Jens Dekker makes an interesting point on Twitter regarding this year’s wildcard team picks.
2 wildcard teams invited. B&B Hotels tried but failed epic on Stage 1 and Total didn’t try at all. Imagine if Uno X had been invited. They would have been on break every day. I know what I would have chosen… #TDF2022July 5, 2022
115 km to go
The pace is handsome in the field, with a gap of 5’49”.
It’s still a mystery as to why QuickStep decided to stress the field and pick up the pace for a short while now that the gap before the break is stretching back to over 5 minutes.
With more crosswinds and an intermediate sprint in just over 10km, there’s every chance things will change quickly.
120 km to go
Peace has been restored in the peloton. Lots of riders catching up and shooting the breeze, lots of smiles and laughter and a chance to rehydrate. There are five Category 4 climbs left on the stage, but the next one is about 25km away.
The group is finally back together, and some choose this as an opportune moment for a comfort break as the tension eases again.
125 km to go
Anthony Perez and Magnus Cort continue to ride as a duo during the day break. They have a 4’03” lead on the field.
(Credit: Getty Images) 2022-07-05T12:30:58.414Z
Still riders all over the road while the second group all try to ride back to the peloton.
Race director Wout van Aert visits the team car and discusses while exchanging his bidons.
The gap drops below 3’30” as the second group tries to make it again. It looks like crosswinds are a bit bothersome, something to keep an eye on as the day progresses. It’s another one route before the route changes direction and begins heading west.
While the panic at the front of the pack appears to have subsided, the result is a second group down the road that has been removed from the peloton.
130 km to go
QuickStep-AlphaVinyl have decided that enough is enough and are stepping on the gas ahead.
It has taken a number of riders by surprise, and groups of riders who lost pace are struggling to get back up.
The gap to the leaders is only 4’00”.
Steven Krijswijk (Team Jumbo_Vimsa) is caught up by the increase in pace in the peloton and chases back at the back of the field.
135 km to go
Team Total Energies and QuickStep AlphaVinyl lead the peloton over the Cassel climb.
The distance levels off again at around 4’45”.
The gap drops to less than five minutes as the peloton approaches the climb.
The streets of Kassel are lined with fans as riders cruise through the city, holding their breath as they continue uphill.
Anthony Perez opens his sprint first, but Cort rides past him as they head towards the top of the climb. Both may have underestimated the time remaining for promotion, but Cort hangs on to take the only point available and extend his KOM lead.
140 km to go
The Côte de Cassel climb is underway for two escapees, Magnus Cort and Anthony Perez. They cross the cobblestones while the crowd cheers them on as they climb.
The peloton has turned the corner in terms of the time gap. You start closing it again slowly, going back towards the six minute mark.
Only a few kilometers lie between our two breakaways and the first climb of the day, the Côte de Cassel, which features a short section of cobblestone – a small indication of what awaits us on tomorrow’s stage to Arenberg.
145 kilometers to go
With his lead over Cort in the GC standings, Anthony Perez is currently the virtual yellow jersey.
Despite the change of location, today’s stage certainly has a feeling of déjà vu. The lack of representation of the French continental teams in the breakaway is surprising.
Kort during the break. #TDF2022 #CouchPeloton pic.twitter.com/d2miHa2jPWJuly 5, 2022
The distance to the peloton is now 6’20”.
150 km to go
With the gap now six minutes, Cort and Perez have built up some steam and the peloton have mutually agreed to extend the rest day into today’s stage. There are some good humored conversations when they come after 20km of racing.
It’s not the first time Cofidis’ Anthony Perez has shown interest in the Tour de France’s ‘King of the Mountains’ competition. In the early stages of last year’s race he put up a great battle with Bora-Hansgrohe’s Ide Schelling in the hunt for KOM points. He eventually came in 10th place overall. This is his fifth Tour de France.
The gap has grown to over four minutes. How much time will the peloton give them before they close the gap?
Riders will travel along the North Sea coast as they exit Dunkirk on Stage 4 (Credit: Getty images) 07/05/2022T11:41:06.754Z
The gap shifts to almost 3 minutes.
The first climb of the day, the Côte de Cassel, comes after around 30km where we can see Cort and Perez fighting for the points.
A nod, a smile and a thumbs-up from Magnus Cort, who seems perfectly happy to be back in front. He spent a good part of Stage 3 alone in front – over 100km – so he’ll be happy to have company today.
Cort and Perez have already established a comfortable 1.50 lead over the peloton, who seem content with the cruise control for this early part of the stage.
It looks like Owain Doull actually injured his finger in a small crash during the Depart fiction. He falls back to the ambulance for help.
With the peloton already spread across the road, it looks like we’ve already set up our early break. Cort and Perez will get to know each other very well today if no one else decides to try and escape up the road.
We’re here for Stage 4 and polka dot jersey Magnus Cort Nielson (EF Education-Easypost) is already off the front of the pack, along with a companion – Anthony Perez of Cofidis.
Race director Christian Prudhomme appears through the sunroof and raises his flag to get the action going on stage four of the Tour de France.
EF Education-EasyPost’s UK driver Owain Doull is dealing with an early mechanic in the neutralized zone.
There are only 2km left until the flag drops – the “départ réel” where the race can begin.
Current hill climb leader Magnus Cort confirms in his pre-race interview that he would like some company in the breakaway today, but doesn’t think it’s a day for the breakaway to triumph.
Race director Christian Prudhomme shares a few words with Lotto Soudal’s Phillippe Gilbert from the commissaire’s car. The experienced Belgian celebrates his 40th birthday today.
Drivers will soak up the vibrant atmosphere along the Dunkirk coast as they drive for around 15 minutes before the flag drops and the race begins in earnest.
The peloton smiles on a bright, sunny and breezy day in northern France.
And we’re gone! The drivers roll out of Dunkirk for the Départ Fictif. Wout van Aert shines in maillot jaune. Fabio Jakobsen wears green for him, while Tadej Pogačar keeps the white jersey as the leader of the youth classification.
Magnus Cort Nielsen wears polka dots as the King of the Mountains leader after covering an incredible number of kilometers in the breakaway on Stages 2 and 3 on his home soil in Denmark.
Before the start of the stage, riders and spectators in Dunkirk on Sunday join in a one-minute applause for the victims of the Copenhagen shopping mall shooting.
The course is hilly with six Category 4 climbs scattered throughout the course and an intermediate sprint.
The climbs are short and punchy, with the final climb being just over 10km from the finish line. It’s probably another day for the sprinters, the last chance for the fast men for a while, but with the more difficult terrain to contend with there’s a chance for a breakaway win.
Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) is currently wearing the yellow jersey. He was second in all three of the first three stages of the race in Denmark and today could be a good stage for him to claim his first stage win of the year.
Welcome to Cycling News live text for Stage 4 of the Tour de France.
The riders arrived on French soil yesterday and will be racing there for the first time today, starting the day in Dunkirk and heading 171.5km to Calais.