Tour de France: Fernando Gaviria takes chaotic stage four

BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet retained the yellow jersey by finishing in the front group

Quick-Step Floors rider Fernando Gaviria of Colombia (right) wins the fourth stage of the Tour de France, ahead of BORA-Hansgrohe rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia and Lotto Soudal rider Andre Greipel of Germany. Photo: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Fernando Gaviria took his second stage win in the 2018 Tour de France, winning stage four from La Baule to Sarzeau on the Golfe de Morbihan in Brittany, outsprinting Peter Sagan and André Greipel at the climax of a dead-straight four-kilometre approach to the line.

But a mass pile-up 5km from the finish split the bunch and left Rigoberto Urán, second overall in the Tour last year, frantically chasing with his teammates, although Gaviria’s compatriot did eventually rejoin the main field.

The day’s breakaway of four riders – the Frenchmen Jérôme Cousin and Anthony Perez, and Dimitri Claeys and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, both Belgians – mirrored the nationalities in the first World Cup semi-final. But as the quartet closed on the finish line in Sarzeau, home town of the UCI president David Lappartient, their chances of bringing a stage win home looked doomed.

That was until, 50km from the finish, a crash in the pursuing peloton stalled their effort and allowed the quartet to move further ahead once more. But once the Quickstep team of Gaviria, first yellow jersey of the 2018 Tour after his stage one win, moved to the front of the field and picked up the pace, their chances of staying away were over.


Ireland’s Dan Martin steered clear of trouble yet again, avoiding that big crash which endangered the hopes of other general classification riders.

He moves up six places to 33rd overall, but stays one minute 38 seconds behind race leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team).

Wednesday's and Thursday's stages are sufficiently lumpy to hand Martin an opportunity, and he will look forward to getting onto terrain which suits him better than the mainly-flat stages thus far.

Meanwhile the sledging continued between the Team Sky principal, Dave Brailsford, and Lappartient – who is the Sarzeau town mayor. Asked to respond to Brailsford’s comments, in the aftermath of the Chris Froome salbutamol case, that Lappartient had the mentality of a small-town French mayor,” the Frenchman initially said that he “didn’t really want to reply” but then warmed to the task.

“The last person who called me a ‘Breton mayor’ didn’t have much luck. It was Brian Cookson,” he said referring to the former UCI president he ousted last autumn. “By insulting me as mayor, he [Brailsford]insults the 35,000 French mayors and the French in general.

"Doesn't he realise that it takes mayors taking stages of the Tour de France for such great events to take place?" Lappartient said. "He doesn't understand much about cycling. When you are arrogant, sooner or later, there will be always something that brings you back down to earth."

Stage 4 (La Baule to Sarzeau ,192km)

1 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors 4hrs 25mins 01secs, 2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, 3 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal, 4 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, 5 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, 6 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, 7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates, 8 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo, 9 Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, 10 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, 11 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, 12 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie, 13 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie, 14 Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic, 15 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, 16 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team, 17 Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, 18 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, 19 Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic, 20 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky all at same time

Selected Others: 21 Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Dimension Data, 30 Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Team Sky, 32 Adam Yates (Gbr) Mitchelton-Scott, 41 Chris Froome (Gbr) Team Sky, 74 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates, 97 Luke Rowe (Gbr) Team Sky all at same time

General classification after stage 4

1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 13hrs 33mins 56secs, 2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team at same time, 3 Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Team Sky at 3s, 4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 5s, 5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 7s, 6 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at same time, 7 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb at 11s, 8 S0ren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb, 9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb both at same time, 10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 35s, 11 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 50s, 12 Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at same time, 13 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team at 51s, 14 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team at same time, 15 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team at 53s, 16 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team at same time, 17 Chris Froome (Gbr) Team Sky at 55s, 18 Adam Yates (Gbr) Mitchelton-Scott at 1m 00s, 19 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1m 06s, 20 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale at 1m 15s

Selected Others: 33 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 1m 38s, 43 Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Dimension Data at 1m 52s, 142 Luke Rowe (Gbr) Team Sky at 9m 22s