Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Preview: What you need to know about stage 4 of the 2022 Tour de France

Date: Tuesday July 5
Start: Dunkirk
Finish: Calais
Distance: 172km

Finally, La Belle France! Well, Dunkirk and Calais aren’t exactly the first destinations on any tourist’s wish list, but they’ll do for now. On stage 4 we go port-to-port via an inland route.

A litter of category four climbs lie between the start and finish, and although they’re all only around a kilometer in length they’re punchy enough to provide a launchpad to attackers.

The Côte du Cap Blanc-Nez, or White-Nose Cape, is supposedly a French equivalent to the British white cliffs of Dover on the other side of the Channel, and acts as the final categorized climb of the day. At 900 m long it’s the shortest of the day and at an average gradient of 7.5%, it’s the second steepest. With a little over 10 km to go, it perhaps offers the best chance to any prestigious interlopers.

Who will win stage 4?

Mathieu van der Poel could make another bid for freedom. Only four days into the race, he will take someone with the zeal of the Dutchman to hold off the sprint teams and a warp-speed peloton, from which Wout van Aert will be desperate to turn his trio of second places into a stage win.

Caleb Ewan will be riding with defiance in his legs after two heavy doses of bad luck, and is one of the better climbers among the pure sprinters if the finale is made particularly punchy. Otherwise, look to Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen to double up. Peter Sagan, maybe?

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