The Bora-Hansgrohe team announced on Wednesday that it has lodged an appeal to the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) with "an urgent motion to suspend the decision" of the panel of race commissaires of the Tour de France to expel Peter Sagan from the race following his run-in with Mark Cavendish during the finishing sprint of stage 4 in Vittel.
The team are asking CAS to impel the Tour de France organisers ASO to reinstate Sagan into the race, despite the fact that he has missed two stages already - which would automatically disqualify Sagan under the UCI road rule 2.6.008 that stipulates "The riders must complete the entire distance of each stage to be included in the classification and to be allowed to continue in the event."
Bora-Hansgrohe argue that the UCI rules were violated by the panel because they should have listened to Sagan's side of the story before arriving at a decision under Rule 12.2.006 ("The Commissaires Panel may judge the matter only if the offending party has had a chance to defend his point of view […]").
The team argue that Sagan was never given an opportunity to give his version of events to the panel before being expelled from the race.
The disqualification has been the hottest debate of the Tour: photos show that Sagan extended his right elbow as Cavendish accelerated between the world champion and the barriers. Cavendish and Sagan made contact and, as a result, Cavendish crashed, sustaining a fractured shoulder blade that would end his Tour de France.
Sagan was initially relegated and docked 80 points, but Dimension Data lodged a complaint with the jury, who added a disqualification to Sagan's punishment.
"The Team and Peter Sagan would like to reiterate their position that Peter Sagan did not cause, let alone deliberately, the fall of Mark Cavendish on the last 200m of the fourth stage on July 4, 2017," Bora-Hansgrohe stated on Wednesday. "Peter Sagan stayed on his line and could not see Mark Cavendish on the right side."
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The CAS has reversed numerous UCI decisions in the past, mostly involving doping suspensions and license denials. In 2013, the CAS forced the UCI to award a WorldTour license that it had denied Katusha on 'ethical grounds', breaking the rule limiting the number of WorldTour teams to 18, but there are few instances where the CAS has put the UCI in a position to contravene the long-standing rules that have defined cycling competitions.
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