The Court of Arbitration for Sport has turned down Peter Sagan's appeal against his disqualification from the Tour de France.
Sky Sports News HQ broke the news on Thursday:
Sky Sports News HQ @SkySportsNewsHQ
BREAKING: Appeal against @petosagan's disqualification from @LeTour rejected by Court of Arbitration for Sport. #SSNHQ https://t.co/UZLkPXZVpo2017-7-6 15:37:01
Sagan was disqualified for his part in Mark Cavendish's crash in Stage 4 of the race.
BBC Sport's Richard Conway shared CAS' statement:
Richard Conway @richard_conway
Breaking: Court of Arbitration for Sport rejects Peter Sagan's appeal. He remains disqualified from Tour De France. #tdf2017 https://t.co/S4k26pkroc2017-7-6 15:24:14
The BORA-hansgrohe rider was initially penalised with an 80-point deduction after he appeared to force Cavendish wide using his elbow, prompting the Englishman to crash as he ran out of space against the barriers.
The Tour's official Twitter feed captured the moment:
Le Tour de France @LeTour
🎞 @arnauddemare s'impose nettement devant @petosagan / Clear victory for @arnauddemare ahead of Sagan #TDF2017 https://t.co/8tPNyOZiVD2017-7-4 15:31:00
Sagan messaged Cavendish on Thursday prior to the announcement, wishing him well after he had to pull out of the Tour through injury:
Peter Sagan @petosagan
Mark, get well soon! I prefer a finish like the one in the first photo 😉 but whatever the outcome, I look forward to racing against you! https://t.co/JFSW4HqYnF2017-7-6 11:50:14
While the world champion's use of his elbows to create space was indeed excessive, his disqualification seemed particularly harsh.
As noted by Bleacher Report's Gianni Verschueren, using elbows is commonplace, and Cavendish himself is no stranger to them:
Gianni Verschueren @ReverschPass
Hell, is there a rider out there who uses his head and elbows more than Mark Cavendish? Don't think so #LeTourDeFrance2017-7-4 16:43:41
With his appeal turned down, Sagan's absence from the remainder of the Tour is confirmed.
The 27-year-old was a top contender for the green jersey and was targeting a sixth consecutive points classification win, which would have equaled Erik Zabel's record.
The field will be wide open as a result, but the absence of one of the sport's biggest names will be keenly felt.