British cyclist Mark Cavendish crashed in the final stages of stage four of the Tour de France following an elbow from world champion Peter Sagan, who was subsequently disqualified.
The crash occurred merely 200 metres from the finish and left Cavendish’s Tour de France in serious jeopardy after he was taken to hospital and treated for serious cuts on his hands.
The Manxman’s directeur sportif at Dimension Data, Roger Hammond, described the incident as “a flick of the elbow which was completely outrageous.”
He added: “No one comes out of it well. This is a sad, sad day for the sport, Sagan is a hero and an idol of mine, but a precedent has to be set.”
Initially, however, Sagan was demoted to 115th place in the race and given thirty-second penalty, although the president of the jury, Philip Marien, said the referees applied a sterner sanction because the world champion “had put several other riders involved in the crash in danger.”
After the race Cavendish expressed his frustration at the actions of Sagan – “The elbow, I am not a fan of it,” he told reporters.
Nevertheless, Cavendish expressed that he has a good relationship with Peter and he wants to resolve the situation with the world champion before further action is taken.
Of the riders that crashed, it was the Brit who came out the worst. He lay prone on the tarmac as the rest of the group passed and crossed the line several minutes after the stage winner Arnaud Demare. He was holding his right shoulder, with his skin suit ripped from shoulder to waist, and with heavy bandaging on his right hand.
“I’m going to go and get it checked out,” Cavendish continued. “I will definitely need stitches in this finger, it’s bleeding a lot. With the shoulder, it might be something to do with a previous injury, it’s sat backwards so I’m not sure if I’ve done something to the ligament. I’m not a doctor but from the feelings I’m not optimistic.”
We will have to wait and see whether the British cyclist is able to continue in this years Tour de France, although it doesn’t look likely.