5 Jul 2017

Sagan kicked off Tour

10:28 am on 5 July 2017

The British cyclist Mark Cavendish is out of the Tour de France after suffering an injury in a crash on the latest stage.

Mark Cavendish crashes on Tour de France.

Mark Cavendish crashes on Tour de France. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

World champion Peter Sagan was disqualified from the Tour by the race jury for causing the crash, which sent Cavendish into the barriers 120 metres before the finish line on the fourth stage.

Cavendish had spent three months battling back from the Epstein-Barr virus in order to make the start line of the Tour in Dusseldorf, and his early exit will come as a bitter blow.

Cavendish broke his shoulder blade in the crash.

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

"They executed to perfection what we wanted to do this morning. I feel I was in a good position to win and to lose that and even having to leave the Tour, a race I have built my whole career around, is really sad."

As news broke of Cavendish's departure, Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe team announced they had officially lodged a protest against the Slovakian's expulsion.

France's Arnaud Demare won the fourth stage and took the green sprinters jersey.

Mark Cavendish crashes on Tour de France.

Mark Cavendish crashes on Tour de France. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sagan made heavy contact with Cavendish in the sprint to the line and appeared to elbow him right before Cavendish crashed into the barriers and then to the pavement within a few hundred metres of the finish line.

Cavendish wasn't happy with the contact he received from Sagan, who he felt hit him with an extended elbow.

"If he came across that is one thing but I am not a fan of him putting his elbow out like that," Cavendish vented after the stage had finished.

Race organisers appeared to agree and disqualified Sagan from the 2017 Tour hours after the finish of the stage.

"Peter Sagan is disqualified from the 2017 Tour de France after today's tumultuous sprint in Vittel," race jury president Philippe Marien told reporters.

Yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas crashed earlier in the finale but since the incident occurred within the final three kilometres, he will be credited with the same time as the winner.

Sagan had finished the bunch sprint in second but when he was disqualified it moved Alexander Kristoff into second and Andra Greipel into third.

Australia's Michael Matthews was in the bunch finish as well and finished the stage in seventh place.

Matthews is level with reigning champion Chris Froome in the general classification, 12 seconds behind Thomas.