Tour De France 2018: Fernando Gaviria Wins Stage 4, Earns 2nd Victory at Event

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 10, 2018

Colombia's Fernando Gaviria celebrates on the podium after winning the fourth stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between La Baule and Sarzeau, western France, on July 10, 2018. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Fernando Gaviria won Stage 4 of the 2018 Tour de France on Tuesday to clinch his second stage victory of this year's competition, although BMC Racing's Greg van Avermaet retained the yellow jersey.

Green jersey-wearer Peter Sagan timed a late sprint well to take second behind, while Lotto Soudal rider Andre Greipel fell away late to finish the 195-kilometre trip from La Baule to Sarzeau in third. 

A sprint between that trio required a photo finish to ascertain whether Gaviria had succeeded in doubling his tally of Tour stage wins, per Cycling Central: 

CyclingCentral @CyclingCentral

The Stage 4 photo. Quick-Step Floor's Fernando Gaviria takes the win. #sbstdf https://t.co/NIpbb52AUQ

Gaviria sent a statement to the rest of the field, although it wasn't sufficient to knock Van Avermaet from the summit of the classification, per ITV Cycling:

ITV Cycling @itvcycling

Here's how that dramatic finish effects the GC Watch LIVE on @ITV4 #TDF2018 https://t.co/PAXpGUewqY

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas finished 30th on Tuesday but did enough to keep pace overall and stay third in the race for the yellow jersey—three seconds behind Belgian Van Avermaet.

The Welshman fared better than Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome, who ended up 41st among the pack in Stage 4 to keep the four-time champions 17th overall.

Maximiliano Richeze delivered a perfect ride-along performance for Quick-Step comrade Gaviria, powering him past the Dimension Data team and into the forefront for a challenge on the stage victory.

The Colombian star took care of the rest and edged a frantic last-gasp battle with Sagan for the No. 1 spot, crossing the line first after Greipel had fallen off with an admirable late push of his own, via NBCSN (U.S. only):

NBCSN Cycling @NBCSNCycling

Fernando Gaviria picks up his second #TDF2018 victory in Stage 4! 👏 https://t.co/F4xzNiWpxZ

There was late drama in the peloton when a crash saw half the field forced to stop while clean-up efforts were made to clear the route, while those in the bunch who survived remained 26 seconds off the breakaway.

Fortunately for Gaviria, that danger was behind him and allowed the 23-year-old to finish ahead of the bunch, with a chance now for the rookie to further etch his name in the Tour history books:

letourdata @letourdata

Fernando Gaviria (QST) averaged 57.7km/h in the last 500m to claim his 2nd stage win on #TDF2018 The 🇨🇴 star is the first rookie to win twice on his first #TDF since Majka in 2014. Sagan took 3 in 2012 #TDFdata https://t.co/ZkjU5ogORG

Mark Cavendish was the man flying the flag for Dimension Data early on and looked like his pace might have resulted in contention for the stage, but perhaps the energy cost in Monday's time trial caught up to him.

His race ended in what appeared to be exhaustion, and a mid-race run to retrieve his radio provided an unwelcome distraction (U.S. only):

NBCSN Cycling @NBCSNCycling

Oops... @MarkCavendish has to rescue his race radio from a ditch! #TDF2018 https://t.co/f812lCqYVE

Fellow Britons Froome and Thomas didn't fare any better but will have ended Stage 4 close to content with their results, nestled among a pack in which Van Avermaet was also happy to reside.

Gaviria will continue to turn heads if he can win a third stage in France this summer, with the rookie again proving his mettle on Tuesday as Quick-Step's challenge on the Tour title took a turn for the better.