Jens Dekker makes an interesting point on Twitter regarding the choice of wildcard teams this year.
2 wildcard teams have been invited. B&Bs tried but failed drastically in the first stage, and Total never tried. Imagine that Uno X is invited. They were on rest every day. I know what I would have chosen… #TDF20225 July 2022
115 km to go
Speed is plush on the set, with the gap extending to 5’49”.
It remains a mystery why QuickStep decided to emphasize the group and push the pace for such a short time, as the gap now extends to the break to over 5 minutes again.
With more crosswinds coming in and an expected average run in just over 10km, there’s a good chance things could change quickly.
120 km to go
Peace has returned to the peloton. Several riders catch and release the breeze, lots of smiles and laughter, and a chance to rehydrate. There are still five cat 4 climbs left on the stage, but the next one doesn’t show for another 25 km or so.
The group finally got back together, and some chose this as the right moment to break the break while relieving the tension once more.
125 km to go
Anthony Perez and Magnus Kurt continue to ride as a duo on holiday today. They have a 4’03” lead over the set.
The riders are still along as the second group tries to ride again on the main peloton.
Race leader Wout van Aert visits the team car and engages in some discussions as he shares his advantages.
The gap drops to less than 3’30 inches as the second group tries to get back into it again. Cross winds seem to be a little annoying, something to watch as the day progresses. There is still some distance to ride before the course changes direction and starts heading west.
While the panic at the front of the group appears to have subsided, the result is a second group on the road that has been pushed back from the main peloton.
130 km to go
QuickStep-AlphaVinyl decided it was enough and put its foot on the gas at the front of the pack.
It surprised a number of riders, and groups of riders who let the speed fight to come back.
The gap between the leaders goes down to 4’00”.
Stephen Krijsvik (Team Jumbo_Vimsa) got caught up in the over speed peloton, chasing at the back of the group.
135 km to go
Team Total and QuickStep AlphaVinyl energies lead the peloton over the climb in Cassel.
The gap settles back in at about 4’45 inches.
The gap drops less than five minutes as the peloton approaches the climb.
The streets of Kassel are lined with fans as the riders wind their way through the city and catch their breath as they continue to ride uphill.
Anthony Perez opens his sprint first but Kurt skips it as they head towards the top of the climb. Both may have reduced the length of time left to climb, but Kurt is clinging to getting the only point available, boosting his KOM ranking lead.
140 km to go
Côte de Cassel is now being climbed for defecting riders, Magnus Cort and Anthony Perez. They traverse the gravel while the crowds cheer for them to climb.
The peloton has turned the corner, in terms of the time gap. They slowly started closing it again, heading down toward the six-minute mark.
Stand just two kilometers between our separate riders and the first climb of the day, the Côte de Cassel, which features a short cobbled strip – a brief glimpse of what’s to come tomorrow on stage to Arenberg.
145 km to go
With him outpacing Kurt in the GC standings, Anthony Perez is currently the default yellow jersey.
Despite the change in location, there is definitely a deja vu feel about today’s stage. The lack of representation of the French continental teams in the separation is surprising.
Kurt in the first half. # Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha pic.twitter.com/d2miHa2jPW5 July 2022
The peloton’s gap is now 6’20”.
150 kilometers to go
Pushing the gap now six minutes, Kurt and Perez made a strong header and Peloton mutually agreed to extend the rest day into the day stage. There is some hilarious chatting when they are up to 20 kilometers away from the race.
This is not the first time that Anthony Perez of Cofidis has shown an interest in the Tour de France King of the Mountains. In the early stages of last year’s race he had a big fight with Eddie Schilling of Bora-Hansgrohe in the hunt for KOM points. In the end he took tenth place in the standings. This is his fifth tour of France.
The gap increased to more than four minutes. How long will the peloton give them before they fix the gap?
The gap moves to approximately 3 minutes.
The first climb of the day, Côte de Cassel, comes about 30km later, where we may see Cort and Perez jostling for points.
A nod, a smile, and a thumbs up from Magnus Cort, who seems perfectly happy to be on top again. He’s spent a good portion of Stage 3 outside on his own – over 100km – so he’ll be happy with the company today.
Cort and Perez have already put together a comfortable 1.50 gap over the peloton, who seem satisfied with cruise control at this early stage of the stage.
It seemed as if Owen Doll had injured his finger in a minor crash during the phantom departure. He returns to the medical car for help.
With the peloton already spread across the road, it looks like we may have already created our early day break. Kurt and Perez will get to know each other very well today, if no one else decides to try to get off the road.
Here we are in Stage 4, and the polka-dot jersey, Magnus Cort Nielson (EF Education-Easypost) is already far from the front of the pack, along with companion – Anthony Perez of Cofidis.
Race Director Christian Prudhomme appears through the sunroof and raises his flag ready to start the excitement of Stage 4 of the Tour de France.
British EF Education-EasyPost rider Owain Doull deals with an early mechanic in the neutral zone.
There are only two kilometers left for the flag to fall – “départ réel” where the race can begin.
Magnus Court, the current leader in the mountain competition, confirms in his pre-race interview that he would like a company to break up today, but he doesn’t think it’s a victory day for the breakup.
Race director Christian Prudhomme shares a few words with Lotto Soudal’s Philip Gilbert from the Commissioner’s car. The veteran Belgian rider celebrates his 40th birthday today.
Riders will enjoy the vibrant atmosphere along Dunkirk’s waterfront as they travel for approximately 15 minutes before the flag drops and the race begins in earnest.
Smiling pelotons on a bright, sunny and breezy day in northern France.
We are out! Riders roll by Dunkirk for départ fictif. Wout van Aert shines in a john swimsuit. Fabio Jacobsen wears green on his behalf, while Tadej Pogačar retains the white jersey as the leader in the youth classification.
Magnus Cort Nielsen wears polka dots as the leader of the King of the Mountains competition after an incredible number of kilometers separated in Stages 2 and 3 on his native Denmark.
Before the start of the stage, riders and fans in Dunkirk take part in it applause one minute For the victims of the shooting in the Copenhagen mall on Sunday.
The road is uphill with six Category 4 climbs scattered along the route, and one average sprint.
The climb is short and intense, with the last climb coming 10 kilometers from the finish line. It’ll probably be another day for the runners, the rookie men’s last chance for a while, but with the terrain more difficult to handle, there’s an outside chance of a separate win.
Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) is currently wearing the yellow jersey. He finished second in all three of the opening stages of the race in Denmark, and today could be a good stage for him to claim his first stage victory this year.
Welcome to the live text of stage 4 cycling news from Tour de France.
The riders arrived on French soil yesterday and will be racing for the first time there today, starting today in Dunkirk heading 171.5km to Calais.
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