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Sagan & Cavendish out as mayhem ensues at Tour de France

Le Tour 2017 - Stages 5 and 6
THE race for the green jersey is wide open after two of cycling’s great sprinters exited the 2017 Tour de France overnight.

A nasty clash between Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish on the dash to Vittel saw both stars’ campaigns come to an end for very different reasons.

Sagan, aiming at his sixth consecutive title in the points classification, was disqualified for throwing an elbow that sent Cavendish hurtling into the barriers as he attempted to overtake.

The latter rider, only just back on the bike after a lengthy absence through illness, was forced to withdraw after scans revealed a broken shoulder.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Cavendish could not hide his disappointment and bewilderment at his rival’s behaviour.

“I get along with Peter well, but I don’t get it,” said the Englishman, who will now have to wait another year to add to his 30 Tour de France stage wins.

“If he came across it’s one thing, but the elbow … I’m not a fan of him putting his elbow in like that.

“A crash is a crash, but I’d like to know about the elbow.”

Andre Greipel was far less diplomatic in his appraisal of Sagan’s actions.

“He thinks he’s the king, but the same rules apply to him,” the German sprinter said.

“He’s not my friend anymore.”

Cavendish’s crew-mates at Dimension Data were having none of Sagan’s post-race peace offerings.

The Slovakian star stated his case to the press before the disqualification ruling was handed down.

“Mark was coming pretty fast from the back,” Sagan said.

“I didn’t have time to react and go left and he just came to me and after, into the fence.”

John Degenkolb and Ben Swift were also caught up in the carnage as Arnaud Demare took out the stage.

Cavendish’s tumble was but one among several incidents of note as day four threatened to boil over into all-out chaos.

Another pile-up towards the end of the 207km stretch collected Geraint Thomas, the yellow jersey holder, and held up race favourite Chris Froome.

Yet even that was not enough to knock the Team Sky pair out of the top two positions in the general classification.

Porte poised to fight back on stage five

Another 35 seconds behind Froome is Richie Porte, who almost came to blows with a rider from Team Fortuno-Oscareo after crossing the finish line.

The Australian has endured a somewhat frustrating start to Le Tour, but he was optimistic of winning back ground on Wednesday’s 160km ascent into the mountains at La Planche des Belles Filles.

“I mean, we’ll try and take back some time, but it’s a hard climb,” Porte told reporters.

“I’m just looking forward to getting there and seeing how it goes.”

Stage five is shaping up as the first big battle for the overall race leadership.

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Froome is the +333 favourite at online bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au, but only marginally ahead of Porte at +350.

They are expected to lead a pack of stayers that includes Fabio Aru (+1000), Quintana (+1100) and Daniel Martin (+1200).

The sprinters will come back to the fore on stage six – a flat slog of 216km from Vesoul to the old town of Troyes in the Champagne region.

Kittel (+150) and Demare (+175) should be in the mix, along with +500 chance Greipel.

Stage 5 betting: Vittel/Le Planche des Belles Filles

+333 – Chris Froome

+350 – Richie Porte

+1000 – Fabio Aru

+1100 – Nairo Quintana

+1200 – Daniel Martin

+1800 – Romain Bardet, Jakob Fuglsang

+2000 – Thibaut Pinot

+2200 – Geraint Thomas

+2500 – Alberto Contador, Stephen Cummings

+3300 – Robert Gesink, Rafal Majka, Pierre Rolland

+4000 – Carlos Betancur, Esteban Chaves, Thomas de Gent, Simon Yates

+5000 – Gianluca Brambilla, Louis Meintjes

(More quoted)

Stage 6 betting: Vesoul/Troyes

+150 – Marcel Kittel

+175 – Arnaud Demare

+500 – Andre Greipel

+1600 – Dylan Groenewegen, Alexander Kristoff

+2000 – Nacer Bouhanni

+3300 – Michael Matthews

+5000 – Sonny Colbrelli, Daniel McLay

+8000 – Edvald Boasson Hagen

+10000 – Mark Renshaw

(More quoted)

Markets courtesy of Sportsbet.com.au

Sportsbet.com.au

Froome still the man to beat as points race opens up

The top two have firmed slightly in the outright betting for Tour de France 2017.

Sportsbet has brought Froome into -125, while Porte – who had fattened to as much as +450 earlier this week – is well poised on the second line at +350.

Colombian ace Nairo Quintana (+800) is the only other yellow jersey contender in single digits.

The drama that unfolded late in stage four has thrown a sizeable spanner into the points classification markets.

Most online bookies had Sagan pegged at less than -166.67 to take home the green jersey, so his exclusion has opened things up considerably.

Points leader Demare is the new favourite at -149.25, while stage two winner Marcel Kittel not far behind on +163.

Australia’s Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb is the next best hope at +800 odds.

Tour de France outright odds (yellow jersey)

-125 – Chris Froome

+350 – Richie Porte

+800 – Nairo Quintana

+1600 – Fabio Aru

+2000 – Romain Bardet

+2200 – Geraint Thomas

+2500 – Alberto Contador

+3300 – Jakob Fuglsang

+5000 – Daniel Martin

+8000 – Esteban Chaves, Rafal Majka, Simon Yates

+10000 – Louis Meintjes

(More quoted)

Overall points winner (green jersey)

-149.25 – Arnaud Demare

+163 – Marcel Kittel

+800 – Michael Matthews

+1800 – Andre Greipel

+3300 – Alexander Kristoff

+10000 – Nacer Bouhanni, Sonny Colbrelli

+20000 – Edvald Boasson Hagen

(More quoted)

Markets courtesy of Sportsbet.com.au

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