Jens Dekker makes an interesting point on Twitter regarding the selection of wildcard teams this year.
2 wildcard teams invited. B&B Hotels tried but failed epically on stage 1, and Total hasn’t tried at all. Imagine Uno X having been invited. They would’ve been in the break every day. I know what I would’ve chosen… #TDF2022July 5, 2022
115km to go
The pace is stately in the bunch, with the gap stretching out to 5’49”.
It’s still a mystery as to why QuickStep decided to stress the bunch and push the pace for a short time, as now the gap to the break stretches out to over 5 minutes once more.
With more crosswinds to come and an intermediate sprint due in just over 10km, there’s every chance things could change quickly.
120km to go
Peace is restored to the peloton. Many riders catch up and shoot the breeze, plenty of smiles and laughter, and a chance to rehydrate. There are still five cat 4 climbs left on the stage, but the next one doesn’t appear for another 25km or so.
The bunch are finally back together, and some choose this as an opportune moment for a comfort break as the tension eases once more.
125km to go
Anthony Perez and Magnus Cort continue to ride as a duo in the day’s break. They have a lead of 4’03” over the bunch.
Still riders all over the road as the second group all try to ride back onto the main peloton.
Race leader Wout van Aert visits the team car and shares some discussion as he exchanges his cans.
The gap drops below 3’30” as the second group try to make it back on. It looks as though crosswinds are slightly bothersome, something to keep an eye on as the day progresses. There is still some distance to ride before the route changes direction and begins to head west.
While the panic at the front of the bunch seems to have abated, the result is a second group on the road who have been distanced from the main peloton.
130km to go
QuickStep-AlphaVinyl have decided enough is enough and put their foot on the gas at the front of the bunch.
It’s caught a number of riders by surprise, and groups of riders who’ve dropped off the pace fight to get back on.
The gap to the leaders is down to 4’00”.
Steven Krijswijk (Team Jumbo_Vimsa) is caught out by the increase in pace in the peloton, and chases back on at the back of the bunch.
135km to go
Team Total Energies and QuickStep AlphaVinyl lead the peloton over the climb in Kassel.
The gap settles once again at around 4’45”.
The gap drops under five minutes as the peloton approaches the climb.
The streets of Kassel are lined with fans as the riders continue through the town, catching their breath as they continue to ride uphill.
Anthony Perez opens up his sprint first but Cort rides past him as they head towards the top of the climb. Both have perhaps underestimated the length of time remaining on the climb but Cort hangs on to grab the single point available, and boost his lead in the KOM classification.
140km to go
The Côte de Cassel climb is underway for the two breakaway riders, Magnus Cort and Anthony Perez. They traverse the cobbles as the crowds cheer them up the ascent.
The peloton have turned the corner, in terms of the time gap. They begin to slowly close it once again, heading back down towards the six minute mark.
Just a couple of kilometers stand between our two breakaway riders and the first climb of the day, the Côte de Cassel, which features a short cobbled sector – a brief hint at what is to come tomorrow on the stage to Arenberg.
145km to go
With his advantage over Cort in the GC standings, Anthony Perez is currently the virtual yellow jersey.
Despite the change in location, there is certainly a sense of deja vu about today’s stage. The lack of representation from the French continental teams in the breakaway is surprising.
Cort in the break. #TDF2022 #CouchPeloton pic.twitter.com/d2miHa2jPWJuly 5, 2022
Gap to the peloton now stands at 6’20”.
150km to go
With the gap now pushing six minutes, Cort and Perez have built up a head of steam and the peloton have mutually agreed to extend the rest day into today’s stage. There’s some good-humored chat as they come up to 20km of racing completed.
It’s not the first time Cofidis’ Anthony Perez has shown interest in the Tour de France King of the Mountains competition. In the early stages of last year’s race, he had a great battle with Bora-Hansgrohe’s Ide Schelling in the hunt for KOM points. He eventually came 10th in the standings. This is his fifth Tour de France.
The gap has increased to over four minutes. How much time will the peloton give them before they stabilize the gap?
The gap moves out to almost 3 minutes.
The first climb of the day, the Côte de Cassel, comes after around 30km, where we may see Cort and Perez battle it out for the points.
A nod, a smile and a thumbs up from Magnus Cort, who looks perfectly happy to be out front once again. He spent a huge proportion of Stage 3 out front alone – over 100km – so he’ll be glad of the company today.
Cort and Perez have already amassed a comfortable gap of 1.50 over the peloton, who seem content with cruise control in this early part of the stage.
Looks as though Owain Doull actually hurt his finger in a minor crash during the fictitious departure. He drops back to the medical car for assistance.
With the peloton already spread across the road it looks as though we may have already established our day’s early break. Cort and Perez are going to become very well acquainted today, if no-one else decides to try and escape up the road.
We’re underway here for Stage 4 and the polka dot jersey, Magnus Cort Nielson (EF Education-Easypost) is already away from the front of the bunch, along with a companion – Anthony Perez from Cofidis.
Race director Christian Prudhomme appears through the sunroof and raises his flag ready to get the action on Stage 4 of the Tour de France underway.
EF Education-EasyPost’s British rider Owain Doull deals with an early mechanical in the neutralized zone.
Just 2km remain until the flag drop – the ‘real start’ where racing can begin.
Current leader in the mountains competition Magnus Cort confirms in his pre-race interview he’d like some company in the breakaway today, but he doesn’t think it’s a day for the breakaway to triumph.
Race director Christian Prudhomme shares a few words with Lotto Soudal’s Phillippe Gilbert from the commissioner’s car. The veteran Belgian rider celebrates his 40th birthday today.
The riders will soak up the vibrant atmosphere along the sea front in Dunkirk as they travel for around 15 minutes before the flag drops and the racing begins in earnest.
The peloton are all smiles on a bright, sunny and breezy day in Northern France.
And we’re off! The riders roll out of Dunkirk for the fictional start. Wout van Aert is resplendent in the yellow jersey. Fabio Jakobsen wears green on his behalf, while Tadej Pogačar retains the white jersey as leader of the youth classification.
Magnus Cort Nielsen wears polka dots as leader of the king of the mountains competition following an incredible number of kilometers in the breakaway on stage 2 and 3 on his home soil in Denmark.
Prior to the stage start, the riders and crowds in Dunkirk take part in one’s minute’s applause for the victims of the mall shooting in Copenhagen on Sunday.
The route is hilly with six category four climbs scattered along the route, and one intermediate sprint.
The climbs are short and punchy, with the final ascent coming just over 10km from the finish line. It’s likely to be another day for the sprinters, the last opportunity for the fast men for a while, however with the more difficult terrain to contend with there is an outside chance of a breakaway win.
Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) currently wears the yellow jersey. He came second in all three of the opening three stages of the race in Denmark, and today could be a good stage for him to take his first stage win of the year.
Welcome to Cycling News live text for Stage 4 of the Tour de France.
The riders arrived on French soil yesterday and they will race for the first time there today, beginning the day in Dunkirk and heading 171.5km to Calais.