Tour de France 2018

July 7-29, Noirmoutier-En-L'Ïle, France, Road - GT

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Barry Ryan

2018 Tour de France hub page
2018 Tour de France start list
Stage 3 report: BMC win team time trial
Nibali left fuming as Bahrain-Merida falter
Dumoulin thrilled with Sunweb’s TTT display
Van Avermaet rides Belgian wave to yellow jersey
Froome: I think we can be pretty happy
BMC Racing TTT win and GC analysis – Podcast
Tour de France TTT shuffles the overall classification - analysis


 

  1. 12:50:31 CEST

    Stage 4 of the Tour de France sees the race leave the Pays-de-la-Loire and enter the great cycling heartland of Brittany. The stage sets out from La Baule, crosses into Brittany in Redon and finishes in Sarzeau, where the mayor is one David Lappartient, president of the UCI. The 195km stage is a flat one, with the category 4 Cote de Saint-Jean-la-Poterie (800m at 7.8%) the only classified climb, after 135km. The intermediate sprint is at Derval (97.5km), while the bonus sprint is in Limerzel (156.5km). The neutralised start is at 13.05 local time, with the peloton set to reach kilometre zero at 13.25.

  2. 12:51:41 CEST

    The general classification is as follows after yesterday's team time trial, with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in the yellow jersey:

     

    1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 9:08:55
    2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
    3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:03
    4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:05
    5 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:07
    6 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
    7 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:11
    8 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
    9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
    10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:35
    11 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:50
    12 Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
    13 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:51
    14 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
    15 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:52
    16 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:53
    17 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team
    18 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:55
    19 Taylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:56
    20 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:00

     

  3. 13:00:57 CEST

     

  4. 13:08:13 CEST

    The peloton has assembled on the start line in La Baule and is awaiting the roll-out beneath serene blue skies. This evening's World Cup semi-final between France and Belgium understandably dominates column inches in the local press this morning, with one-time goalkeeper Greg Van Avermaet hoping his stint in yellow is an omen for Courtois, Lukaku, Fellaini et al this evening. La Baule, incidentally, is where the England team had its training base during the 1998 World Cup.

     

  5. 13:11:09 CEST

    It's a long neutralised zone of 9km today, which will not altogether displease riders still with the effects of yesterday's team time trial in their legs. Stephen Farrand has written this analysis of the GC picture after yesterday's test.

    BMC Racing on the podium after winning the team time trial at the Tour de France

     

  6. 13:15:08 CEST

    Fernando Gaviria was dropped by his Quick-Step teammates during yesterday's team time trial, thus ending the Colombian's hopes of re-taking the yellow jersey during the opening week, but today's slightly uphill finishing straight will surely be to his liking.

     

  7. 13:24:52 CEST

    As the peloton approaches kilometre zero, it is notable that the wildcard teams - Direct Energie, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, Cofidis and Fortuneo-Samsic - all have riders champing at the bit behind Christian Prudhomme's lead car.

     

  8. 13:27:58 CEST

    The peloton is through kilometre zero, but Prudhomme has not waved the flag yet and has signalled for patience from the riders lined up behind his car. Marcus Burghardt's crash in the neutralised zone is the reason for the delayed start.

     

  9. 194km remaining from 195km

    13:28:38 CEST

    Burghadt rejoins the peloton and Prudhomme waves the flag. Stage 4 of the Tour is officially underway, a kilometre later than planned.

     

  10. 193.5km remaining from 195km

    13:31:13 CEST

    As on stage 1 and 2, it looks as though the early break has drifted clear without any resistance from the peloton. Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie), Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) have slipped up the road, and immediately the peloton relents and grants them their freedom.

     

  11. 191km remaining from 195km

    13:32:57 CEST

    Cousin, Perez, Claeys and Van Keirsbulck are stretching their buffer out towards the one-minute mark. The script is set for the first three-quarters of this stage.

     

  12. 187km remaining from 195km

    13:37:31 CEST

    The break's lead hits 2 minutes and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, who began the day 1:34 down on Van Avermaet, is the virtual race leader.

