Peter Sagan sensationally booted from Tour de France as Arnaud Demare wins Stage 4

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    France’s Arnaud Demare won the fourth stage of the Tour de France and took the green sprinters jersey on a day that saw the winner of the last five green jerseys, Peter Sagan, kicked out of the race.

    Sagan made heavy contact with British sprinter Mark 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.

    He cited Article 12 of the International Cycling Union (UCI) rules, which states that any rider making a wilful obstruction “against one of the 1st 10 riders placed” faces elimination.

    In 2010, Cavendish’s then lead-out man Mark Renshaw of Australia was kicked out of the race for headbutting New Zealand’s Julian Dean in a sprint.

    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.

    Team BMC’s Australia star Richie Porte failed to make any dent in the gap to Froome or Thomas and is 47 seconds adrift of the leaders in 19th overall.

    Porte was around Thomas when his crash happened and was thankful not to lose any time because of the three kilometre rule before suggesting he may launch an assault on stage five.

    “It wasn’t so hard but it was pretty stressful there in the final. There were a couple of big crashes. Thank god for the three kilometre rule,” Porte said.

    “I’m super motivated for tomorrow. All of the guys in the team are motivated for tomorrow as well. I think we just have to see how the race goes but I expect it to be absolutely full gas. It’s the first big test of the Tour de France in 2017.”

    Stage five will begin in Vittel and end with a Category One climb to La Planche Des Belles Filles that will last almost six of the stage’s 160.5 kilometres.

    © Reuters 2017