|1. Contact, 2. Elbow.|
Peter Sagan, the reigning World Champion, has been kicked out of this year’s Tour de France.
Peter Sagan, the reigning World Champion and only reason half of the TV audience even bothers to watch, has been kicked out of this year’s Tour de France.
His crime? He raised his elbow after he and Mark Cavendish made contact with each other in the sprint finish of today’s stage. His elbow did not hit Cavendish, but to the race referees it appeared to have bad intent. Never mind that Cavendish was trying to squeeze through a too-small gap between Sagan and the barriers at the side of the road. Never mind that Cavendish was leaning on Sagan in an effort to create space. Never mind that Cavendish has a long history of dangerous sprinting, including this gem from the 2013 Tour. Sometimes you wonder whether the fix is in. I have often wondered that in regard to Cavendish, a rider who seems to enjoy special favor.
Sagan is the biggest star in the sport today. That doesn’t make him immune to the rules. But disqualification from the Tour de France, in which he was the 5-time defending green jersey winner … if he deserved a penalty at all, then why not relegation to last place on today’s stage? Disqualification is far too harsh, and it’s a decision that will turn many fans away from this year’s Tour.