     

  13. 184km remaining from 195km

    13:41:45 CEST

    There is a distinctly relaxed air to the peloton in these sun-drenched opening kilometres, and the leading quartet are making hay, stretching their advantage out to 3:30.

     

  14. 13:45:24 CEST

    While BMC, Team Sky, Mitchelton-Scott, Quick-Step Floors and Sunweb more or less broke even in yesterday's team time trial - just 11 seconds separated the top five - it was a rather more trying afternoon for Vincenzo Nibali and his Bahrain-Merida team, who lost 1:06. "We weren't super-strong, and there were only four of us left in the final kilometres," Nibali said afterwards. "We tried to do the best we could. We are not great time trial specialists in team time trials. It could have gone worse, but it could have been better. When there are only four riders left like that, you only needed a flat or a mechanical and we would have been in big trouble." Stephen Farrand has more here.

    Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)

     

  15. 180km remaining from 195km

    13:46:38 CEST

    Cousin, Van Keirsbulck, Perez and Claeys continue to add to their buffer as the peloton ambles at less than 30kph. 5:41 the gap.

     

  16. 13:54:03 CEST

    Today's stage, as pointed out, finishes in Sarzeau, where UCI president David Lappartient is the mayor. On Sunday, Transparency's Dave Brailsford criticised Lappartient's handling of the Chris Froome salbutamol case, claiming that the Breton "doesn't quite understand the responsibilities of a presidential role" and adding, "I think he’s still got the kind of local French mayor mentality." After spending much of the past two years ducking questions from reporters, it seems that Brailsford has suddenly re-found his voice this past week. Perhaps he might now finally deign to respond to the damning criticism of Team Sky's ethics - in particular, the use of corticosteroids - outlined in the Parliamentary Select Committee's report into doping in British sport, which was published in March. Or perhaps Brailsford doesn't quite understand the respsonsibilities of his role. 

     

     

  17. 13:59:42 CEST

    Lappartient, meanwhile, has responded to Brailsford's criticism at the start in La Baule today. “I don’t especially want to respond to him, but I will say for that the last person who called me a ‘Breton mayor,’ it didn’t bring him luck. That was Brian Cookson… By insulting me as a mayor, he is insulting the 35,000 French mayors and the French in general. I don’t know what he is looking to do with that,” Lappartient told Le Parisien. “When you are arrogant, one day or another, there is always somebody who humbles you.”

    UCI president David Lappartient at the Tour Down Under

     

  18. 170km remaining from 195km

    14:00:22 CEST

    Van Keirsbulck, Cousin, Perez and Claeys continue to build their gap over the bunch, which now stands at 6:50.

     

  19. 14:02:15 CEST

    Paddy Bevin sets the tempo at the front of the peloton for BMC, but there is no particular urgency in their chase at this point, and understandably so. While BMC would like to keep Van Avermaet in yellow, they are well aware that the sprinters' teams will eventually have to come to the front and work to peg back the escapees.

     

  20. 167km remaining from 195km

    14:04:53 CEST

    The break's lead stretches beyond 7 minutes. They are currently more than 5 kilometres further along the road than the peloton.

     

  21. 14:09:43 CEST

    Nairo Quintana didn't exactly sugar coat Movistar's loss of 54 seconds in yesterday's team time trial, but the Colombian isn't much given to melodrama either. "It's never nice when you lose time, but as far as bad days go, it wasn't too bad today," Quintana said. After breaking his wheels on stage 1, Quintana is now 2:08 down on GC - and 1:15 behind his Movistar teammates and co-leaders Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde. Patrick Fletcher has more here.

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) loses time after two broken wheels in stage 1

     

  22. 163km remaining from 195km

    14:11:42 CEST

    The break's lead stands at 7:30 as they approach Pont-Chateau. 

