The fourth stage of the Tour de France was another day for the fast finishers. Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep-Floors) sprinted to victory in Sarzeau ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal). Although he was involved in a late race crash, Rigoberto Uran safely finished in the 100-rider bunch on the same time as the stage winner.
Uran and Taylor Phinney were among the riders who had nowhere to go but down when Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) crashed in front of them six kilometers from the finish. The incident created an immediate split in the peloton. A swift reaction by Dani Martinez, Simon Clarke, Tom Scully and Sep Vanmarcke allowed Uran to bridge the gap and rejoin the peloton.
“It’s never a good situation when your captain is on the ground with six kilometers to go, but before he was back on his feet, Dani had his bike ready to give Rigo and the rest of us jumped straight back in line and got him back to the bunch,” said road captain Simon Clarke. “Normally when you crash inside the last 10 kilometers, it’s about limiting losses. Very rarely do you get back on. That we got back on proves how dialed we are as a team and how quickly and efficiently we were able to respond.
“I think the moral of today’s story is like what I talked about with Lawson,” Clarke added. “It’s not about what happens but how you react, how you get back up. Today it was Rigo’s turn to get caught up in the crash. And that happens. We do everything we can to avoid it but it’s not always avoidable. The important thing is to keep in mind that the reaction to misfortune is what you can control.”
🎥 Jump directly into the peloton with @VelonCC #TDF2018 stage four on-bike highlights. Clip includes footage of @UranRigoberto's crash, @danifmartinez96 quick reaction and #PinkArgyle's chase. pic.twitter.com/Lg04OSN4dz
— EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale (@Ride_Argyle) July 10, 2018
Apart from Uran’s late race crash, Tuesday’s stage was the most relaxed day of the Tour yet.
The first attacks produced the early breakaway of four that included Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie) and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Group Gobert). The peloton allowed the quartet a long leash with a maximum advantage of nearly eight minutes. BMC did the bulk of the early pace-making with Quick-Step Floors and Lotto Soudal contributing to the chase in the second half of the 195km day.
“There was a little bit of stress with a few narrow roads, but this was one of the more tranquil days we’ll probably get in the Tour – apart from the last 6km,” said Clarke. “It was a straightforward day.”
Following stage four, Uran remains 10th overall, 35 seconds down on race leader Greg Van Avermaet.
“If you look at the race compared to the other GC favorites, things are going well for us, but we’re also aware that this is one step along the way,” said Wegelius. “We’ve ticked a few boxes, had a little high five and moved on.”
Yesterday was impressive, but today was inspirational. Guys just nailed it on teamwork. @UranRigoberto wasn’t even off the ground, before @danifmartinez96 gave him his bike and the rest of the guys hit absolute redline to get him back in the peloton. Can’t say enough good things!
— Jonathan Vaughters (@Vaughters) July 10, 2018
Racing continues on Wednesday with a 204 kilometer stage between Lorient and Quimper.
“They’re saying it’s the equivalent of a mini Amstel,” said Clarke. “If that’s accurate, we’re up for a tough one. We’ll need all hands on deck, probably looking to Dani Martinez and Pierre Rolland, who up until now we’ve been trying to save and allow to take it easy.”
“It’s a very technical stage on small roads,” sport director Tom Southam added. “I’d still expect a sprint tomorrow, but it will be a hard day all around.”
Visit ProCyclingStats for complete stage four results.