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

"We apply article 12.104 of the International Cycling Union regulations which allow us to disqualify a rider". 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.

"I get on with Peter well", a dignified Cavendish added of the role Sagan played in his crash.

Sagan reportedly apologized after the stage.

Early reports claimed that Cavendish had broken his shoulder, but the 31-year-old could not confirm this after he made a brief appearance - sporting a sling - outside his team bus after the stage.

"I'm not a fan of him putting his elbow in like that".

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"Yeah, [he apologised]. I get on with Peter well, but I don't..."

Race organisers appeared to agree and disqualified Sagan from the 2017 Tour hours after the finish of the stage.

By that point, Julien Vermote was at the front of the bunch, setting the pace behind the day's six escapees and permanently controlling the gap, which didn't go beyond three minutes: Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie).

"Even with the movement to the right, obviously I wouldn't be happy but that's racing".

Peter Sagan puts Mark Cavendish into the boards at the end of Stage 4.

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The French National champion Démare, raced clear in the final sprint to finish ahead of Sagan and Alexander Kristoff, with Cavendish left with his right hand bandaged and holding his shoulder at the finish.

Race leader Geraint Thomas was taken down in the first crash, along with around a dozen riders, but he emerged unhurt.

"The guys look after me incredibly well, it's not like I'm on my own all the time", he said.

"I'm used to crashing, so it's fine, I'm all ok". "It's certainly a great start [to the Tour de France for Sky], but there is still 18 days to go". He took the green jersey for the points classification in the process.

"It's wonderful, beating all the best sprinters like that at the Tour de France is something I'd hoped for, for a long time", said Demare.

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Team Sky's Thomas leads Bora rider Sagan, who could face face disqualification from the race over the incident, by seven seconds, with defending champion Chris Froome third.


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