Race favorite Primoz Roglic edged Tuesday’s first summit end of the Tour de France to win the fourth stage, however did not drop any of his key rivals within the course of, together with general chief Julian Alaphilippe. On an ideal day for racing, Roglic climbed to 3rd general behind Alaphilippe and Adam Yates as he edged residence his Slovenian compatriot Tadej Pogacar on the rolling 160.5km run to the end line located 1,850m above sea degree.
The Alpine stage had been billed because the second the true type of the varied contenders can be revealed and it was right here in 1971 that nice Spanish climber Luis Ocana beat Eddy Merckx by 9 minutes.
Nothing of that nature emerged on Tuesday, because the determined jostling and posturing over the ultimate kilometre of the 7.1km climb ascent to Orcieres-Merlette — at a 6.7 p.c common incline — culminated with 16 riders ending on the identical time, with the highest three taking small time bonuses of 10, six and 4 seconds.
The important thing weapon Roglic has in his armoury is his fabulous power which provides him an irresistible late kick, and whereas he used this to win, defending champion Egan Bernal and fancied Frenchman Thibaut Pinot additionally held on.
“It was fairly a tough day really and it was a pleasant win,” mentioned former ski jumper Roglic, who has stored a low profile since a horrible crash noticed him pull out of final month’s Criterium Dauphine earlier than the ultimate stage regardless of main the race.
“I really feel a little bit higher on daily basis, not fairly the identical as I used to be however I noticed on stage two that I may nonetheless trip a motorbike,” added Roglic, who needed to chase Alaphilippe after the house favorite’s stage-winning efficiency on Sunday.
“Deceuninck (Alaphilippe’s staff) set a excessive tempo, so I knew we have been simply racing for the win at this time and never the general lead.
“We all know what sort of champion Julian is, we noticed final 12 months he nearly completed prime.
“Thibaut (Pinot) can be a menace.”
Jumbo very arduous to maintain up with
Colombian Bernal was as soon as once more on his personal within the closing part of the climb however stored his powder dry till rising from his saddle as soon as Roglic put the hammer down simply 400m from the end line, hanging comfortably with the choose group of round 20 who stored up.
Alaphilippe mentioned it had been a testing day.
“If we realized one factor, we realized that Jumbo are very troublesome to maintain up with,” mentioned the Deceuninck chief who will don the general chief’s yellow jersey for a 3rd straight day on Wednesday.
“It was a quick day with a double goal for me of conserving the yellow jersey and profitable the stage. I am actually completely satisfied about conserving the yellow.”
Alaphilippe led the Tour for 14 days final 12 months earlier than wilting to fifth in a brutal finale within the Alps.
“Jumbo have been sturdy for some time now,” he added.
“They’re clearly right here to win the Tour, however belief me, they’ve quite a lot of work nonetheless to do.”
One other spectacular fall
After Miguel Angel Lopez’s spectacular face-first crash right into a signpost on stage one, it was the flip of Sunweb’s Tiesj Benoot to have an in depth shave.
The 26-year-old Belgian was a part of the escape group flying downhill when he hit a roadside barrier and skidded alongside it till his saddle snapped off and he flew head-over-heels right into a area, escaping with no scratch. Lopez mentioned Tuesday he nonetheless had a sore jaw and hip.
Wednesday’s fifth stage runs by way of the Rhone valley from Hole to Privas within the wild, semi-deserted Ardeche area recognized for its chestnuts and boars.
The stage is predicted to climax with a mass bunch dash except there’s a crosswind.
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