Tour de France 2017: Peter Sagan leaves after Mark Cavendish crash
|Tour de France: 1-23 July|
|Coverage: Live text commentary of every stage on the BBC Sport website. BBC Radio coverage on 5 live sports extra and/or website from 14:30 BST on every stage.|
World champion Peter Sagan has left the Tour de France after being disqualified for causing the crash which ended Mark Cavendish's race.
His Bora-Hansgrohe team had protested against the decision, but race organisers will not allow an appeal.
Britain's Cavendish said Slovak Sagan, 27, elbowed him during the sprint finish to stage four in Vittel.
Cavendish, 32, crashed into the barriers and later pulled out of the race with a broken shoulder.
"I can accept the decision but for sure I do not agree with them, because I think I have done nothing wrong," Sagan said in a statement outside the team hotel.
"It is very bad that Mark fell down, it is important he can recover well, I am sorry for that.
"As you saw it was a crazy sprint, it was not the first one like that or the last one. I wish that Mark recovers well."
'Massively disappointed' - Cavendish
The race jury had initially docked Sagan 30 seconds for his role in the crash but, after reviewing the footage, upgraded his punishment to a disqualification.
He had crossed the line in second behind stage winner Arnaud Demare of the FDJ team.
The disqualification ended Sagan's bid to win the points leaders' green jersey for a record-equalling sixth straight year.
Cavendish had spent three months battling back from the Epstein-Barr virus to make the start line of the Tour in Dusseldorf.
The Team Dimension Data rider is four short of Eddy Merckx's all-time record of 34 Tour stage wins.
"I'm obviously massively disappointed to get this news about the fracture," said Manxman Cavendish, who hopes to return later in the season.
Sagan pushed out an elbow as he was forced into the barriers and apologised afterwards.
Cavendish said he later spoke to Sagan on the phone when it was confirmed he could not continue.
"He called me last night," he told BBC Sport. "I didn't get home from the hospital until late and I had a message from him that said 'are you still up?'. He gave me a call and we spoke about everything - we have a good relationship, we are friends and colleagues and we have massive respect for each other.
"There is always going to be a storm when it comes to me and Peter, I think people are quite polarised on us.
"At the moment I feel alright, I am in a bit of pain, I didn't sleep great last night. but that is to be expected. Normally this takes six weeks to recover, but hopefully less."