     

  23. 14:14:30 CEST

    Mark Cavendish hasn't made an impression in the sprints yet, but then - 2009 and 2016 apart - the Manxman has traditionally taken a few days to get up to speed on the Tour, and that hasn't stopped him from clocking up 30 stage wins... "I like these big boulevard finishes. Hopefully it’ll be a good sprint for me, there are no real corners in the finale, it’s a big straight road that drags up. There could be a head wind and so timing will play a big factor, so I think it’s going to take a team to get it right today," Cavendish said at the start. 

     

  24. 160km remaining from 195km

    14:16:38 CEST

    Cavendidh was circumspect when asked if having a lead-out train would be key to victory in Sarzeau. "Yes, in a way but a train is not the be all and end all," he said, adding that he felt recovered from his team time trial efforts. "I felt alright after yesterday. We rode okay as a team. It’s the Tour de France and so we did what we could. We knew we were never going to win it, we were thinking about today.”

     

  25. 158km remaining from 195km

    14:20:06 CEST

    Lawson Craddock is still in the race despite fracturing a shoulder blade on Saturday's opening stage, and the American claimed Zwift Rider of the Day honours for stage 3 after his fine display as part of ED-Drapac's solid team time trial effort.

    Lawson Craddock (right) gets ready to start the Tour de France TTT

     

  26. 155km remaining from 195km

    14:22:35 CEST

    A reminder of the situation. Early escapees Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie), Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) have a lead of 7:40 on the peloton.

     

  27. 150km remaining from 195km

    14:30:56 CEST

    There is still no particular urgency in the peloton, which is 7:50 down on the leading quartet. The temperature is a pleasant 28 degrees. Today is the Tour's first Breton stage, though the peloton will not cross into Breton terrain until Redon, with a shade over 63km to go.

     

  28. 147km remaining from 195km

    14:36:59 CEST

    Tom Dumoulin declared himself satisfied with his Sunweb squad's display in yesterday's team time trial, which leaves him in 7th overall, just 11 seconds off the maillot jaune. "The next couple of days are about keeping out of trouble. It's about doing what we can to get some results and stay safe for the GC. So far, it's going really well," Dumoulin said. Brecht Decaluwe and Patrick Fletcher have more here.

    Tom Dumoulin was kept in contention just 12 seconds off the race lead

     

  29. 144km remaining from 195km

    14:38:08 CEST

    Michael Schar takes up the reins for BMC at the head of the peloton. The average speed thus far has been just north of 41kph.

     

  30. 138km remaining from 195km

    14:46:00 CEST

    Claeys, Perez, Cousin and Van Keirsbulck continue to collaborate smoothly at the head of the race, though their lead has come down slightly in recent kilometres and has dropped to just over 7 minutes.

     

  31. 135km remaining from 195km

    14:52:17 CEST

    Mark Cavendish drops back to the Dimension Data team car and a mechanic leans out the window to help adjust his race radio. Cavendish's radio falls off and into the ditch, and the Manxman wheels to a halt and retrieves it before - eventually - setting off once again.

     

  32. 14:53:46 CEST

    The westerly wind isn't strong this afternoon, but the break will face a headwind in the latter part of the stage as the course swings towards Sarzeau and the Morbihan coast.

     

  33. 128km remaining from 195km

    14:59:38 CEST

    Paddy Bevin is back on the front for BMC, while there is a delegation from Movistar lined up behind him. The peloton is 6:47 down on the four escapees.

     

  34. 124km remaining from 195km

    15:08:39 CEST

    EF-Drapac produced a fine display yesterday to limit their losses in the team time trial to 35 seconds, leaving Rigoberto Uran in 10th overall, 35 seconds down on Van Avermaet. "All the recognition is for my teammate Craddock, who did a remarkable time trial given the circumstances," Urán said. "These are the things that, as a leader, you value highly. The guy who has a broken shoulder but finishes, you have to be grateful for that." Patrick Fletcher has more here.

    Rigoberto Uran is relaxed before the start of the Tour de France TTT

     

  35. 120km remaining from 195km

    15:12:05 CEST

    The break's advantage has stabilised around the 7-minute mark for the time being. For now, the sprinters' teams are more than happy to leave it to BMC to keep tabs on the gap.

