Sa­gan makes his mark on fallen Cavendish

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

VIT­TEL: French cham­pion Ar­naud De­mare claimed his maiden Tour de France stage win when he pow­ered to vic­tory in a crash-marred fi­nale on day four yes­ter­day, while world cham­pion Peter Sa­gan­was pe­nalisedafter send­ing Mark Cavendish crash­ing to the ground.

Bri­tish sprinter Cavendish came down at full speed within a hun­dred me­tres of the fin­ish line af­ter be­ing el­bowed off bal­ance by Sa­gan, who took sec­ond place but washandeda 30-sec­ond penalty by the race jury.

Sa­gan, who is look­ing to clinch a record-equalling sixth green jersey for the points clas­si­fi­ca­tion, was also docked 80 points.

Cavendish, who has 30 Tour stage wins to his name, was try­ing to race up along the safety bar­rier on the right-hand side of the road.

“He was com­ing from be­hind, I did not have time to re­act and go left,” said Sa­gan, who af­ter­wards went to Cavendish’s team bus to apol­o­gise.

Ger­man John De­genkolb, last years Paris-Roubaix cham­pion, also crashed as he ran into Cavendish on the ground.

The Bri­ton of the Di­men­sion Data team even­tu­ally got back on his bike and crossed the line af­ter be­ing at­tended to by race medics.

Cavendish, wear­ing a sling, was later taken to the race’s med­i­cal cen­tre for checks on his wrist and col­lar­bone.

Cavendish, mean­hile, de­manded ex­pla­na­tions from Sa­gan.

“I get on with Peter well, but I don’t get ... if he came across it’s one thing, but the el­bow...,” said Cavendish.

“I’m not a fan of him putting his el­bow in me like that. A crash is a crash. I’d just like to know about the el­bow, re­ally. I’d just like to speak to him about it.”

The race’s yellow jersey holder, Geraint Thomas, hit the deck in a sep­a­rate pile-up near the end, but as the in­ci­dent oc­curred within the fi­nal three kilo­me­tres, he will be cred­ited with the same time as the win­ner.

Both Thomas and­de­fend­ing cham­pion Chris Froome, who was held up be­hind the crash, are fine, Team Sky re­ported.

“I went to the ground, but no se­ri­ous dam­age,” said Thomas, who was also brought down in a crash on Sun­day.

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

De­mare, the 2011 Un­der-21 world cham­pion, burst into the lime­light when he won the ‘Mon­u­ment’ clas­sic Mi­lan-San Remo last year.

But yes­ter­day’s vic­tory was more spe­cial.

“It’s re­ally spe­cial be­cause the Tour is some­thing that goes be­yond cy­cling,” said De­mare, who for the first time in his ca­reer has ded­i­cated team­mates for the sprints on a grand tour, af­ter FDJ re­cruited two strong do­mes­tiques in Da­vide Ci­mo­lai and Ja­copo Guarnieri.

De­mare took the green jersey for the points clas­si­fi­ca­tion thanks to his win and now has a wide lead of 109 points over Sa­gan.

To­day’s fifth stage is a 160.5km ride from Vit­tel, end­ing up La Planche des Belles Filles, a lung-bust­ing 5.9-km climb at an av­er­age gra­di­ent of 8.5 per­cent.

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