Marcel Kittel wins Stage 4
Marcel Kittel of Etixx-QuickStep, sprinted to the win in a photo finish with Bryan Couqard (Direct Energie) in the longest stage (237.5 km) of the 2016 Tour de France today. This was the second photo finish in as many days on the tour. This is Kittel’s ninth stage victory in his Tour career. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) came in third and retains the Yellow Jersey as leader of the Tour.
The 237.5 km route from Saumur to Limoges, in the northern part of the Massif Central of France. The relatively flat route included one Category 4 climb, sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s (26 C). This stage follows the second longest stage that was run yesterday. Stage 5 has two Category 2 and three Category 3 climbs, therefore this may be the last day for Sagan in Yellow. However, Sagan is now leading in the Points Competition over Mark Cavendish (147 to 142 points).
A four rider breakaway group formed at 15 km, with Andreas Schillinger (Bora-Argon18), Oliver Naesen (IAM Cycling), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), and Markel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo). The peloton went at a faster pace than yesterday. As the route began to go over more rollers toward the end of the stage, the peloton led by Lotto Soudal, Etixx-QuickStep and Dimension Data closed the gap to 30 seconds, down from a maximum of six minutes.
The breakaway group was caught with 7 Km to go. As the peloton rushed toward the finish, Lotto Soudal and Andre Greipel led the way through the town. In the last kilometer, Alexander Krisfoff (Team Katusha), Sagan and Couqard battles for the win along with Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL - Jumbo). If the stage had been just 1 meter longer, Couqard could have won. Couqard was charging toward the line and Kittel beat him by the thinnest of margins.
Marcel Kittel Etixx - Quick-Step
Bryan Coquard Direct Energie
Peter Sagan Tinkoff Team
Dylan Groenewegen Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Alexander Kristoff Team Katusha
Sondre Holst Enger IAM Cycling
Daniel Mclay Fortuneo - Vital Concept
Mark Cavendish Dimension Data
Samuel Dumoulin AG2R La Mondiale
Simon Gerrans Orica-BikeExchange
Peter Sagan Tinkoff Team
Julian Alaphilippe Etixx - Quick-Step
Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
Warren Barguil Team Giant-Alpecin
Christopher Froome Team Sky
News & Notes:
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) is overcoming bruised ribs that he injured in Stage 1. He has lost time, but is determined to stay and support Chris Froome.
Peter Sagan complained about the lack of safe riding in the peloton. Sagan said that many riders are not concerned other riders and teams are lining up for finishing sprints, causing chaos at the end of stages.
Will Mark Cavendish leave to prepare for the Olympics in Rio prior to the end of the Tour?