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"We made a decision to disqualify Peter Sagan from the 2017 Tour de France because he endangered seriously several other riders, including Mark Cavendish, in the final meters of the sprint which happened in Vittel", race jury President Philippe Marien said. At the finish line, Sagan did wait to apologize to Cavendish but the Briton had already been taken to hospital for X-rays. Well, I've polished off my crystal ball and it's telling me that the stage will end in a sprint finish, but not until the breakaway comprising riders from Direct Énergie, Fortuneo-Oscaro and Wanty-Groupe Gobert has been reeled back in, perhaps agonisingly, before the fastmen get to work.

Sagan's foot came unclipped from his pedal as he started to accelerate at the finish, but he kept his cool and still proved too strong for the competition at the end of the 212.5km run from Verviers in Belgium.

"If I was Sagan, I'd apologise for that", Cavendish's sports director at Dimension Data Roger Hammond told journalists.

"A crash is a crash, I'd just like to know about the elbow really". Just not to the degree that he deserves to get booted.

In all the furore of another bunch pile-up, French champion Demare's achievement of becoming the first Frenchman to win a Tour stage in a sprint finish since 2006 was nearly lost. "I will definitely need stitches in this finger, it's bleeding a lot. He came to me and I had to defend".

Dimension Data's Cavendish fell heavily after taking a nudge from world champion Sagan in the final 100 metres in Vittel, and indicated his Tour may be finished.

"I don't know if I snapped it or what".

Demare took the green jersey for the points classification in the process.

Bora-Hansgrohe coach Patxi Vila says he hopes Mark Cavendish will be okay after what he describes as a "pretty nasty finish" on Stage 4 of the Tour de France. "There was a crash in front of us and again I had nowhere to go".

Reigning champion Chris Froome retained second place, 12 seconds behind his Sky team-mate Thomas, with Australian Michael Matthews third on the same time as Froome.

"It's ok, both times I managed to take off quite a bit of speed", he added. Keeping his cool, Sagan clipped his shoe back in and held off Matthews for his eighth stage win in the Tour de France.

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

Wednesday's fifth stage should see the top guns in action as the 160.5-km ride from Vittel will finishup La Planche des Belles Filles, a lung-busting 5.9-km climb at an average gradient of 8.5 percent.