Tour de France: Gaviria doubles up, van Avermaet keeps yellow

Annette Crawford
July 13, 2018

Gaviria looked as though he had gone too soon as Greipel charged down the middle but the Colombian came back strong with a second jump to win the stage, just holding off a late charge from Sagan.

For Nairo Quintana (Movistar), though, the disappointment continued with a relatively poor time that leaves the Colombian over two minutes down on Geraint Thomas (Sky) who is now the best placed GC rider. With just a solo fourth category climb to contend with 60km from the finish, the route looked nearly certain to deliver another bunch sprint - especially with the 195km stage climaxing in Sarzeau with a 4km straight into a headwind that dragged slightly up to the line.

BMC Racing kept the Franco-Belgian breakaway under control, however, and with the pace down there was little to report through much of the stage.

They were joined by Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie), in the break for the second time, and Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and all four were allowed to build a big lead.

"It won't be easy with the wind and there are many teams chasing the honour of wearing the jersey", Van Avermaet, who races with Monday's time trial winners BMC, told AFP just ahead of the Tuesday's departure.

Van Avermaet, who excels at single-day classics, isn't a threat for the overall title but he could keep the lead through the cobblestoned Stage 9 ending in Roubaix. Gaviria's first-day win was deeply impressive and it's not hard to imagine him taking the beating once again if he can stay upright. Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) was next over the line, consolidating his grip on the green jersey.

Fellow Britons Froome and Thomas didn't fare any better but will have ended Stage 4 close to content with their results, nestled among a pack in which Van Avermaet was also happy to reside.

The size of that gap clearly anxious the peloton, with QuickStep Floors among those redoubling their efforts on the front of the bunch, but the advantage was still above a minute with 10km to race. Then with 5km to go a big crash midway down the peloton threw another spanner in the works.

At around four kilometres to go, as the peloton was at full speed to catch the escapees, there was a crash in the pack that cut the group in two and left behind riders like Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First), Gesink, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin).

By the finish line he had dropped a minute to the rest of the GC contenders.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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