     

  36. 115km remaining from 195km

    15:20:24 CEST

    Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and a clutch of Team Sky riders are posted towards the head of the bunch, tucked in behind Movistar, though, in truth, there is no whiff of a split at this early juncture in the stage.

     

  37. 114km remaining from 195km

    15:21:39 CEST

    BMC finally have some help at the front of the peloton. Lotto Soudal take up the reins in support of Andre Greipel, who had this to stay at the start: "Normally I like these slightly uphill finishes. It will be headwind finish so it will not be easy to time it."

     

     

  38. 110km remaining from 195km

    15:26:45 CEST

    Claeys, Perez, Cousin and Van Keirsbulck have 6:50 in hand on the peloton as they approach La Touche d'Aguenais.

     

  39. 107km remaining from 195km

    15:30:40 CEST

    Thomas De Gendt rides on the front of the bunch for Lotto Soudal, but it is notable, too, that riders from Groupama-FDJ, Quick-Step Floors and LottoNL-Jumbo are lined up behind him. The sprinters' teams are beginning their pursuit, and the break's lead has dropped to 5:50.

     

  40. 102km remaining from 195km

    15:37:05 CEST

    The escapees are 5km from the intermediate sprint at Derval, and the green jersey contenders in the main peloton are beginning to ready themselves for the sprint for 5th place. Quick-Step set the tempo in the bunch.

     

  41. 99km remaining from 195km

    15:42:06 CEST

    Into the final 100 kilometres for the break, whose lead drops to 4:40. Groupama-FDJ set the pace in the peloton.

     

  42. 97km remaining from 195km

    15:45:25 CEST

    There is no contest in the break as Guillaume Van Keirsbulck leads Claeys, Perez and Cousin across the line at the intermediate sprint in Derval. 

     

  43. 15:48:29 CEST

    Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step) leads the bunch through the intermediate sprint to take 5th place, ahead of Andre Greipel, Peter Sagan and John Degenkolb.

     

  44. 94km remaining from 195km

    15:49:16 CEST

    The injection of pace ahead of the sprint sees the peloton shave another few seconds off its deficit to the four leaders. 3:23 the gap.

     

  45. 15:59:15 CEST

    The result from the intermediate sprint at Derval:

     

    1 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert 20 pts
    2 Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis 17
    3 Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis 15
    4 Jermoe Cousin (Fra) Direct Energie 13
    5 Fernandro Gaviria Rendon (Col) Quick-Step Floors 11
    6 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 10
    7 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 9
    8 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo 8
    9 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE-Team Emirates 7
    10 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 6
    11 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 5
    12 Max Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors 4
    13 Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 3
    14 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 2
    15 Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 1
     

     

  46. 16:02:04 CEST

    Sagan limited his losses on Gaviria to just 2 points in that sprint, meaning that the world champion's lead in the green jersey competition stands at 24 points. 

     

     

  47. 84km remaining from 195km

    16:02:48 CEST

    The escapees are still working together smoothly, but their lead has dropped significantly in the past 10 kilometres thanks to the chasing of the sprinters' teams. The gap is now at 2:20.

     

  48. 78km remaining from 195km

    16:11:39 CEST

    Perez, Claeys, Van Keirsbulck and Cousin maintain a lead of 2:10 over the peloton. Meanwhile, Dylan Groenewegen drops back to his LottoNL-Jumbo team car for a change of helmet.

     

  49. 16:18:59 CEST

    Dutch rider Niki Terpstra expects his Belgian colleagues to be noisy tonight, writes our resident Cercle Brugge fan Brecht Decaluwé, who is far too polite to mention that Holland did not qualify for this year's World Cup. "I'm riding for a Belgian team so for sure they will be watching the game. I'm going to lay on my bed," Terpstra said this morning. "During the previous game I heard them shouting up until my room but that's only normal. If my team is happy, I'm happy so I hope Belgium wins." Quick-Step's French rider Julian Alaphilippe will face a lot of rival fans tonight.

