Sagan was disqualified from the race after clashing with Mark Cavendish in the sprint finish at the end of the stage four, causing the Manxman to crash heavily, breaking his shoulder blade and being forced to abandon the race.
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Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe disputed the disqualification at the time, and decided to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), arguing that the UCI commissaires were wrong to disqualify Sagan.
However, with the hearing due to take place today (Tuesday), Sagan, Bora-Hansgrohe, and the UCI have jointly agreed to bring the case to a close and look to learn from the future.
“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,” read a joint press release issued by the UCI and Bora-Hansgrohe.
“On this basis, the parties agreed not to continue with the legal proceedings and to focus on the positive steps that can be taken in the future instead.”
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Reacting to the decision, UCI president David Lappartient said that changes would be made to ensure that race commissaires had access to all available footage when making decisions, and that special commissaires would be put in place to review footage.
“These proceedings have shown how important and arduous the work of the UCI Commissaires is,” Lappartient said. “As of next season the UCI intends to engage a ‘Support Commissaire’ to assist the Commissaires Panel with special video expertise on the main events of the UCI WorldTour.”
Both Sagan and Bora-Hansgrohe team manager Ralph Denk said that they were pleased that the dispute was at an end, Sagan highlighting how the case had helped to drive progress in helping commissaires, and Denk saying that the case had shown that his rider had done nothing wrong.
“It has always been our goal to make clear that Peter had not caused Mark Cavendish’s fall. This was Peter’s position from day one,” Denk said.
“No one wants riders to fall or get hurt but the incident in Vittel was a race accident as can happen in the course of a sprint. I am reinforced in my view that neither Peter nor Bora-Hansgrohe have made any mistakes.”
“The past is already forgotten,” commented the three-time world champion. “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.”