Tour de France Stage 4 Preview
Tuesday, June 29
Shorter (and faster?)
To make the flat stages more intense, more nervous, ASO decided to make some of them shorter this year. This last of the four stages in Brittany is completely within the department of Ille-et-Vilaine. It’s not totally flat terrain, but it should be very fast. The final 40 kilometers promise nonstop action, opening with a time-bonus sprint at Vitré, followed by a turn to the north where enterprising teams could take advantage of prevailing southwest winds to split the race into echelons; and then come the final 6 kilometers into Fougères to a finish that’s the same as the one in 2015, when Mark Cavendish won. Could Cav, the late call-up to replace an injured Sam Bennett, be the fastest again? If not, look for the other sprinters who were fighting out the finish on stage 3.
After 1km on the streets of Fougères, at the end of a flat 800m straight on the 19.6 feet wide Boulevard des Déportés.
SCHEDULE (all times EDT)
Ceremonial start, Rue Victor-Hugo, Redon: 7:25 a.m.; start, on D67 (after 8.7km neutral to km0), 7:40 a.m.; Janzé (94.4km to go), 8:28 a.m.; Liffré (63.7km to go), 9:27 a.m.; Vitré (sprint, 36km to go), 10:12 a.m.; Fougères (finish, 150.4km), 11:00 a.m.
Analysis by Thierry Gouvenou and John Wilcockson.