Stage 4: Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel(207.5 kms)

After yesterday’s exciting finish the Tour moved deeper into France. Vittel: The French town known for its spas and this:

Good reminder to drink water
The race started in Mondorf-les-Bains, home to the Schleck Brothers (Fränk and Andy Schleck: Andy Schleck is the 2010 Winner and a 2 time 2nd place finisher at the Tour De France.)
Route Map

While the stage finish was not uphill, but it still had some technical sections. With another sprint finish expected the usual suspects were the favourites: Peter Sagan(BORA-hansgrohe), André Greipel(Lotto Soudal Cycling Team Fanpage), Marcel Kittel(Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team), Mark Cavendish(Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka) and homeboy Nacer Bouhanni(Team Cofidis). Immediately at get-go, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck(Wanty - Groupe Gobert) attacked and no-one followed. He steadily built a lead over the Peloton and at one point he reached 13 minutes ahead of the Peloton, with only a E-bike ridden by one of the spectators faster than him(and his team car).

Keirsbulck killing it at the front.
Just for the knowledge of new Tour fans, the Tour organisers invite 18 UCI World Tour teams. They are: AG2R La Mondiale (Fra) Astana Pro Team (Kaz) Bahrain - Merida (Brn) BMC Racing Team (USA) Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger) Cannondale Drapac Professional Cycling Team (USA) FDJ (Fra) Lotto Soudal (Bel) Movistar Team (Spa) Orica - Scott (Aus) Quick-Step Floors (Bel) Team Dimension Data (RSA) Team Katusha - Alpecin (Sui) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo (Nld) Team Sky (GBR) Team Sunweb (Ger) Trek – Segafredo (USA) UAE Abu Dhabi (UAE)
In addition to these eighteen teams, the organisers also award wildcards to Continental Tour teams. This year those teams are: Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra) Direct Energie (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept (Fra) Wanty – Groupe Gobert (Bel) In general, for the Flat stages, the wildcard teams send out their riders into a breakaway to show that they are worth their wildcard status and get some airtime for the sponsors. So if you notice, all the breakaways in the past 4 stages have involved atleast 1 Wildcard team. Back to the race, after the gap getting to almost 13 minutes, the Peloton decided to put its foot down with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Julien Vermote (Quick Step) taking charge and cutting down 6 minutes in the next 34 kilometers. The commentators discussed how French youth rather than discussing TV shows, discuss and take Politics rather seriously. No wonder France smartly voted for a good person like Emmanuel Macron and not for a scarecrow with a wig like the American youth who were busy discussing “The Apprentice” *wink wink*. With the peloton being led one rider after the other, Keirsbulck’s lead was being cut down, fast but as there was a lot of gap to cover Keirsbulck took the intermediate sprint on account of being the 1st there and collected 20 points. . Among the Green jersey contenders, there was good sprint with Sagan following Arnaud Démare’s (FDJ (cycling team)) wheel and Marcel Kittel right behind. Demare took the sprint among the big boys getting 17 points and Sagan taking 15. Keirsbulck also took 1 KOM point as he crested the Category 4, Col des Trois-Fontaines in first position. As the day drew to a close, Keirsbulck who had led for 191 kms riding at well over 40 kmph, was finally caught by the Peloton. The man had done his job and now it was time to see some serious racing. with 16.5k to go.
With 3k to go, the 1st tricky technical squeeze appeared. Bouhanni knowing that tried to push to the front, while all the GC teams moved back to avoid crashes. But as fate would have it, there was HUGE crash! A crash that included Yellow Jersey Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) which was hardly any concern. But Marcel Kittel went down too which took him out of the final sprint. What happened at the finish line is something I’ve not seen before. Now I am a Peter Sagan fan, and I would defend him brutally. But as the final sprint started with Demare, Griepel, Cavendish, Sagan, Bouhanni and Kristoff. Demare accelerated with Sagan following him and Cavendish trying take him on the right. Sagan tried to find space and unintentionally elbowed Cavendish which caused him to crash and caused a chain reaction taking down John Degenkolb(Trek-Segafredo) too. Cavendish stayed down behind writhing in pain as Sagan sprinted ahead. #allisfairinloveandcycling Sagan sprinted but Arnaud Demare, the French national champion took the Stage win!

The French champ beating the World Champ
PS: Sagan went to Cavendish’s camp to apologise and check on Cav’s health. Cav might have a broken shoulder, as of publishing the post. Stage Results: (Updated below)
Overall Standings:
Green Jersey points (New leader: Arnaud Demare)
So the jersey wearers after Stage 4 are: Yellow: Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) Green: Arnaud Demare (FDJ) Polka Dot: Nathan Brown(Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team, he became the 1st American to retain the Polka Dot Jersey) White Jersey: Pierre-Roger Latour(Equipe cycliste AG2R LA MONDIALE) Dossard Rouge: Guillaume Van Keirsbulck #TDF2017 EDIT: Sagan was penalised 30 seconds for his elbow to Cavendish and demoted to 115th . He also loses points he earned at the finish. NEW RESULTS: Stage Result: 30 seconds penalty for Sagan.
New overall standings:
Green Jersey Points classification: No Sagan. -80 points. He is now at 15.



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