Mark Cavendish Praises Tour De France Jury For Disqualifying Peter Sagan Over Crash
British cyclist Mark Cavendish has lauded Tour de France jurors for the “courage” they displayed by disqualifying world champion Peter Sagan over a crash that ended Cavendish’s race early on Tuesday.
Mark Cavendish Suffered a Broken Right Shoulder And Bleeding Hand In Tuesday’s Race
“It takes a lot of courage to eliminate the world champion from the Tour de France,” Cavendish said Wednesday before the Tour began without him from the spa town of Vittel in Stage 5 in the northeastern part of the nation. He added that the organizers made up “among the most experienced jury that I’ve ever witnessed at the Tour de France.”
The 32-year-old Brit accused 32-year-old Slovakian Sagan of elbowing him during the spring finish to Stage 4. Cavendish collided into the barriers and withdrew early from the race with a broken right shoulder.
Sagan claimed Cavendish surprised him and that he didn’t have enough time to react when the Brit rapidly caught up to him. The Slovak added, however, that he went to check up on his opponent after he learned of his injuries, which also included a profusely bleeding finger on his right hand.
“Mark was coming really fast from the back and I just didn’t have time to react and to go left. He came into me and he went into the fence,” said Sagan. “When I was told after the finish that Mark had crashed, I went straight away to find out how he was doing.”
“We are friends and colleagues in the peloton and crashes like that are never nice. I hope Mark recovers soon.”
Cavendish, who was knocked over along with two other racers, praised his team for helping him recover following the crash.
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“There was just a puddle of blood on the floor. I thought, ‘I’m going to bleed to death here,’ ” he said. “But my teammates were around and they helped me to my feet.”
Cavendish previously dislocated his right shoulder on stage one of the Tour de France in Harrogate in 2014.
The Brit — who has won 30 Tour stages throughout his career — said Sagan was gracious in apologizing to him following the race.
“It was an honorable thing to see Peter there at the bus, already come to apologize. It shows our relationship, shows the man he is and I really appreciate that more than anything.”
“I can just accept the decision of the jury, but for sure I do not agree with them because I think I didn’t do something wrong in the sprint,” Sagan told reporters outside his team’s hotel Wednesday morning before leaving to return home.
Sagan attempted to appeal the Tour de France organizers’ decision, but he and his team were ultimately not allowed to do so. The Slovak was attempting to tie German former racer Erik Zabel’s record of six consecutive points classification title victories. He initially remained upright to finish second on the stage before being disqualified.
Enrico Poitschke, head sports director for Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe team, forbade the racer’s appeal, saying “It was the wrong decision from the commissaries.”
The Tour race director, Thierry Gouvenou, stated that he supported the jury’s disqualification of Sagan. Gouvenou added that the Slovak was also responsible for a previous crash on Tuesday that knocked over more than a dozen riders in the final stretch.
“Ultimately, there are no attenuating circumstances,” Gouvenou said. “I think they made a good choice.”
“We all complain about the crashes in the first week of the Tour,” he said. “It gets to the point where the riders just have to respect each other.”
Britain’s Geraint Thomas maintained his overall lead as Arnaud Demare became the first Frenchman to win a bunch sprint stage at the Tour since 2006.
Reigning champion Chris Froome, another Brit (born in Kenya), remains second overall — 12 seconds behind Thomas. Froome was also involved in a crash in France a few weeks ago.
Only Belgian former rider Eddy Merckx boasts more Tour stage victories (34) than Cavendish.
In Wednesday’s Stage 5, Italian Fabio Aru beat three-time Tour de France winner Froome to the top of the first mountain climb of the race.
Dan Martin of the Quickstep team finished second, and Froome was third.
LONGWY, FRANCE – JULY 03: Peter Sagan of Slovakia and team Bora-Hansgrohe celebrates as he crosses the line to win stage 3 of the 2017 Tour de France, a 212.5km road stage from Verviers to Longwy on July 3, 2017 in Longwy, France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
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