This is Thor Hushovd’s fifth victory at the Tour de France. The top 10 in stage four is as follows:
1. Thor Hushovd (NOR) C.A 193km in 4h37’37 (41.687km/h)
2. Robbie Hunter (RSA) BAR
3. Oscar Freire (ESP) RAB
4. Erik Zabel (GER) MRM
5. Danilo Napolitano (ITA) LAM
6. Gert Steegmans (BEL) QSI
7. Robert Forster (GER) GST
8. Tom Boonen (BEL) QSI
9. Sebastien Chavanel (FRA) FDJ
10. Mark Cavendish (GBR) TMO
Thor Hushovd has won his fifth stage of the Tour de France. He got the perfect lead-out and finished it off by beating Robbie Hunter by less than the length of a bike.
Julian Dean took Thor Hushovd right up to the 300m to go mark and then watched as the Norwegian took the win ahead of Hunter in fine style.
With 1km to go Quickstep and T-Mobile riders dominated the head of the peloton. The sprint is winding up...
With 4km to go there are four Quickstep riders near the head of the peloton with Boonen tucked in behind his colleagues.
Liquigas is now in charge of the bunch but Leif Hoste could be seen towing some Predictor-Lotto mates to the fore.
The Barloworld squad is now coming forward. There are less than 4km to go and Hunter and Degano are going to get a bit of help from their colleagues.
All the sprinters teams are represented at the head of the peloton: Predictor-Lotto for McEwen, Lampre-Fondital for Napolitano and Bennati, Gerolsteiner for Forster and Haussler, Credit Agricole for Hushovd, T-Mobile for Cavendish and Eisel...
Take your pick: will one of these guys win the stage or will we get another surprise from Cancellara? The yellow jersey is nestled in at about 20th position with less than 5km to go.
Sprick has been caught by the peloton and Flecha and Knees are only moments away from capture. The sprinters are gonig to have their way today...
With the leading quintet within sight of the peloton, Sprick has launched one last bid for glory he has been followed by Knees and Flecha. Chavanel and Verdugo are back in the peloton.
The escapees have less than 10km to race in the stage. They are 35" ahead of the peloton and continue to cooperate.
Sinkewitz and Merckx have moved to the head of the peloton to assist in the chasing duties. Their T-Mobile team has two specialists sprinters: Bernhard Eisel and Mark Cavendish... neither have won a Tour stage in the past but Merckx’s room-mate during the Tour, Mick Rogers, said this morning that today could be the day they start to have an impacts on the 2007 edition of the Tour.
The rider who instigated today’s escape at the 30km mark, Matthieu Sprick of the Bouygues Telecom squad, has been voted the most aggressive in the stage.
The peloton is pacing it’s chase to perfection. The last check had the bunch 45" behind and the speed has cause a number of riders to drop off the back of the pack.
The leaders are less than 15km from Joigny. They are 50" ahead of the peloton which is strung out by the pace being set by riders from Lampre, Predictor-Lotto and Quickstep teams.
Anthony Geslin (BTL) has crashed. He is back on his bike and riding again.
The peloton is now in Villenueve-sur-Yonne at the 174.5km mark. It is 1’05" behind Sprick, Chavanel, Flecha, Knees and Verdugo.
One of the favorites for today’s stage, should it end in a sprint, is Australia’s Robbie McEwen. There are thousands of fans making the pilgrimage to the Tour these days and the Aussie flag is a common sight on the side of the road. The peloton has, however, just passed a campervan that had both the Australian flag and the Koori flag... a red top, black bottom with a yellow "sun" in the center. These are the colors of the aboriginal community in Australia.
The peloton is being led by Wim Vansevenant of the Predictor-Lotto team. It is 1’05" behind the escapees.
The surge by Sprick has rendered Knees attack void. There are five men in the lead of the stage again.
Sprick is the first rider to try and catch the attacking German at the front of the stage. He has been followed by Chavanel.
The attacking action has started. Knees has taken the initiative at the front of the stage. He has a lead on Sprick, Chavanel, Flecha and Verdugo or about 100 meters.
Sprick, Chavanel, Flecha, Knees and Verdugo are less than 25km from the finish. They have a lead on the peloton of 1’05".
The sprinters’ teams seem confident that they’ll be able to reel in the five escapees. The peloton was 1’20" behind Sprick, Chavanel, Flecha, Knees and Verdugo at the 162km mark.
At the start of the stage, Chavanel (COF) was 23rd overall with a deficit to Cancellara of 56". He was second at each of the intermediate sprints, therefore claiming 12" worth of time bonuses. This should be enough to put him in the top 10 overall at the end of stage four.
Of the five leaders, the breakdown of time spent at the front of the escape in the last 10 minutes is as follows:
Flecha - 27%
Knees - 23%
Verdugo - 20%
Chavanel - 16%
Sprick - 14%
At the site of the third intermediate sprint, the deficit of the peloton was 1’40".
The points for the sprint in Theil-sur-Vanne at the 158.5km mark were won by:
1. Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB) 6pts/6"
2. Sylvain Chavanel (COF) 4pts/4"
3. Gorka Verdugo (EUS) 2pts/2"
Flecha has attacked the lead group on the approach to the intermediate sprint. He has been followed over the line by Chavanel.
Christian Vande Velde and Kurt-Asle Arvesen are currently leading the peloton’s pursuit of the five escapees who are about to contest the final intermediate sprint of the stage.