     

  50. 70km remaining from 195km

    16:21:33 CEST

    The peloton is en route to Redon and its first entry onto Breton roads. Mark Cavendish has moved up amid a delegation of Dimension Data riders. Lotto Soudal, LottoNL-Jumbo and Quick-Step control the peloton, 2 minutes behind the break.

     

  51. 65km remaining from 195km

    16:31:30 CEST

    Adam Yates had a difficult start to the Tour, but the Briton pegged back some time thanks to his Mitchelton-Scott team's strong showing in yesterday's team time trial. "It's exactly what we needed," directeur sportif Matt White said afterwards. "It’s not ideal, we’ve got some banged up boys in there. We’re certainly not making excuses, but the effort they put into today considering five of our guys have hit the deck in the last two days, it’s a good one.” Read more here.

    The riders from Mitchelton Scott warm up

     

  52. 16:33:05 CEST

    The Tour has reached Brittany, and will remain in France's most westerly region until Friday's stage from Fougeres to Chartres.

     

  53. 60.2km remaining from 195km

    16:35:38 CEST

    The four leaders hit the category 4 Cote de Saint-Jean-la-Poterie with a lead of 1:40 over the peloton. A reminder that Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) currently leads the mountains classification.

     

  54. 59.5km remaining from 195km

    16:38:21 CEST

    • Climb

    Anthony Perez (Cofidis) leads over the top of the climb to join Smith and Kevin Ledanois on the top of the King of the Mountains standings with a point each. Smith will, barring accident, maintain the jersey tonight thanks to having the highest placing on GC. Dion Smith puts on the best climber's polka dot jersey on the podium after the third stage

     

  55. 16:43:53 CEST

    The overhead shot shows Peter Sagan appearing to jostle with a BMC rider approaching the top of the climb, but on second glance it appears that he might have tugged at his saddle as a joke. Hilarious, I'm sure.

     

  56. 54km remaining from 195km

    16:45:57 CEST

    The break's lead drops to 1:22. The race is heading westward towards Sarzeau and the escapees are now riding into something of a headwind.

     

  57. 50km remaining from 195km

    16:49:58 CEST

    Into the final 50km for the four leaders, whose advantage stands at 1:15. Van Keirsbulck puts in a long turn in a bid to breathe some life into their effort.

     

  58. 16:50:40 CEST

    We're a little over 10km from the bonus sprint, but it's interesting to note that the pace has abated in the main peloton.

     

  59. 16:51:48 CEST

    • Crash

    And that drop in pace has, inevitably, led to a crash in the peloton. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) is among the riders to go down. The Dane gets a new bike but seems to be uninjured, and he sets off once again.

     

  60. 16:53:25 CEST

    Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo-Samsic) also went down, but the Frenchman has remounted and is rejoining the peloton. Mikel Landa (Movistar) has also just re-joined the rear of the bunch. It's not clear if the Basque went down himself, but he was held up by the incident.

     

  61. 47km remaining from 195km

    16:54:55 CEST

    The net result of that crash is that the break has stretched its lead once again to 2:05. The leaders will now certainly hoover up all the bonus seconds on offer at Limerzel with 38.5km to go.

     

  62. 16:57:24 CEST

    • Puncture

    A puncture for Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale). The Frenchman is limping as he descends from his bike, and it looks as though he was caught up in that earlier crash. Gallopin was also a crash victim at the French championships, where he fractured a rib.

     

  63. 43km remaining from 195km

    17:00:02 CEST

    The peloton passes through Caden 2:30 down on the four escapees. Lawson Craddock has been sitting in last position in the peloton for much of the day, but the Texan looks about as comfortable as could be expected in the circumstances, and seems set to survive another day on this Tour de France. Craddock fractured his shoulder blade on stage 1.

     

  64. 38.5km remaining from 195km

    17:04:32 CEST

    Claeys leads Van Keirsbulck and Perez through the bonus sprint in Limerzal with a lead of 2:50 over the peloton.

