Tour de France 2019: Stage 4 – Victory for Viviani in Nancy

The day was long, the finale was full of pinch-points and roundabouts, but at the close of play Elia Viviani rode the coat-tails of a fantastic Deceuninck-Quickstep leadout to take his first victory at La Grand Boucle. Dropped off to perfection, the Italian had the pace to come around Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) with ease. Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan finished fast to just pip Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) to third place. After helping deliver his teammate over the line, Julian Alaphilipppe followed him onto the podium to pull on the yellow jersey once more.

Rider of the Race

I nearly didn’t hand this award out at all. It was simply one of those Tour transitions stages where gorgeous French scenery passes in front of you and not much else happens until the sprint at the end. Not that I have a problem with these stages, they are a necessary part of any Grand Tour. It’s just they’re more suited for crafty naps on the sofa rather than sifting through the peloton in search of a single rider. To be frank, if any other sprinter had taken the win I would have stuck to my guns and warbled about verdant green patchworks and chateaux, but how could I resist an Elia Viviani taking his first Tour win to complete his Grand Tour hat-trick. Or the brimful of confidence Deceuninck-Quickstep team who put him there.

Embed from Getty Images

Oh what a difference a Grand Tour makes. Desolate and disconsolate when he left the Giro early, to see him bounce back to winning ways at his first Tour de France in five years was brilliant to witness. Look how much it meant.

 

Today we did a perfect job, you saw how the lead-out did. I just need to thank the team; they were really unbelievable. I just had to in my job in the last 180m. It’s what I can do better if they launch me like that. I’m pretty happy. I’m just really focussed on my lead-out. I lost the wheel of my lead-out on the first stage, and I was really disappointed after that. Today I only looked at Max Richeze’s wheel. I know Morkov did an amazing job – he’s the best to go at the right time and he was perfect today. I saw Kristoff try to anticipate me on the right, and at that same moment, Max opened the door for me – it was really the perfect teamwork.

I LOVE the way the Quicksteppers always ride for each other so I wasn’t at all surprised to see the yellow jersey of Alaphilippe come to the front to set the pace on the run to the line. It brought back memories of Champs-Élysées in 2012.

Pox Watch

No polka-dotted opportunity was missed by Lotto Soudal, with Tim Wellens taking the start line bedecked in spots

including some very natty looking pedals. I fear our own Journal Velo will not approve.

Images of the day

A charming Romain Bardet

Suncream for Monsieur Voeckler

Total Direct Energie may not have placed Niki Terpstra in the break of the day as per my fervent wishes, but this sequence of events more than made up for it.

The sharp delineation of a perfect patchwork

Stage Results – Top 5

1 Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 5:09:20

2 Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) same time

3 Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal ) s/t

4 Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) s/t

5 Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) s/t

General Classification – Top 10

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 14:41:39

2 Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:20

3 Steven Kruijswijk (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:25

4 George Bennett (Team Jumbo-Visma) same time

5 Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) +0:40

6 Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) same time

7 Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) +0:45

8 Enric Mas (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:46

9 Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) +0:51

10 Michael Woods (EF Education First) same time

All the jerseys

Maillot Jaune:  Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

Maillot Vert: Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)

Maillot Blanc: Wout Van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma)

King of the Mountains: Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)

For the full stage review, go to cyclingnews 

Header image: GETTY/Velo/Chris Graythen 

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