Demare wins Tour de France stage four; Thomas, Cavendish crash

Cycling: Aru wins fifth stage of Tour (2)
Demare wins Tour de France stage four; Thomas, Cavendish crash
Author

05 July, 2017

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 victor of the last five green jerseys, Peter Sagan, kicked out of the race.

Yellow jersey Thomas had already hit the deck in an incident with just over a kilometre remaining when Dimension Data sprinter Cavendish was seemingly forced into the barriers by Slovenia's Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

But after a subsequent complaint from Cavendish's Dimension-Data team, the 27-year-old was sensationally disqualified from the Tour by the race jury. Cavendish, victor of the second-most Tour de France stages in history, tried to pass Stage 3 victor Sagan, but instead, he fell into a barrier, suffering what appeared to be a shoulder injury, and is likely out of this year's Tour.

Race leader Geraint Thomas was also taken down in a separate crash in the final kilometre of the 207.5km stage from Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel. The Slovak did not allow him to pass and appeared to use his elbow to force Cavendish wide, with the latter refusing to let up and eventually crashing. "I get on with Peter and a crash is a crash, but I'd just like to know about the elbow".

Reigning champion Chris Froome retained second place, 12 seconds behind his Sky team-mate Thomas, with Australian Michael Matthews third on the same time as Froome. The 30-time stage victor said Sagan came across to apologise, but questioned the elbow.

Sagan claimed Cavendish "was coming from behind" and that he "did not have time to react and go left".

Demare wins Tour de France stage four; Thomas, Cavendish crash
Demare wins Tour de France stage four; Thomas, Cavendish crash

"A crash is a crash, I'd just like to know about the elbow, really", Cavendish added.

American Nathan Brown, who was part of the day's breakaway, took enough points over the five climbs on the day to snatch the polkadot jersey for the king of the mountains from his teammate and compatriot Taylor Phinney. "Happy to get through unscathed", Thomas said.

German Tony Martin is racing the Tour de France covered in bandages and coping with what he's described as a "small concussion" after a crash on Stage 2, Radsport-News.com reported. "Winning in the Tour is the best".

With the carnage going on in his wake, Demare had powered clear to pick up a memorable - albeit tainted - victory ahead of Sagan and Norway's Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin).

Stage 5 on Wednesday concludes with the first serious climb of the Tour.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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