     

  65. 37km remaining from 195km

    17:07:28 CEST

    Lawson Craddock begins to lose contact at the rear of the peloton; a sign that the sprinters' teams are beginning their pursuit of the break in earnest. Quick-Step Floors have taken up the pace-making at the front.

     

  66. 35km remaining from 195km

    17:10:10 CEST

    Thomas De Gendt puts his shoulder to the wheel on behalf of his Lotto Soudal leader Andre Greipel. The break's lead remains at 2:50.

     

  67. 33km remaining from 195km

    17:12:54 CEST

    Tim Declerq powers on the front of the peloton for Quick-Step Floors. The intensity is ratcheting upwards but, for now at least, the deficit stands firm at 2:50.

     

  68. 30km remaining from 195km

    17:16:25 CEST

    Quick-Step and Lotto Soudal exchange turns on the front, while BMC maintain a watching brief. The maillot jaune Van Avermaet sits in fifth wheel.

     

  69. 28.5km remaining from 195km

    17:17:39 CEST

    Cousin, Perez, Claeys and Van Keirsbulck looked set to be caught barely 10 miles ago, but now they might just be daring to dream. Their buffer is still 2:50 but we can surely expect that gap to tumble over the next 10km or so.

     

  70. 24km remaining from 195km

    17:23:56 CEST

    Large and boisterous crowds greet the escapees as they reach Muzillac, where their lead over the bunch stands at 2:13.

     

  71. 22km remaining from 195km

    17:24:56 CEST

    Quick-Step are on the front of the peloton, which is beginning to string out considerably. 

     

  72. 21km remaining from 195km

    17:26:53 CEST

    The break's advantage is starting to narrow inexorably as Quick-Step continue their forcing at the head of the peloton. The gap stands at two minutes.

     

  73. 19km remaining from 195km

    17:29:45 CEST

    Quick-Step continue to pile on the pressure, but the other sprinters' teams are gathering behind them, including the Dimension Data squad of Mark Cavendish.

     

  74. 17km remaining from 195km

    17:32:54 CEST

    Cousin, Van Keirsbulck, Perez and Claeys still have 1:50 in hand on the peloton, but the speed will be relentless from here on in. Delegations from AG2R and Movistar are prominent near the head of the bunch on this tense finale.

     

  75. 15km remaining from 195km

    17:34:28 CEST

    The four leaders reach the final 15km still with 1:40 in hand on the peloton. They are still collaborating well, despite the Cofidis numerical superiority, and they are still riding strongly despite the headwind in the finale.

     

  76. 14km remaining from 195km

    17:35:36 CEST

    We would have expected the break's lead to come down rather more rapidly than this, but the front quartet are putting up fierce resistance. 1:40 the gap.

     

  77. 17:36:10 CEST

    Quick-Step are looking for some help from their fellow sprint teams, but for now, no aid is forthcoming, and it's all down to the men in blue. 

     

  78. 17:36:44 CEST

    Lawson Craddock looked set to be distanced some time ago, but the Texan is still in touch at the rear of the peloton.

     

  79. 12km remaining from 195km

    17:38:24 CEST

    Van Keirsbulck, Cousin, Claeys and Perez continue to battle gamely on the front. Groupama-FDJ have joined the pursuit behind, but the gap is still 1:20.

     

  80. 11km remaining from 195km

    17:39:36 CEST

    Terpstra sets the pace on the front for Quick-Step, but the other sprint teams are still content to allow the Belgian squad to set the pace. 1:15 the gap.

     

  81. 10km remaining from 195km

    17:41:06 CEST

    However it pans out, this has been a fine effort from the four escapees. They looked down and out with 40km to go, but the peloton might yet have cause to regret re-handing them a 3-minute buffer in the final hour of racing. 1:07 the gap.

     

  82. 9km remaining from 195km

    17:42:34 CEST

    Quick-Step continue to carry the responsibility for the chase, but they are looking for some help from the other sprinters' teams. Dimension Data look set to step up to the plate as the gap lingers at 1:05.

