World Champion kicked off Tour after throwing elbow
WORLD champion Peter Sagan has been kicked out of the Tour de France and Mark Cavendish's tour is also over after tempers erupted on a volatile Stage 4.
The Slovakian superstar was deemed responsible for the second of two nasty crashes that caused havoc in the closing stages of the 207.5km journey from Mondorf-Les-Baines.
French sprinter Arnaud Demare was the jubilant winner on the day, but behind him carnage ensued.
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With the world's fastest men screaming towards the line, Sagan elbowed Mark Cavendish into the barriers at 54.5km/hr.
Cavendish was trying to squeeze through a narrowing gap that Sagan emphatically closed on him with a flick of his right elbow that put the Briton into the fencing and then the bitumen.
With Cavendish on the ground, two riders behind, John Degenkolb and Ben Swift, hit him and were catapulted into the air.
Cavendish, who has won 30 career stages, was later forced to withdraw with a broken shoulder.
The biffo continued after the finish line, when Aussie Tour hopeful Richie Porte was involved in a heated disagreement with a rival rider from Team Fortuneo-Oscaro that got physical before the pair were separated.
"I get along with Peter well, but I don't get it," Cavendish said prior to having scans on his shoulder.
"If he came across (the road) it's one thing, but the elbow, I'm not a fan of him putting his elbow in like that. A crash is a crash, but I'd like to know about the elbow."
Speaking before he was disqualified, Sagan attempted to explain his actions.
"Mark was coming pretty fast from the back," Sagan said.
"I didn't have time to react and go left and he just came to me and after, into the fence."
Cavendish's diplomacy wasn't matched by Andre Greipel. The German sprinter, who took issue with Sagan for contact made on an intermediate sprint during Stage 3, lashed the Slovak at the finish line.
"He thinks he's the king, but the same rules apply to him," Greipel said.
"He's not my friend anymore."
In a hastily-arranged press conference, a Tour official from the race jury said: "We applied article 12.104, irregular sprints, in which case commissaries are allowed to enforce a judgment to disqualify a rider and amend a fine."
The 5.9km climb, with a brutally steep sting in the tail, is the battleground for the first real confrontation between Porte, defending champion Chris Froome and the yellow jersey contenders.
"I mean, we'll try and take back some time, but it's a hard climb. I'm just looking forward to getting there and seeing how it goes," a rejuvenated Porte said.
Team Sky are bracing for a Porte assault, with the Australian seeking to eat into the 35-second deficit he surrendered to Froome on the Stage 1 time trial in Dusseldorf.
"Richie is going to try for sure. He is in great form and the climb is perfect for him. It's a one-off, short, steep blast, Sky's race leader Geraint Thomas said.
"He's certainly going really well. He's really strong and he'll be one to watch. As we saw in the Dauphiné, he's flying and going really well."