The first three stages of this year’s Tour de France have been some of the most hectic any of us have ever seen. The wins for Julian Alaphilippe and Mathieu van der Poel were truly sensational on Saturday and Sunday. But, as is often the way with the Tour, we went from the sublime to the horrific on Monday.
Geraint Thomas, Primoz Roglic, Arnaud Demare, Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan were among the most high-profile names to be caught up in serious crashes on an unbelievable afternoon from Lorient to Pontivy. Ewan was unable to finish the stage and abandoned following his horror crash inside the final 100 metres, which also brought down Sagan.
Thomas was the first to go down and was forced to put his dislocated shoulder back in before getting back into the peloton. He ended up negotiating the stage well and finished with Pogacar’s group, less than 30 seconds down on stage winner Tim Merlier.
But the same could not be said for last year’s runner-up Roglic who came across the line nearly one minute behind Pogacar and Thomas. He was also clearly suffering with some bad injuries as he finished with a lot less of his jersey and shorts.
Tour de France: Stage 4 route map
On the face of it, stage four appears to be a routine one. But you could have said exactly the same about Monday’s route and that turned out to be one of the most dramatic day’s racing in recent memory.
It is marked down as another one for the sprinters and is probably a slightly easier finale than Monday when any little rise in the road was causing havoc among those at the front of the main bunch. The peloton will be hoping for a more relaxed stage. But as we’ve seen already, truly anything can happen.
Tour de France: Stage 4 profile
With Ewan no longer a threat to Mark Cavendish, the Brit will become the wheel everyone wants to slot in behind inside the last 250 metres. True, he did not make it to the finish with the front guys on stage three after being caught up behind a crash, but you imagine that will make him all the more eager to be involved in the finale of this one.
Merlier will be hoping to clinch back-to-back stage victories and a third in a row for Alpecin-Fenix. But you have to favour Cavendish for this one, particularly when Demare was also caught up in a crash yesterday and the route is not particularly challenging. The Manx Missile should be fresh enough to give it his all for a 31st Tour stage victory.
The stage gets under way just after 12:30pm (1:30pm local time) and is set to finish around 4pm in the UK.
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