2012 Tour de France-Stage 4

4 Jul

Stage 4 began with 195 of 198 riders, 3 riders unable to start due to injuries sustained in the carnage of Stage 3. It was announced this morning that Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank) had suffered a fractured left hip yesterday and wouldn’t start Stage 4. Keep in mind that he finished the stage!

There are no tougher athletes than professional cyclists.

Tony Martin (Quickstep) is nursing a broken bone in his hand, Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) has a broken wrist, Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) has a separated shoulder and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) aggravated a knee injury and lost 7+ minutes yesterday. He had an incredible Tour last year (finished 4th) so wouldn’t be allowed to get in a break, but since he’s 7+ minutes back he’ll be free to get away and I for one expect to see him in one when we get into the mountains.

A 3 man breakaway got away just like yesterday. The peloton allowed them to get a 7 minute lead but no more. Radio Shack-Nissan drove the peloton at a relatively easy pace. Jens Voight blogged that the Tour this year had been unusually slow, and no one is challenging the breaks so the first one usually goes – this is very unusual.

Mark Cavendish (Sky) took the interim sprint and 13 points. Peter Sagan (Liquigas) took 4th, he needs to work on his positioning, but the power is there to challenge most sprinters. He’s only 22 so he’s still learning – must be a frightening thought for the other riders being as he’s won 2 of the 3 stages so far.

Although there weren’t crosswinds as there often are along the coast, there was rain. No problem with narrow roads thankfully.

Just like yesterday however, there was a crash within 3 kilometers of the finish (so they received the same time as peloton). It appeared to be caused by a touch of wheels as the sprinters and lead-out’s were lining up.

Mark-Cavendish stage 4 reutersIn the melee, Cavendish went down hard, Superman Sagan managed to stay upright and finished 5th on the stage.

Stage 4With Cavendish not a factor, Andre Greipel (Lotto), Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge), Allesandro Petacchi (Lampre) contested for the win, with Greipel finishing first and Pettachi finishing 2nd. Cavendish’s helmet was cracked, jersey torn but like all good racers he soldered on (this time on his own with no teammates) and finished. He was obviously angry and I’m sure will have plenty to say about it.

Sagan has a sizeable lead on the Green jersey, Fabian Cancellara also avoided going down in the crash and maintained the overall lead and the Yellow jersey and Michael Morkov (Saxobank) the Polka-dot jersey.

Stage 5 Preview:

If I was a betting person I would put my money on Mark Cavendish tomorrow. The stage is truly flat and he’s an angry, very fast man. Look for the green jersey hunt to tighten and for Cancellara and Morkov to keep their yellow and polka-dot jerseys, respectively.

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