Simon Gerrans, winner of yesterday's Stage 3 of the 100th Tour de France, is now in the maillot jaune as race leader after his Orica-GreenEdge team won the Stage 4 time trial in Nice. It was a tight batle, the Australian WorldTour outfit's time of 25 minutes 56 seconds just three quarters of a second faster than the benchmark set early on by Omega Pharma-Quick Step. Team Sky were third, just 3 seconds off Orica-GreenEdge's time.
Following last night's transfer from Corsica, 71 riders started this afternoon's 25km stage on the Cote d'Azur's biggest city within a solitary second of overnight leader Jan Bakelants of RadioShack-Leopard, meaning plenty of teams began the day with hopes of getting a rider into the maillot jaune.
One of those was Garmin-Sharp, whose David Millar had left Corsica second on GC and had high hopes of taking the maillot jaune that he had previously worn 13 years ago in the 2000 Tour de France after winning the Prologue, but the US-based team, which had targeted the stage, was a disappointing 17 seconds off the pace.
Sky's performance sees Chris Froome gain 6 seconds on overall rival Alberto Contador, but the BMC pair of Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen will have a bit more time to make up - they were 26 seconds down on the winner, and 23 seconds off Sky's time.
For Gerrans, a resident of Monaco who jets to races around the world from Nice airport, passed twice on today's stage, this stretch of coast is a happy hunting ground; a little over 15 months ago, beyond the principality where he lives and a few kilometres across the Italian border, he won Milan-San Remo.
Tomorrow's Stage 5 starts a little west of Nice at Cagnes-sur-Mer - home to the bike shop run by the 'Motoman' of US Postal doping scandal fame - and heads off in the same direction towards Marseille.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.