Long after the initial ruckus had died down, Peter Sagan, Bora-Hansgrohe and the UCI were still battling it out to determine who was at fault for the crash on the homestretch of stage four of the 2017 Tour de France in Vittel.
A coming together between Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish in the day’s sprint saw Cavendish leave the race with a broken collarbone and Sagan evicted from the race for causing the crash.
The decision to end the dispute came after the UCI admitted that it had made a decision based on the details it had at the time which might not have been correct.
“Having considered the materials submitted in the CAS proceedings, including video footage that was not available at the time when the race jury had disqualified Peter Sagan, the parties agreed that the crash was an unfortunate and unintentional race incident and that the UCI Commissaires made their decision based on their best judgment in the circumstances” it said in a Bora-Hansgrohe statement.
After the race, Bora-Hansgrohe appealed to have the disqualification temporarily suspended to allow the Slovakian to carry on with the race while a decision was made but those requests were rejected leading to Sagan to stay ejected.
With their star man gone from the Tour de France, Bora team manager Ralph Denk, decided to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the UCI, with hearings which were expected to start today.
However, the World Champ doesn’t harbour any ill-will towards the race officials. “The past is already forgotten” he said in a statement, “It’s all about improving our sport in the future. I welcome the fact that what happened to me in Vittel has showed that the UCI Commissaires’ work is a difficult one and that the UCI has recognised the need to facilitate their work in a more effective way.”
I am happy that my case will lead to positive developments, because it is important for our sport to make fair and comprehensible decisions, even if emotions are sometimes heated up.”
Newly elected UCI president, David Lappartient, has vowed to improve the way crashes are looked at after a race with extra help for the race commissaires. “As of next season the UCI intends to engage a ‘Support Commissaire’ to assist the Commissaires Panel” he said, “with special video expertise on the main events of the UCI World Tour.”
This may be in the shape of extra cameras with more personnel but further details are yet to be confirmed as the sport’s top official is also looking at battling the perceived rise in “motor doping”.
After all is said and done, racing fans around the world may feel a sense of relief after one of their most loved riders has been exonerated. Unfortunately though, for many it still doesn’t make up for the fact they missed the chance to see Sagan fight to tie for a record sixth straight green jersey.
Despite the controversial end to his Tour, the Slovakian still wowed fans later in the year after making it a hat trick of World Championship wins in Bergen, Norway.