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Tour de France: Gaviria doubles up, van Avermaet keeps yellow

More crashes on today's flat stage - Ilnur Zakarin loses a minute...

Fernando Gaviria of Quick Step Floors has won his second stage of his debut Tour de France, crossing the line first ahead of Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel of Lotto-Soudal to win a hard-fought sprint at the end of today’s Stage 4 in Sarzeau. BMC Racing’s Greg van Avermaet retains the race leader’s yellow jersey.

A crash with just 5 kilometres remaining of the 195 kilometre stage from La Baule split the peloton, with last year’s runner-up, Rigoberto Uran of EF Education First-Drapac, having to battle back to rejoin the bunch ahead of the final 3 kilometres to avoid losing time.

Less fortunate was the Katusha-Alpecin overall hope, Ilnur Zakarin, who rolled over the line almost a minute behind the front group.

The crash briefly gave hope to the day’s four-man breakaway that they might be able to stay out and contest the win, but the sprinters were not to be denied and the quartet was swept up with just 1 kilometre left.

The break comprised two riders each from France and Belgium – a portent perhaps of a 2-2 result and penalties in tonight’s FIFA World Cup semi-final? 

The escapees was made up of, for the home nation, Cousin of Direct Energie and Cofiidis rider Anthony Perez, and representing Belgium his team mate Dimitri Claeys and Wanty’s Guillaiume Van Keirsbuick.

Even without that late crash, today’s stage had seen some drama, as flat, opening week stages of the Tour de France that seem likely to follow a set script so often do, with a couple of crashes just after the 50 kilometres to go mark.

There was also an incident in which  Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan, in the green jersey, caught on camera mid-altercation with another rider, something the commissaires will no doubt take a look at.

More to follow

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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