Tour De France Stage 4 Abbeville - Rouen

05/07/2012   |   Posted by jeremy

Yesterday’s stage was long, really long, there is no other way to say it, long, there I said it again. 214.5km in fact, from Abbeville, which I visited a few years ago to stay at a horrible, run down campsite, to Rouen, home of the cycling legend that was Jacques Anquetil, the first man to win the Tour 5 times.

There were 4 category 4 climbs on the stage, so nothing that steep and things were as on previous days fairly orderly. No real surprises for the majority of the stage and the real action started as the teams started to think about getting themselves organised for the final few kilometres.

With 42 km to go there was a crash that involved half a dozen riders including Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas. He was quickly back on the bike and chasing after the peloton. It amazed me that he didn’t crash into the other team cars the way that he was swerving around between them trying to get a bit of a slipstream, but he knew what he was capable of. I guess he is used to high speed direction changes as he is a bit of a downhill specialist.

Now I don’t want to be like the voice of doom but, you guessed it there was another big crash. It’s not my fault that some of these stages are so uneventful that the only thing to write about is the crashes, but sometimes that is the main news on a long flattish stage. I could go into great detail about the riders diets, who they share their rooms with and who they do and don’t like in the peloton but quite honestly does it matter.

Back on the surface of the road sat Mark Cavendish, he wasn’t hurt thankfully but his helmet was pretty smashed, He was in good company as Bernie Eisel also hit the deck. Somehow  the young pretender Peter Sagan managed to skip around the fallen to continue which shows to me he is a bit of a natural bike handler. Well that or he is just lucky.

They were both in no rush to get to the finish line as the crash happened inside the 3 km to go point, so as long as they cross the line they would get the same time as the bunch.

The end was a mass sprint with Andre Greipel taking the stage victory from Alessandro Petacchi with Tom Veelers finishing in third.

I have to warn you now that today’s stage is flatter than today’s, so let’s hope there is some kind of action to write about.  On a separate note and I know I said about not going on about riders in too much detail but I have to say hat’s off to Big George Hincapie. He is currently riding his 17thTour de France. What an achievement, he must have seen just about all there is to see on a tour, so I salute you for your services to The Tour and to cycling in general.

That’s it, all done and hopefully not too painful for everyone reading.  Until tomorrow it’s farewell from me.

Oh, sorry by the way I forgot the overall classifications but again nothing really changed so I will update you tomorrow, t.t.f.n.