Le TOUR’19 Stage 4: Viva Viviani The Victor!

Stage Report: Elia Viviani won the fourth stage in the Tour de France in Nancy in the expected sprint finish. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider was the fastest sprinter after 213.5 kilometres, ahead of Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal). The leader’s jersey remains on the shoulders of Julian Alaphilippe, who had a fairly calm day.

Viviani through on the right

After all the excitement of Monday’s stage, stage 4 was much calmer… Until the sprinter teams took the peloton by the scruff of the neck. Sunweb, Deceuninck – Quick-Step, UAE Team Emirates, Dimension Data, Bora-Hansgrohe and Lotto Soudal all wanted to be at the front in the final kilometre. Elia Viviani had his man, Mørkøv, led the charge to pilot him over the line first ahead of Kristoff, Ewan, Sagan and Groenewegen.

Tim Wellens new KOM bike

Stage 4 Route:
Reims to Nancy – 213.5 kilometres. A fairly flat stage with only two Cat 4 climbs, with the last one coming about 15 kilometres from the finish. One for the sprinters. Two Italians triumphed here on the last two editions to visit: Lorenzo Bernucci in 2005, ahead of Christophé Mengin racing in front of his home crowd, and more recently Matteo Trentin in 2014, ahead of Peter Sagan and Toni Gallopin.

The new yellow jersey, stage 3 winner, Julian Alaphilippe is ready

For Julian Alaphilippe, it was a day to remember, since the Frenchman would start in the yellow jersey for the first time on a day that seemed set for Dylan Groenewegen, Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani.

The 13th century Reims Cathedral is one of France’s leading Gothic art constructions

Nice wine in this area

The break: Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Gobert) and Michael Schar (CCC)

Wanty-Gobert on the attack
On Monday it took about ten kilometres before a leading group broke away, today it only took 200 meters. Frederik Backaert and Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert) and Michael Schär (CCC) managed to put together a nice lead in no time.

The peloton passed under the Porte Sainte-Croix in Chalon after around 40 kilometres

Jumbo-Visma shared the work in the peloton with Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Wout Van Aert and Tony Martin at the front

In the peloton two other Belgian teams took control: Lotto Soudal for sprint leader Caleb Ewan, and Deceuninck – Quick-Step for their fast-man Elia Viviani and overall leader Alaphilippe. The lead of Schär, Offredo and Backaert was never more than 4 minutes. The other team were quite happy with the way the stage was going.

Harvest time soon

The first sunflower shot of this Tour

There were a few crashes in the peloton; Tony Gallopin and the Austrian champion Patrick Konrad came down, but everyone was able to continue. After 121 kilometres, Schar managed to grab the mountain point (1) on the Côte de Rosières. In the peloton; Viviani, Sonny Colbrelli and Peter Sagan fought over the intermediate sprint.

We need the helicopter for the best shots

On the last climb of the day, the Côte de Maron, the pace was slowly but surely increased in the peloton, so Schär, Offredo and Backaert knew that time was not on their side. Schär and Backaert lifted their speed, which Offredo couldn’t follow. The two rode together to the Maron and then Schar went solo.

Lotto Soudal started to help the chase

Then there was two….

On this 3.2 kilometre long slope – at an average of 5.2% – Schär was the last to be caught by Bora-Hansgrohe and Sunweb. Sunweb hoped to lose the pure sprinters like Groenewegen and Viviani, and increase the chances of their leader Michael Matthews. The pace of Nicolas Roche and co, however, was not enough, so all sprinters survived the short climb.

Then Schar solo

The sprinters make their move
Groenewegen was in a little trouble on the climb, but he managed to regain the peloton and so all the top finishers were ready for the sprint in the streets of Nancy. Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie) tried to surprise the peloton, but the Frenchman didn’t have much hope.

The inevitable sprint

6 kilometres from the finish, Calmejane was caught and the sprinter teams had their work to do. Lotto Soudal tried to bring Ewan to the final kilometre in a good position, but the red-white brigade was over-run by the other teams. No one formation was able to take control, which caused a chaotic sprint.

It was close, but Viviani had it!

Viviani – His first Tour victory
Less than 2 kilometres from the finish line, the men from Jumbo-Visma came to the head of the pack, but Groenewegen was not on the wheel, the Dutchman had to come from too far back. Mørkøv hit the front for Viviani, but when he swung off, the bunch spread out across the road. Viviani slipped through on the right-hand side to launch his bike over the line to beat Kristoff and Ewan.

Second stage win and yellow for Deceuninck – Quick-Step

Stage winner, Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “This victory means a lot to me. I can’t believe it. It was my biggest goal of the year. I missed first chance on stage 1 in Brussels, but after Julian [Alaphilippe] won yesterday, it switched on the team. My lead out men Michael Morkov and Max Richez did a perfect job. I only had to finish it off in the last 180 meters. I just focused on my lead out today. Alexander Kristoff tried anticipate on the right but I was ready to jump. After winning stages at the Giro and La Vuelta, this feels like mission accomplished.”

Tour de France Stage 4 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 5:09:20
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE-Team Emirates
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
6. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
8. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
10. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
11. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
12. André Greipel (Ger) Arkéa Samsic
13. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie
14. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
15. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
16. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert
17. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
18. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
19. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
20. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert
21. Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Jumbo-Visma
22. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First
23. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos
24. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
25. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 4:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 14:41:39
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:20
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:25
4. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb at 0:40
6. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos
7. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 0:45
8. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:46
9. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:51
10. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
11. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
12. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:52
13. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 0:53
14. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First
15. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:56
16. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:57
17. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
18. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:00
19. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb
20. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:01
21. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
22. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:06
23. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
24. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
25. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana.

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