “Mark was com­ing pretty fast from the back and af­ter I just didn’t have time to re­act, to go left, and he just came (into) me and af­ter into the fence.”

There was an­other crash ear­lier that de­layed Tour leader Geraint Thomas, but the Welsh­man re­tained the yel­low jer­sey since it hap­pened in the neu­tral zone near the stage fin­ish.

Thomas leads Sky team­mate and three­time cham­pion Chris Froome by 12 sec­onds, with third-place Michael Matthews of Aus­tralia also 12 sec­onds back.


Ger­many’s John De­genkolb, left, and Bri­tain’s Mark Cavendish crash dur­ing the sprint of the fourth stage of the Tour de France.

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