2012 Tour De France Stage 4: Andre Greipel Secures Sprint Win, Cavendish Crashes

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2012 Tour De France Stage 4: Andre Greipel Secures Sprint Win, Cavendish Crashes
Morne de Klerk/Getty Images
Andre Greipel enjoys the spoils of victory!

Stage 4 of the 2012 Tour de France saw the riders take on one of the Tour’s longest stages, the 214 km jaunt from Abbeville to Rouen.

The stage traverses coastal roads alongside the English Channel before turning inland to the finish at Rouen after a very scenic ride along the Seine.

Fortunately, the wind that can make this route extremely difficult was absent, meaning that only a brief rain shower tried to spoil the day for the riders. It may have played a small part in a minor accident that saw Liquigas rider Vincenzo Nibali left behind the pack for a short while.

The course took in four category four climbs as will as a small but potentially significant hill inside the last 10 km. However, the last four kilometres are almost completely flat—a dream finish for the pure sprinters.

It will come as no surprise to regular Tour viewers that there was an almost immediate attack by three riders—Europcar’s Yukiya Arashiro, Cofidis rider David Moncoutie and Anthony Delaplace of Saur Sojasun—who were today’s hares for the greyhound pack to chase.

It will also come as no surprise that the breakaway was caught easily, just under 10 km from the finish.

The only interest on the stage—before the final sprint, of course, was the race for minor placings in the intermediate sprint in which Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) again asserted his dominance over Mark Renshaw (Rabobank), Matt Goss (Orica Green Edge) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas).

Cavendish takes a tumble.

BMC’s Philippe Gilbert tried to establish a late break, but to no avail—this stage was always going to come down to a bunch sprint.

Just as everything looked like it was going to come down to last few hundred metres, a crash claimed a large group of riders, including world champion Mark Cavendish. Yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan) and Tour favourite Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) were also caught in the tangle.

As the crash was within the last three kilometres, all of those affected will receive the same time as the leaders. While everyone finished the stage, the pain of the fall might affect how those who fell will perform over the next few days. For now, at least, the placings remain unchanged.

None of this mattered to Lotto-Belisol, as they delivered Andre Greipel into a perfect position to take the final sprint ahead of a brave Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD). Once again, Peter Sagan faltered in the face of the explosive power of the true sprinters, but a fifth place finish ensures that he will keep the green jersey for at least another day.

Standings after Stage 4.

1.

CANCELLARA Fabian

RADIOSHACK-NISSAN

20h 04' 02''

 

2.

WIGGINS Bradley

SKY PROCYCLING

20h 04' 09''

+ 00' 07''

3.

CHAVANEL Sylvain

OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP

20h 04' 09''

+ 00' 07''

4.

VAN GARDEREN Tejay

BMC RACING TEAM

20h 04' 12''

+ 00' 10''

5.

BOASSON HAGEN Edvald

SKY PROCYCLING

20h 04' 13''

+ 00' 11''

6.

MENCHOV Denis

KATUSHA TEAM

20h 04' 15''

+ 00' 13''

7.

EVANS Cadel

BMC RACING TEAM

20h 04' 19''

+ 00' 17''

8.

NIBALI Vincenzo

LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE

20h 04' 20''

+ 00' 18''

9.

HESJEDAL Ryder

GARMIN-SHARP-BARRACUDA

20h 04' 20''

+ 00' 18''

10.

KLÖDEN Andréas

RADIOSHACK-NISSAN

20h 04' 21''

+ 00' 19''

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