ORICA-SCOTT safely avoid another crash-marred finale to stage 4 at the Tour de FranceTue 4 Jul 2017
ORICA-SCOTT has safely navigated around another chaotic and crash-marred sprint finale on stage four of the Tour de France.
A solo breakaway rider went early in the stage creating an easy day for the peloton and ensuring plenty of fresh legs and in turn a chaotic bunch sprint to conclude proceedings.
ORICA-SCOTT positioned around their leaders in Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves and safely guided them to the line without mishap on a risky day.
“Usually the easier the stage, the more hectic the finals,” sport director Matt White conceded. “Everyone has a lot more energy, especially in the first week.”
“A couple of things contributed to that. The weather conditions, there’s wasn’t much wind at all today, and they were safe roads all day so there wasn’t a lot of stress in the bunch.
“We have had a pretty stressful first few days and it’s a pretty negative situation for anyone trying to go in the break because there’s so many sprint teams so the breakaway has very little chance of surviving on these dead flat stages.”
Experienced team leader Matt Hayman agreed with White.
“You have to remember that everything happens in a split second and you don’t have time to react," Hayman said. "Sprinting is a dangerous sport and those guys know it."
“We only really raced the last 50km and the whole bunch was really fresh. That contributes to crashes on days like today.”
How it happened:
The long and flat stage four was always primed as a second opportunity for the pure sprinters and when one solo rider went clear for the day it seemed inevitable.
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wante Group) attacked from the flag and when no one followed him, he found himself out in front alone for the next 200 kilometres.
Despite riding out to over 12-minutes advantage Van Keirsbulck was never a threat for the stage win and he was reeled in by the peloton with 15km remaining.
Team fought for position on the fast run in, with an initial crash involving race leader Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and a second in the sprint involving Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) and Peter Sagan (Bore-Hansgrohe).
Arnaud Demare (FDJ) escaped all of the touchdowns to take the stage victory ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha Alpecin) as ORICA-SCOTT’s riders rolled safely across the finish line behind.
Tour de France – Stage 4 Results:
1. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) 4:53:54
2. Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha-Alpecin) ST
3. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) ST
35. Mathew Hayman (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 4:
1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 14:54:25
2. Christopher Froome (Team Sky) +0:12
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) +0:12
18. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) 0:45