TdF stage 4 review – the ‘incident’

Image credit: Getty Images

In House race reporter Glenn Te Raki talks about ‘That Incident’ in Stage four of the Tour de France.

Carnage, Disgrace, Dq’d, are just some of the words swelling around the cycling world after stage four of the Tour de France this morning.

Was Sagan’s move intentional, did Cav try to go through a gap that just wasn’t there? Did Demare move off his line causing a reflex reaction down the line?

At the end of the day whatever you think won’t change that one of the biggest draw cards to this years TdF is GONE… out… disqualified.

The incident has taken away what we witnessed as an incredible finish by the FDJ Frenchman Arnaud Demare, was he ever going to be beaten last night? Never…

One of our ‘special comments’ contributors, Full Cycle TV host and Olympic Gold medalist Scott McGrory summed the situation up in my opinion pretty well … Here’s what Scott had to say  –

Cavendish broken shoulder, Sagan kicked off the race. I’ve seen a lot of commentary on this already today. What I haven’t read/heard is how the crash was just the end result of a series of ‘racing incidents’! Just before Demare launched, Greipel and Bouhanni bounced off each other. Which causes Bouhanni to veer right just as Demare was accelerating.

Demare was forced to change his line to the right, which in turn changed the direction of both Cavendish and Sagan behind him towards the barriers. Two doesn’t go into one and they came together.

Demare also moved left in front of Bouhanni almost taking him out. So for me this was an unfortunate racing incident caused by several riders.

The race officials saw a crash, a broken shoulder, and someone had to be held responsible, so it’s good bye to the World Champ Peter Sagan which for me is not the correct decision.

If a penalty ‘must’ be given then relegation to Sagan would have made more sense. A ‘lack of duty of care’ perhaps, but not a deliberate act to cause a crash”

And here is another take on the event from one of the best in the game, Andre Greipels’ former lead out man and race lieutenant, Kiwi Greg Henderson –

There already had been a major crash that has thinned the bunch completely.  If you look at the faces of everyone contesting the Sprint you can see Cavendish is comfortable. He has a few glances around to check where everyone is.  He isn’t completely on the limit and just following wheels.

Having said that…he did try follow the French Champion through a gap that was never there.  A golden rule in Sprinting, especially at the Tour de France, is never dive for the barriers hard, because this is where crashes can happen. It is so easy for an animated crowd to lean over the barriers and touch the cyclists.

 So…unfortunately for Cavendish he has tried to find a gap and it has closed on him.  It was by no means intentional from Sagan. I mean its not like he looked behind and saw Cav and then closed the door.  Sagan was touched from behind by a fast moving Cav and thrown off balance. The kneejerk reaction to regain his balance was lean right and put Elbow out (which never actually connected with Mark).

It’s sad to see these crashes and its possible Cav was on his way to Victory however you cant blame Sagan for being struck from behind.

Definitely not intentional. I call it an accident

So we move on to a Tour without the World Champion, without Mark Cavendish and some would say without a reason to watch. But lets not forget the race is far from over, the real action is in the mountains and it wont be long before this was just a bad memory and we are screaming at the television for Richie Porte to follow the attack from Froome or Quintana.

As some would say, what’s a TdF with out controversy? Isn’t this way we watch it, eyes glued to the screen just hoping for a crash or an attack to happen?

I’ll be watching tonight and I’m sure you all will be too…


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