Tomorrow’s Tour de France stage will start without two of it’s most famous sprinters after a dramatic finish on the fourth stage.
Peter Sagan is no longer a part of the 2017 Tour de France. After being involved in Mark Cavendish crashing in the final on today’s stage, the jury has decided to disqualify the Slovak from the race. Cavendish will most likely not start tomorrow’s stage because of the injury he got from the crash. The TDF has lost two of it’s most profiled riders.
Let me just start by saying this: Bad and dangerous maneuvers happens in almost every sprint, but it doesn’t always (luckily) end up like today. In my point of view, both Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish tried to follow the wheel of Arnaud Démare. There wasn’t enough space. One of them basically had to give up, or one of them would end up face-down on the concrete. If Sagan was the one to fall, Cavendish would’ve gotten the blame. Cav fell, and Sagan is the one to pay. It was first announced that Sagan would get a 30 seconds penalty, but an hour later he was kicked entirely out of the race.
The question is; Was that the right decision?
Sagan’s elbow didn’t leave the jury any choice. Even though it actually seems like the elbow never hits Cav, it makes it look like he intentionally tried to push him out of the way. That’s endangering other riders, and the rules clearly say you will get disqualified from the race.
I definitely believe it is a harsh decision, because as I said, it doesn’t look like the elbow hits, and Cavendish are trying to pass Sagan where there simply isn’t any space. But Cavendish ends up on in the barriers, and someone gotta take the fall.
Another reason why Peter Sagan had to be disqualified is the incident with Mark Renshaw a few years ago. Renshaw head-butted Julian Dean several times in the sprint, clearing the path for his sprinter Mark Cavendish. The harsh decision to kick Renshaw out of the race back in 2010 is why letting Sagan stay in the race didn’t make any sense. The Tour de France painted themselves in a corner by sending the then-Team Columbia rider home, and that corner is even narrower now after the decision to put the five-time points classification winner on the train back home. Look for the Bora team to come running with protests if any of their riders are just barely touched in a later sprint, or any other team as well. This opens the door for a lot more protests.
Anyway, the reality is that we will have to do without both Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan for the rest of the Tour, and we will get a different winner of the green jersey for the first time since 2012.
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