Arnaud Demare claims an incident packed stage 4 as Cav is knocked to the ground and Sagan is sent home
UPDATE FROM ORIGINAL POST
PETER SAGAN HAS SINCE BEEN DISQUALIFIED
We mentioned in our preview that the unexpected would happen on the Tour de France, it always does. All hell seemed to break loose on stage 4. With less than 400 meters to go Peter Sagan appeared to use his elbow to send Mark Cavendish crashing into the barriers. FDJ rider and French National Champion Arnaud Demare took the stage win but the media attention focused on that crash. Immediately after the race Dimension Data Sports Director Roger Hammond was quick to quash any rumours circulating around Cav’s injuries.
Plenty of questions were raised ahead of stage four; Could Geraint Thomas hold on to the yellow jersey? Would Peter Sagan claim consecutive stage victories?
Wanty’s Belgian rider Guillaume van Keirsbulck decided to go for it on a solo breakaway, at one point he was almost 13 minutes ahead of the peloton. It was a lone and brave move by the Belgian rider, the peloton eventually caught him with 15KM from the finish line.
The tempo increased as the riders moved closer to the stage finale. Steve Cummings lead out the train for Dimension Data but they seemed to lose Cavendish. With 4Km to go it was Tony Martin with his head down pulling on the front at 52KMH. Katusha and Cofidis were also trying to get in on the action.
There’s always the risk of a fall, especially in a bunch sprint. A technical right hand turn stretched the peloton and Dimension Data found themselves at the front, it was anyone’s race. Demare attacked down the right hand side and Sagan jumped on his wheel, cutting up Cavendish in the process and sending him flying into the barriers.
Geraint Thomas was one of a number of riders who also hit the deck further back from the finish line. Thomas was quick to get back on his bike and ride in for the cool-down, his overall time wasn’t affected as he was inside the final 3KM. Sagan was given a 30 second penalty and moved down from second to 115th (later disqualified). As Cavendish is checked out at the local hospital, the aftermath of this stage will go on long in to the evening.
Stage 5 is takes the riders 160Km from Vittel to La Planche des Beles Filles, concluding with 5.6KM climb, peaking at 20%. Those of you familiar with the tour will know that Chris Froome won there in 2012. Expect all the GC contenders to be watching each other very closely. Tomorrow’s stage will provide us with a glimpse of who is in good shape as the climbers demonstrate their strenghts.