Peter Sa­gan dis­qual­i­fied from race for el­bow­ing Mark Cavendish, caus­ing crash

Cy­clist causes crash yards from the fin­ish; in­jured Cavendish with­draws.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By An­drew Dampf and John Le­ices­ter

VIT­TEL, FRANCE» Mark Cavendish has been forced out of the Tour de France af­ter suf­fer­ing a frac­tured shoul­der blade in a se­ri­ous crash caused by world cham­pion Peter Sa­gan, who was dis­qual­i­fied from cy­cling’s show­case event.

Hours af­ter Tues­day’s crash in a chaotic sprint fin­ish to Stage 4, Cavendish’s Team Di­men­sion Data said on its Twit­ter feed that “Un­for­tu­nately, @MarkCavendish has been forced to with­draw from #TDF2017.”

The Bri­tish rider sus­tained hand and shoul­der in­juries in the crash, and was taken to a hos­pi­tal for checks.

“I’m ob­vi­ously mas­sively dis­ap­pointed to get this news about the frac­ture,” Cavendish said. “The team was in­cred­i­ble to­day.”

The crash oc­curred about 50 yards from the end of the stage, when 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.

“Mark suf­fered a frac­ture to the right scapula,” Team Di­men­sion Data doc­tor Adrian Ro­tunno said. “For­tu­nately no surgery is re­quired at this stage, and most im­por­tantly there is no nerve dam­age.”

Race jury pres­i­dent Philippe Marien of the UCI said race rules al­lowed or­ga­niz­ers to dis­qual­ify rid­ers in “se­ri­ous cases.”

“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,” Marien said.

Apart from dop­ing of­fenses, dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tions are rare in the Tour. In 2010, Aus­tralian Mark Ren­shaw was thrown out for a head-butt that cleared a path in a sprint for his team­mate Cavendish to win the stage in Bourg-Les-Va­lence.

“I get on with Peter well, but I don’t get ... if he came across is one thing, but the el­bow. I’m not a fan of him putting his el­bow in me like that,” Cavendish said.

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.

The Slo­vak said later he had apol­o­gized to Cavendish.

“It’s not nice to crash like that,” said Sa­gan, who had fin­ished the stage in sec­ond place be­hind De­mare.

“It’s the sprint. I just didn’t know that Mark is be­hind me, he’s com­ing from the right side,” Sa­gan added. “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.”

“If there was a mis­take, then you have to con­grat­u­late the jury for hav­ing the courage to pun­ish the world cham­pion, the big star of cy­cling to­day,” said France’s Ar­naud De­mare, who won Tues­day’s stage.

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 fin­ish.

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

Jeff Pachoud, AFP/Getty Images

Slo­vakia’s Peter Sa­gan, sec­ond from the left, el­bows Great Bri­tain’s Mark Cavendish, left, who falls near the fin­ish line of the Tour de France on Tues­day in Vit­tel, France.

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