Peter Sagan, Bora-Hansgrohe protest decision to disqualify rider from Tour de France

'He came into me and he went into the fence,' world champion says of Cavendish

Peter Sagan and Bora-Hansgrohe have protested the decision to expel the rider from the Tour de France and called on the race jury to overturn their decision.

Sagan was disqualified from the Tour de France on stage 4, having been cited for dangerous riding and causing a crash involving Mark Cavendish.

In a statement released by the team, Bora-Hansgrohe confirmed that a protest had been lodged. Officially the team can not appeal the original decision.

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

"He was coming from the right side, and I was trying to go on 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 in the peloton and crashes like that are never nice. I hope Mark recovers soon."

According to the statement, the World Champion's team also "disagrees with the decision and protested it officially."

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Hours earlier, Sagan was thrown off the race, his Tour ambitions seemingly in tatters. The chances of the protest being successful are slim at this stage and Mark Cavendish has officially announced that he will not take part in stage 5 due to the injuries he sustained in the fall.

"We've decided to disqualify Peter Sagan from the Tour de France 2017 after the tumultuous sprint, here in Vittel. He endangered multiple riders, Mark Cavendish and others who were implicated in the crash, in the final meters of the sprint," an official from the race jury announced after the stage.

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

Sagan, who was in contention to win a sixth Green Jersey, had finished second on the stage to Vittel – won by Arnaud Demare - but was soon stripped of the result and docked points in the points classification. The race jury weren't finished there, and spent several hours analysing the crash.

In the press permanence several members of the ASO team paced across the hall, frantically making phones calls and organising brief meetings. Race chief Christian Prudhomme was present for most of the proceedings but left shortly before the announcement was made public.

Several kilometres away, tucked away in the French countryside on the outskirts of Vittel, the Bora team and Sagan were besieged by an army of cameramen and journalists. The riders were told not to talk to journalists and were escorted to dinner without making any comment. Sagan stayed inside the hotel before releasing his statement close to midnight. The team are set to make another statement at the start of stage 5.

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