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Cavendish ruled out of Tour de France after crash


By Ian Parker

Mark Cavendish is out of the Tour de France with a broken shoulder blade following a crash late on stage four in Vittel. World champion Peter Sagan was disqualified from the Tour by the race jury for causing yesterday's crash, which sent Cavendish into the barriers 120 metres before the finish line.

Cavendish had spent three months battling back from the Epstein-Barr virus in order to make the start line of the Tour in Dusseldorf, and his early exit will come as a bitter blow.

"I'm obviously massively disappointed to get this news about the fracture," Cavendish said. "The team was incredible today.

"They executed to perfection what we wanted to do this morning. I feel I was in a good position to win and to lose that and even having to leave the Tour, a race I have built my whole career around, is really sad."

As news broke of Cavendish's departure, Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe team announced they had officially protested the Slovakian's expulsion.

The German squad said Sagan "rejected to have caused, or in any way intended to cause the crash of Mark Cavendish", adding the 27-year-old could not see Cavendish as the Manxman tried to come up on his right-hand side.

Sagan, who was initially penalised 30 seconds for the incident before the race jury reviewed the footage, had finished second to Arnaud Demare in the sprint prior to his disqualification.

"In the sprint I didn't know that Mark Cavendish was behind me," Sagan said.

"He was coming from the right side, and I was trying to go on (Alexander) Kristoff's wheel. 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. 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 and crashes are never nice."

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