Skip to main content
Live coverage

Tour de France 2018: Stage 4


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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

194km remaining from 195km

193km remaining from 195km

191km remaining from 195km

187km remaining from 195km

184km remaining from 195km

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.

180km remaining from 195km

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. 

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.”

170km remaining from 195km

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.

167km remaining from 195km

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.

163km remaining from 195km

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. 

160km remaining from 195km

158km remaining from 195km

155km remaining from 195km

150km remaining from 195km

147km remaining from 195km

144km remaining from 195km

138km remaining from 195km

135km remaining from 195km

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.

128km remaining from 195km

124km remaining from 195km

120km remaining from 195km

115km remaining from 195km

114km remaining from 195km

110km remaining from 195km

107km remaining from 195km

102km remaining from 195km

99km remaining from 195km

97km remaining from 195km

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

94km remaining from 195km

The result from the intermediate sprint at Derval:

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. 

84km remaining from 195km

78km remaining from 195km

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.

70km remaining from 195km

65km remaining from 195km

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

60km remaining from 195km

59km remaining from 195km

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.

54km remaining from 195km

50km remaining from 195km

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.

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.

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.

47km remaining from 195km

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.

43km remaining from 195km

38km remaining from 195km

37km remaining from 195km

35km remaining from 195km

33km remaining from 195km

30km remaining from 195km

28km remaining from 195km

24km remaining from 195km

22km remaining from 195km

21km remaining from 195km

19km remaining from 195km

17km remaining from 195km

15km remaining from 195km

14km remaining from 195km

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. 

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

12km remaining from 195km

11km remaining from 195km

10km remaining from 195km

9km remaining from 195km

8km remaining from 195km

7km remaining from 195km

6km remaining from 195km

5km remaining from 195km

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).

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.

4km remaining from 195km

3km remaining from 195km

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

2km remaining from 195km

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

1km remaining from 195km

1km remaining from 195km

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

Gaviria opens the sprint but Greipel is challenging...

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

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

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

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.

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.


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

General classification:

General classification after stage 4:

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.”

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."

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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."

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.

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.

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


General classification after stage 4:

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Latest on Cyclingnews