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July 5, 2012
Stage 4 from Abbeville to Rouen brought one of the longest Tour stages along the west coast of France traversing along the rugged and beautiful cliffed shorelines of the Côte d’Albâtre. It’s a place in the world I’d probaly never visit but that’s the wonderful thing about chasing the Tour de France; It gives you a reason to go to places you’d never otherwise get to see. The weather was warm with temperatures in the mid to high 20C’s and there was hardley a breeze.
We’re only up to stage four and I’m already looking forward to the first rest day. Chasing a bike race around France is certainly fun, but not as glamorous as you might think. Good WiFi is hard to come by and it’s not all fine dining like the riders get to enjoy. In fact, after seeing the tremendous amount of work that everyone puts into organising, reporting, and running this event, I sometimes think that the riders have the easiest job in this travelling circus. I don’t think anyone would have it any other way though.
The anticipated coastal crosswinds were nowhere to be felt today and dozens of wind farms along the course stood still. Once the break of the day reached a maximum of 8’40” Lotto-Belisol moved up to the front of the peloton to set up the sprint for Griepel. Although the satge was 214km long most of the action came in the final three kilometers when the jostling for position started and the lead-out trains began to form. Near the pointy end of the peloton Robbie Hunter touched wheels and hit the pavement which also brought down Mark Cavendish and many others. Up ahead, Lotto-Belisol finished off what they started and Greg Henderson dropped Griepel off perfectly to win the sprint. This is Griepel’s second ever Tour de France win today which upset Cavendish’s quest to draw level with Lance Armstrong and Andre Darrigade by adding to his 21 Tour stage victories.
Congratulations to Yukiya Arashiro who is the first Japanese rider ever to reach the podum at the Tour de France. He received the Most Combative rider after his impressive ride today.
Stage 5 from Rouen to Saint-Quentin brings the Tour back inland to the west right underneath Paris. It's as flat as a pancake with not one categorised climb. At kilometer 109, there is an intermediate sprint where Mark Cavendish and Matt Goss have shown the most interest in winning these points. Greipel hasn't contensted any intermediate sprints yet but he'll most definitely be motivated for another win. he's my tip for tomorrow since Cav will be recovering from his crash today
Q. Vladimir Karpets won the Tour white jersey back in 2004. What is the Movistar rider now best known for?
Q. Former East German powerhouse sprinter won the Tour stage into Rouen in 1990. Who was he?
Hint – page 216 Official RIDE Tour de France Guide.
Q. There are three riders in today’s Tour who each finished Runner Up in the Tour twice. Name them?
Hint – page 282 of the Official RIDE Tour de France Guide.