Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Stage 4 Preview 2014 Tour de France

Stage 4:

163.5k, mostly flat, from Le Touquet-Paris-Plage on the English Channel Coast, south of Calais, Eastward and inland to Lille, just south of Roubaix, near the Belgian border. Just two small category-4 climbs on the way.
Weather: Clear and sunny, mid 60s f.

DNS: Andy Schleck

Stage 4 race route to Lille
Expect another bunch sprint finish today. The riders have left Britain and made the transfer over to the mainland. Some had an easier transfer than others, as Marcel Kittel had his precious hair gel confiscated by officials at the border. Will it affect his chance to win a third sprint today? We shall see...

Andrei Greipel's Lotto Belisol team has been struggling to put their sprint leader in a good position to contest the finish sprints. Maybe they can find the right formula today. Young French Team Europcar sprinter Brian Coquard has been very competitive in the sprints. He will be looking for his first stage win in his home race today, too. 

Stage 4 Profile

Alexander Kristoff of Katusha will also be looking to prove his mettle today. He had some harsh words for Mark Cavendish after the Manxman's dramatic stage-one finale crash, calling the move intentional, and suggesting that punitive action be taken against the Omega Pharma sprinter. Cav was the only rider injured in the wreck; he suffered a separated shoulder and torn ligaments and was forced to abandon the race, so I would think that any lesson to be learned from the overly-aggressive action has already taken effect.

Then, of course, there is Peter Sagan. Maybe the Slovakian road race champion can get Kittel's number today and register his first stage win of this 101st edition of Le Grande Boucle.

My pick today: the obvious choice is Marcel Kittel. My "longshot" pick will be Andrei Greipel.

I will post today's results after the race finishes in Lille later.

Enjoy the racing!

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