Mark Cavendish in hospital after horror Tour de France crash

Tour de France 2017 – Dan Martin 3rd on Stage 3 and climbs to 15th on General Classification

French national champion Demare may have won a maiden stage on the Tour - and given his FDJ team their first sprint win on the race since 2006 - but the lingering memory of an otherwise routine stage to Vittel will be the high-speed crash that jeopardised Cavendish's continuation in the Tour - and Sagan's subsequent disqualification from the race.

Cavendish made contact with Sagan in the final sprint, being forced into barriers, crashing to the ground and suffering a to-be-diagnosed shoulder injury.

Initial suggestions had been that Sagan would be relegated by 30 seconds in the day's results, effectively stripping him of his second place finish and the points that come with it.

It is feared the race could be over for 30-time Tour stage-winner Cavendish, who is just four wins short of equalling the record of 34 held by Eddy Merckx.

It came on a day when fellow British rider, yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas, was involved in another crash at the end of what had otherwise been a fairly uneventful ride through the flatlands of the Lorraine region, from the Belgian border.

"I'm not a fan of him putting his elbow in like that".

"I was massively grateful that Peter came directly after the finish to see me - I have a good relationship with Peter".

Australian Michael Matthews was second on the stage with Dan Martin of Ireland third, just ahead of Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet in fourth. "He just came to me and after to the fence".

"The crash happened right in front of me, I had nowhere to go really", said Thomas.

"If there was a mistake, then you have to congratulate the jury for having the courage to punish the world champion, the big star of cycling today", said France's Arnaud Demare, who won Tuesday's stage.

Briton Thomas, who had warned on Monday that he just wanted to stay clear of trouble, hit the deck for the second time in three stages. "He was coming from behind, I did not have time to react and go left", said the Slovak.

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

Démare crossed the line in 4 hours 53min 54sec for the 207.5-kilometres route from Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel, securing the Française des Jeux rider's first victory in the sport's flagship event.

Eurosport is the home of the Tour de France. "Winning in the Tour is the best".

German sprinter Andre Greipel finished third and had strong words for Sagan.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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