     

  83. 8km remaining from 195km

    17:43:45 CEST

    With 8km remaining, Van Keirsbulck, Cousin, Claeys and Perez still have a minute in hand, and they are still smoothly exchanging turns. Surely they can't?

     

  84. 7km remaining from 195km

    17:44:42 CEST

    Lukas Postlberger takes up the pace-making on the front of the peloton for Bora-Hansgrohe. There is now a greater spread of teams contributing to the chase, but the gap remains at 54 seconds.

     

  85. 6km remaining from 195km

    17:45:47 CEST

    Van Keirsbulck has put in some monumental turns here, though in truth, all of the leading quartet have contributed handsomely. 45 seconds the gap, and the heist is still just about on.

     

  86. 5km remaining from 195km

    17:47:09 CEST

    The on-screen graphic shows that the peloton is still 500 metres behind the four escapees. 39 seconds the gap.

     

  87. 17:47:42 CEST

    • Crash

    A crash near the front of the peloton and an awful  lot of riders have been held up in this incident, including Marcel Kittel (Katusha).

     

  88. 17:48:23 CEST

    Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) also went down in that crash, while Rigoberto Uran was caught up and is forced into a desperate pursuit to catch the bunch.

     

  89. 4km remaining from 195km

    17:48:47 CEST

    32 seconds for the four leaders as they enter the final 4 kilometres...

     

  90. 3km remaining from 195km

    17:49:48 CEST

    Dimension Data and Quick-Step are prominent at the head of the peloton, 20 seconds down on the four leaders. Behind, there are several splinter groups of riders grimly chasing back on after the crash. 

     

  91. 17:50:19 CEST

    Correction, it seems that Marcel Kittel is safely in the main peloton... We await confirmation of who was caught up in that crash.

     

  92. 2km remaining from 195km

    17:50:58 CEST

    The peloton closes to within 12 seconds of the break with 2km to go.

     

  93. 17:51:23 CEST

    Ilnur Zakarin was the Katusha rider caught up in the crash, and the Russian looks set to concede some ground this afternoon.

     

  94. 1.3km remaining from 195km

    17:52:00 CEST

    The bunch is almost upon the break, and Van Keirsbulck accelerates away alone in a bid to keep the dream alive...

     

  95. 1km remaining from 195km

    17:52:28 CEST

    Gruppo compatto as Van Keirsbulck is caught at the flamme rouge.

     

  96. 17:52:52 CEST

    Dimension Data are in front before Quick-Step take over the lead-out...

     

  97. 17:53:15 CEST

    Gaviria opens the sprint but Greipel is challenging...

     

  98. 17:54:08 CEST

    Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) wins stage 4 of the Tour de France.

     

  99. 17:55:13 CEST

    Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took second ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal).

     

  100. 17:55:50 CEST

    Ilnur Zakarin, meanwhile, came home around a minute down after being caught up in that late crash.

     

  101. 17:57:12 CEST

    It was a pure power sprint, and it looked as though the most powerful sprinter of them all, Andre Greipel, was going to claim that. He looked set to overhaul Gaviria, only for the Colombian to kick again within sight of the line. Sagan came off Greipel's wheel to take second, but there was little to be done against Gaviria, who has now won two stages on this Tour. Quite a debut.

     

  102. 17:58:32 CEST

    Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) placed 4th ahead of Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) took 7th ahead of John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and king of the mountains Dion Smith.

     

  103. 18:00:27 CEST

    Result:

     

    1 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors 04:25:01
    2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
    3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
    4 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
    5 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
    6 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
    7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
    8 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
    9 Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
    10 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert

     

  104. 18:00:53 CEST

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) finished safely in the peloton and will retain the yellow jersey.

