Today’s itinerary starts in a town hosting a stage for the first ever time and finishes in one that did not do so until 1949 but has regularly featured ever since, with the Tour now visiting Rouen, the capital of Normandy, roughly one year in three, and this year welcoming the race for the 20th time. The last of a quartet of Category 4 climbs comes with a little over 70km still to race.
While a bunch sprint looks on the cards, less predictable is how many riders might be around to contest it; with the race hugging the coast for more than 100 kilometres, any kind of wind could cause havoc - thankfully that doesn't seem to be on the cards according to the weather forecast. Rain though is and the prospect of that plus once again tackling narrrow twisty lanes over rolling terrain is likely to give rise to nerves within the peloton which will have been shaken up by the number and seriousness of the crashes suffered on stage 3's over similar roads.
Geraint Thomas says: It’s quite far to go along the coast so I don’t know if people will attack, it may be a case of a few crashes down there that could cause splits and stress, the usual first week of the Tour stuff. But I think it will still be a bunch sprint, there’s a bit of a bump at the end but they should all be able to get over that going by the profile, it’s not a categorised climb. So it’s whoever gets over that in the best shape and the best position. I’ll go with Cav today.
For more on this year's race check out our 2012 Tour de France Preview
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.