Orcières-Merlette, – Primož Roglič showed that he is definitely back in top shape after his participation to the Tour de France was in doubt due to the consequences of his crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
The Slovenian champion took his third Tour de France stage win in Orcières-Merlette after he imposed himself at Serre-Chevalier in 2017 and Laruns in 2018.
It’s a Slovenian double like at La Vuelta last year with Tadej Pogačar in second place. Frenchman Guillaume Martin rounded out the podium while his compatriot Julian Alaphilippe, fifth on the line, retained the yellow jersey.
SIX RIDERS IN THE LEAD
172 riders took the start of stage 4 in Sisteron. Six riders attacked from the gun: Nils Politt and Krists Neilands (Israel Start-Up Nation), Mathieu Burgaudeau (Total Direct Energie), Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale), Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb) and Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept).
There was no reaction from the peloton. Vuillermoz, the highest ranked of the breakaway riders 3’53’’ down on Alaphilippe, became the virtual Maillot Jaune at km 18 when the maximum time difference of four minutes was recorded. Deceuninck-Quick Step sent Rémi Cavagna and Tim Declercq to set the pace at the head of the peloton.
They never allowed the escapees to dream of a stage victory.
NEILANDS AWAY UNTIL THE FINAL CLIMB
Benoot crashed in a spectacular way but with no consequences except for his bicycle in a downhill with 24km to go. Politt sat up and Burgaudeau got dropped, so Vuillermoz, Neilands and Pacher approached the last 20km in the lead with an advantage of 1’30’’ over the peloton. Neilands went solo in the côte de St-Léger-les-Mélèzes with 19.5km to go.
The Latvian had 35’’ lead with 10km left in the race. He got reeled in with 7.5km to go at the bottom of the final ascent to Orcières-Merlette. Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) was first to attack with 4.5km to go. The Frenchman rode solo for 600 metres before getting caught.
VAN AERT PHENOMENAL!
Jumbo-Visma set a high pace up the hill, mostly with Wout van Aert putting the hammer down. The Belgian rouleur was phenomenal in preparing the terrain for Sepp Kuss to finish the job for Roglic.
Pogacar crossed the line in second place while Martin who had tried to anticipate the sprint closed in third place. Fifth on the line, Alaphilippe remains in the lead of the overall ranking after stage 4.
Source — Le Tour
Pic credit and copy right — ©A.S.O./Presse Sports / Bernard Papon