     

  105. 18:05:37 CEST

    General classification:

     

    1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 13:33:56
    2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
    3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:03
    4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:05
    5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:07
    6 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
    7 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:00:11
    8 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
    9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb

     

  106. 18:07:20 CEST

    General classification after stage 4:

     


    1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 13:33:56
    2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
    3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:03
    4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:05
    5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:07
    6 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
    7 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:00:11
    8 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
    9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
    10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 00:00:35 

  107. 18:10:25 CEST

    Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step) speaks: “It was a very difficult victory. We didn’t have any help to control the breakaway today so it was really difficult, but we really wanted to win today and the team did an incredible job and we’re really happy. I’d like to thank all of my teammates for all of their hard work and we’re now looking forward to the next few days. It’s hard to say that you believe that you can do it when you come here, but we really trained very hard for this Tour. We’ve arrived here in very good condition. We know that Peter is one of the greatest riders in the peloton so I’m very happy to be fighting against him. It’s very difficult and we know that we’re going to have to work more.”

     

  108. 18:11:07 CEST

    Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) wins stage 4 at the Tour de France

     

  109. 18:12:57 CEST

    Anthony Perez (Cofidis) can muster a smile after his day-long efforts on the front as part of a break that came closer to pulling off the win than anyone anticipated. "You have to dream," Perez tells Eurosport. "It would have been lovely to stay away in my first breakaway on the Tour. We worked well together, it was hard with the headwind, but in the end, the finish didn’t come soon enough."

     

  110. 18:15:23 CEST

    Rigoberto Uran latched back on to the peloton after getting held up in that late crash to maintain his place in the top 10 overall. Ilnur Zakarin lost 59 seconds, but all of the other podium contenders finished safely in the front group.

     

  111. 18:16:36 CEST

    Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) conceded 1:24. Tiesj Benoot, who went down in the crash, was last across the finish line, 10:12 down on Gaviria.

     

  112. 18:17:25 CEST

    Lawson Craddock came in with EF-Drapac teammates Dani Martinez and Taylor Phinney, 3:48 down on Gaviria.

     

  113. 18:18:21 CEST

    Brecht Decaluwe is on hand at the Lotto Soudal bus and tells us that Benoot was taken to hospital on crossing the finish line.

     

  114. 18:20:12 CEST

    Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondiale) went down heavily in the crash 5km from the finish, and it appears that the Frenchman has abandoned the race.

     

  115. 18:21:58 CEST

    Mark Cavendish crossed the line in 21st place, and has yet to make an impression in a sprint on this Tour. His Dimension Data squad was prominent in the closing kilometres. "It probably didn't come across on TV how hard that finish was," says Dimension Data's Mark Renshaw. "We had headwind-crosswind from the right and a slight uphill. It was a little bit steeper than what we thought this morning in the meeting. You can see there in the finish just guys going backwards once they hit the wind. Fernando timed it perfect, so it was a great run by him."

     

  116. 18:27:17 CEST

    A correction from our man at the Lotto Soudal bus: Benoot has not been taken to hospital, but he is in the x-ray truck by the finish line having his injuries assessedd.

     

  117. 18:36:08 CEST

    Peter Sagan congratulates Fernando Gaviria as they cross the line during stage 4 at the Tour de France

     

  118. 18:58:58 CEST

    Some of the initial reactions from the protagonists of stage 4 are available here. Stephen Farrand, Patrick Fletcher and Brecht Decaluwe will have more in-depth reaction from Sarzeau in due course.

     

  119. 19:08:43 CEST

    A full report, results and pictures from today's stage are available here. We'll be back with more live coverage on Cyclingnews tomorrow.

     

  120. 19:09:46 CEST

    Greg Van Avermaet in yellow during stage 4 at the Tour de France

     

  121. 19:10:32 CEST

    Peter Sagan and Fernando Gaviria cross the line during stage 4 at the Tour de France

     

  122. 19:11:20 CEST

    Result:

     

     

    1 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors 04:25:01
    2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
    3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
    4 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
    5 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
    6 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
    7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
    8 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
    9 Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
    10 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert

     

     

  123. 19:11:49 CEST

    General classification after stage 4:

     

     


    1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 13:33:56
    2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
    3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:03
    4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:05
    5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:07
    6 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
    7 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:00:11
    8 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
    9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
    10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 00:00:35

     

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