The Cycling World’s Reaction to Peter Sagan’s Disqualification

SaganElbow

The Tour de France is never perfect, but this year’s race organizers made that a certainty.

Two time reigning World Champion and five time defender of le Tour’s Green Jersey Peter Sagan was disqualified yesterday in what you would safely call a questionable move.

As the field began to thin down as speed picked up in the final two kilometers, the peloton suffered a crash that left a select number of riders left for the sprint.

Sagan normally wanders without the use of his teammates while Mark Cavendish had lost his normally well organized train as everyone kicked up notch for their final push.

Sitting in about 4th place at the time, Sagan followed the group as everyone was meandering to grab wheels to springboard themselves.

While moving behind Kristoff, Sagan appeared to have boxed in Cavendish, yet he still tried to move past the World Champion.

Sensing this movement, Sagan threw up his elbow leaving no other option for Cavendish but to go down:

 

 

While I have no doubt that the elbow was deliberate, I believe the action was defensive in nature.

Cavendish was trying to shoot a gap that wasn’t really there.

Odds are that if Sagan didn’t put up that elbow, he would have found himself on the ground.

 

 

While the rules curb contact, it is a part of the sport that’s nearly impossible to eliminate.

Cavendish has definitely been a proprietor of this tactic that has been both met with success and crashing out of races.

Here in the 2010 Tour de Suisse, both Cavendish and the other rider precipitated contact with neither coming out ahead:
 

 

In this 2013 Tour de France crash, Cavendish was a clear instigator, yet faced no discipline:

 



 
And let’s not forget Cavendish isn’t afraid to instigate contact:
 

 
One of the first people I turned to for a reaction was Peter Flax:  
 


 

Many former pros and authors from the cycling world had strong opinions about the crash. Outspoken sprinting great Mario Cipollini’s had a take:

 



 
Neal Rogers from Cycling Tips says:  
 

 


 
In a series of tweets from Jens Voigt, who’s done more TDF’s than anyone:
 

 


 


 


 

Retired pro Ted King didn’t see anything unusual with this crash:
 



 
Fellow Competitor Andre Greipel apologized for his opinion after another look:
  

 

David Millar thinks the disqualification was a bad decision that organizers should have reversed:

 



 
Pro Racer Katie Compton frames it correctly:
 


 
Strava King Phil Gaimon feels that Sagan didn’t get any special treatment:

 



 
And of course, Thread and Spoke was able to jump in and capitalize on the moment:  
 


 

Watching it live and in the replays, I know as a Cat 4 racer, I wouldn’t have done the same as Sagan.

Racing isn’t my job and I have to show up for work every Monday.

These were typical race moves made by professionals and under these circumstances the penalty was too harsh.

Had there not been a barrier, I would have been more on the judges side, but this decision makes me think there’s more going on than just the facts.