Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) won stage 4 of the Tour de France at Orcières-Merlette in a manner that suggests his challenge will not be unduly affected by the crash he suffered at the Critérium du Dauphiné ahead of the race.
Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert and Sepp Kuss set a rasping tempo in the closing kilometres of the ascent and Roglic finished off their work by beating Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) in a large group sprint at the summit.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) had to settle for fifth on the stage but that was enough to see him retain the maillot jaune, 4 seconds ahead of Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), while Roglic moves up to third overall, a further 3 seconds back.
“I’m coming back after my crash. We can see that I can race and every day I feel a little better. It's nice to be able to ride again,” Roglic said afterwards. “I already got proof that I was ready for the start. Now we need to continue the whole team with a good job.”
This was the earliest Alpine summit finish in the history of the Tour, though the selection on the final ascent came from the rear of the bunch rather than the front, thanks to the relatively shallow gradient and the high speed.
The category 1 climb did provoke some gaps, however, as a front group of 16 riders – including Roglic, Egan Bernal, Nairo Quintana and Thibaut Pinot – gained 9 seconds on Emmanuel Buchmann and 21 on Alejandro Valverde.
Watch how it all unfolded in the Tour de France stage 4 highlights video above.
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