Tour de France: Mark Cavendish taken to hospital after crash

Adam Hansen spent some time at the front of an escape group during stage 3 of the Tour

World champion Peter Sagan has been disqualified from the Tour de France for causing a crash in a chaotic sprint finish that left Mark Cavendish needing treatment for his injuries and further examinations in a hospital.

Cavendish demanded an explanation from Sagan, telling TV cameras as he was being led away that he definitely needs stitches in this finger, it's bleeding a lot.

French champion Arnaud Demare won the stage, a 207.5-km ride from Mondorf-les-Bains, Luxembourg, but all the drama was just behind him. "I'd just like to speak to him about it".

"I'm not a doctor, I don't know what, but I'm not optimistic anyway".

Cavendish collided into the barriers with his right shoulder and hit the deck at top speed.

Yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas hit the deck in the crash near the end, but as the incident occurred within the final three kilometres he will be credited with the same time as the victor. Cavendish was pushed off his line then tried to shoot a gap that wasn't there. The sprint was fast and chaotic, and it looks like Sagan veered right to follow Demare's wheel, which forced Cavendish over to the extreme edge of the road. Sagan drifted into Cavendish's line, and appeared to have his elbow out as he bumped into Cavendish, but Cavendish may have made contact first, forcing Sagan to throw out his elbow to balance his bike. "I'm happy to get through unscathed", Briton Thomas said. "The guys put me in a fantastic position, and I felt good".

Cavendish, a 30-time Tour stage victor, had recovered from a long bout of illness to make it to the Tour this year as he sought to close in on Eddy Merckx's all-time record of 34 Tour stage wins.

Cavendish told reporters outside his Dimension Data team bus before going to hospital. "I was also surprised that Matthews was coming back so strong".

He also insinuated that he did not put out his elbow on goal, noting, "I didn't have time to react and go left". The first left dozens of riders on the ground, including current race leader Geraint Thomas of Team Sky. Froome was held up by Thomas' crash but did not go down.

"I'm all right", Thomas said via WalesOnline after the stage that saw him retain his lead.

Sagan had finished the bunch sprint in second but when he was disqualified it moved Alexander Kristoff into second and Andra Greipel into third.

Froome described the finish as "interesting", and the three-times champion was clearly relieved to have got the stage out of the way, especially given Sunday's spectacular mass pile-up that unseated him from his saddle.

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