In a split second,Démare swerves in front of Sagan and Cavendish gets caught in a narrow gap. (Youtube)

When the world’s best sprinters race for glory, a split second is the only deciding factor between victory, expulsion or injury. In stage 4 of Tour de France 2017, we saw all three consequences before the finish line at Vittel.

Controversially, world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) has been disqualified from the 2017 Tour de France for allegedly causing a crash which resulted in a fractured collarbone Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data). The race jury announced the news at a hastily arranged press conference in the media centre, more than an hour after the stage had finished.

Sagan kept upright and crossed the finish line in second place but had connected with Mark Cavendish in the sprint for the line. He was initially docked 30 seconds and 80 points in the Green Jersey competition. However, upon further video analysis, the jury announced the new decision to the media.

Mark Cavendish crashes out of the Tour de France 2017 in stage 4. (Bettini Photo)

“We’ve decided to disqualify Peter Sagan from the Tour de France 2017 after the tumultuous sprint, here in Vittel. He endangered multiple riders, Mark Cavendish and others who were implicated in the crash, in the final meters of the sprint,” an official from the race jury announced.

“We applied article 12.104, irregular sprints, in which case commissaires are allowed to enforce a judgement to disqualify a rider and amend a fine.”

Ben Swift (UAE Emirates) tumbles in the crash too. (Bettini Photo)

The stage was won by Arnaud Démare (FDJ) but the crash – the second within the final couple of kilometres drew most attention. Arguably, it can be said that the chain of reactions was started when Démare had swerved in front of Sagan, leaving Sagan little time to react with Cavendish coming hard and fast behind him on the right.

Sagan then moved his right elbow out, causing Cavendish to move off his line and into the barriers at high speed. Subsequently, Cavendish was then hit by John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Ben Swift (UAE Emirates) who also fell in the incident.

Sagan has apologised to Cavendish for causing the crash. Cavendish was taken to hospital after the crash and has suffered a fractured collarbone which has resulted in his withdrawal from the tour.

“I get on with Peter well. But if he came across that’s one thing, but the elbow, I’m not a fan of him putting his elbow in me like that. Like I said, I get on with Peter, a crash is a crash but I just need to know about the elbow really. ” said Cavendish after the crash.

“I went fully over the handlebars, and I had a pretty bad crash. In the end, luckily, there is nothing broken, no fractures. But still I have a very painful right shoulder, and we will see how it goes tomorrow if I can be on the bike. I will give everything and hope to continue, of course,” said Degenkolb who escaped with no serious injury.

Watch the crash happen here courtesy of Sport Time.

Source: Cycling News.