Why Peter Sagan was disqualified from the Tour de France: Everything you need to know

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When Peter Sagan produced a stunning stage victory in Longwy on Monday, his Tour de France legacy seemed assured. Just 24 hours later and the Slovakian is out of the race with his reputation tarnished.

Sagan dominated the final hundred metres of stage three with a superbly timed sprint - even after unclipping from his pedal - and seemed certain to claim a seventh points classification title in three weeks' time.

He was in the mix again on Tuesday as the peloton made their way from Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel in north eastern France.

But Sagan's actions with the finish line in sight saw Mark Cavendish crash heavily and suffer potentially race-ending injuries.

Sagan protested his innocence but Tour commissaires were not going to let him off lightly and the Bora-Hansgrohe team leader was thrown out in disgrace.

 

WHAT HAPPENED?

Having avoided the crash that caught Chris Froome and general classification leader Geraint Thomas, Sagan was in a small group battling it out for victory.

Arnaud Demare - the eventual stage winner - made the first move but Cavendish was on his wheel, eyeing up a 31st stage win as he chased down Eddy Merckx's record of 34.

As Nacer Bouhanni and Andre Greipel jostled for position, Sagan opted to move right to counter Cavendish's attack - but those actions cost him his Tour place.

With little room down the inside Cavendish was forced right up against the barriers by his long-time sprint rival, Sagan also pushing his elbows out to deny Cavendish any room.

His actions did not just slow the Team Dimension Data rider down, though, it pushed him into the barriers and then tumbling onto the tarmac - taking John Degenkolb with him.

And as Cavendish lay prone in the road, Sagan stormed into the gap and claimed second place behind Demare.

 

WHY WAS SAGAN DISQUALIFIED?

Replays immediately called his actions into question and when Cavendish eventually crossed the line, after treatment from medical stuff, Sagan was quick to apologise to the Manxman.

Cavendish was understandably not happy and questioned why Sagan had used his elbows, but his protest was short-lived as he was whisked off to hospital for checks for a damaged finger and potential broken shoulder.

While the 32-year-old was being examined, the Tour organisers wasted no time in assessing the crash that left one of its best riders crumpled in a heap.

Initially Sagan was demoted to 115th, penalised 30 seconds in the general classification and 80 points in the points classification.

Later on Tuesday the commissaires opted for an even harsher punishment - throwing the five-time green jersey winner out just days into the race for dangerous riding.

 

WHAT DID THE ORGANISERS SAY?

A statement read: "We've decided to disqualify Peter Sagan from the Tour de France 2017 after the tumultuous sprint, here in Vittel, [France]. He endangered multiple riders, Mark Cavendish and others who were implicated in the crash, in the final meters of the sprint.

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

 

WHAT NEXT FOR CAVENDISH?

Well, the sprinter did not suffer any fractures so he could still get back on his bike for stage five - after all, one his main rivals is now out of contention.

Everything will depend on how he heals overnight, but do not be surprised to see Cavendish abandon the race because of the injuries - cyclists are hardy individuals but they all have their own limits.

 

WHAT NEXT FOR SAGAN?

World champion Sagan is undoubtedly one of the biggest draws on the UCI World Tour - and not just for his sensational talent on the bike.

So he will not be short of options going forward despite this disqualification.

He could opt to ride in the Clasica de San Sebastian or Tour of Poland which both start just after the Tour de France, but more likely is an attempt at the final Grand Tour of the year - the Vuelta a Espana.

Sagan has ridden the Vuelta on three previous occasions and won four stages in the process, but he has only finished the entire race once, something he may choose to change in August.