The five stage leaders have been cooperating well since escaping the peloton at the 30km mark. They are 1’50" ahead of the peloton at the moment and we’re likely to see them start attacking each other soon.
Christian Knees was the last man to join the move; the Milram rider was the most aggressive man on the stage to Dax last year... and he’s mixing it up in a move right now.
At the top of the Cote de Bel-Air, the peloton was 1’50" behind Sprick, Chavanel, Flecha, Knees and Verdugo.
Sylvain Chavanel has acquired seven points in the climbing points today. He is one point shy of his team-mate in the race for the polka-dot jersey. Stephane Auge will wear the same top again in stage five.
Knees has led the escape group over the top of the fourth climb. The points for the cote de Bel-Air were won by:
1. Christian Knees (MRM) 3pts
2. Matthieu Sprick (BTL) 2pts
3. Sylvain Chavanel (COF) 1pts
Verdugo has returned to the escape group which is about to contest the sprint for the fourth climb of the stage.
Verdugo has dropped out of the lead group. There are now just four men at the front of the stage.
Sprick, Chavanel, Flecha, Knees and Verdugo are about to contest the sprint for the fourth cat-four climb of the fourth stage.
Staf Scheirlinckx has crashed in the peloton. He is standing again and having his bike serviced by his Cofidis mechanic. Matteo Tossato was also caught up in the accident.
At the the top of the 3rd climb the peloton is being led by a rider from the Predictor-Lotto team. It is 1’40" behind Sprick, Chavanel, Flecha, Knees and Verdugo.
The points for the cote de Galbaux (at the 144km mark) were won by:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (COF) 3pts
2. Christian Knees (MRM) 2pts
3. Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB) 1pt
The escapees have been cooperating well but with their advantage dropping quickly we can expect to see some attacking action soon. Could it happen on the cote de Galbaux...? There are less than 50km to go in the stage and Chavanel and Flecha appear to be the strongest of the quintet.
The leaders are near the site of the third climb of the stage. They are 1’50" ahead of the peloton.
Sprick, Chavanel, Flecha, Knees and Verdugo are now just 2’00" ahead of the peloton. The escapees are less than 55km from the finish of the stage but unless they get a move on their chance of success in Joigny is fading fast.
The peloton is gaining 10 seconds on the five escapees for every kilometer that passes. At the 133km mark, it was 2’35" behind Sprick, Chavanel, Flecha, Knees and Verdugo.
The five stage leaders are slowly being reeled in. With the peloton at the 132km mark, it is 2’45" behind.
The peloton is now being led by riders from the Lampre, CSC, Quickstep and Predictor-Lotto teams. This group is now 2’55" behind the five escapees.
Jose-Luis Jaimerena of the Caisse d’Epargne team explained that they’ve suffered a real blow today because of the retirement of Xabier Zandio. “He has a broken right collarbone so it’s impossible for him to continue. It had nothing to do with the crash he had during the stage to Canterbury where he didn’t sustain any real injury. But he came down again earlier today when Di Gregorio crashed.
“It’s a big loss for the team because he’s a good worker in all circumstances and on any terrain. It’s a shame!”
France Television has calculated the time each rider in the escape group spent in the wind for the last 10 minutes. The breakdown is as follows:
Verdugo (EUS) - 25%
Knees (MRM) - 24%
Flecha (RAB) - 20%
Chavanel (COF) - 18%
Sprick (BTL) - 13%
The peloton has reached the line used for the intermediate sprint with a deficit of 3’45" to Chavanel’s quintet.
The leaders covered 42.2km in the third hour of racing. The average speed for the first three hours is 41.2km/h.
The points for the second intermediate sprint of stage four were won by:
1. Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB) 6pts/6"
2. Sylvain Chavanel (COF) 4pts/4"
3. Christian Knees (MRM) 2pts/2"
The escapees are now racing toward the line of the second intermediate sprint. Flecha was determined to grab first-place points.
The maximum gain of the escape was four minutes (when the peloton crested the second climb of the stage). That’s the margin that Sprick, Chavanel, Flecha, Knees and Flecha are now ahead of the peloton.
The CSC boys look like they’re about to get some assistance in the pace setting duties at the head of the peloton. Quickstep’s Bram Tankink has come forward; he’s one of Boonen’s key domestiques when the team decides it’s time to reel in the escape.
LeTour.fr recently contacted Erik Breukink of the Rabobank team to find out his thoughts on the escape. “It will be difficult for Juan Antonio and the other four to stay away because the control from CSC is strong,” said the Dutch team director. “It will also depend on the teams of the sprinters. We know beforehand that it would be difficult to make an escape succeed but you never know if you never try.
“It wasn’t really the plan to put Flecha in the escape but he followed the first real attack and it stuck so he’s there in the lead group. That’s the way he likes to race so I’m sure he’ll try his best to make it succeed.
“If it comes to a sprint we’ve always got Oscar (Freire) but he’s had a few problems in the last couple of days. He’s not in super form but he is the sort of rider who can pull off a surprise.”
The manager of the Cofidis team was contacted by LeTour.fr earlier today to get his thoughts on the stage. “Of course we hope to defend the polka-dot jersey,” said Eric Boyer about Stephane Auge’s prized from yesterday. “For us it’s ideal if an escape forms that involves no riders who are a threat to Stephane. It’s possible that a Cofidis rider will be there to claim the points in an escape. I’ve not, then we’re just going to have to adapt our strategies accordingly and consider what to do as we approach the ascents.”
It turns out that Chavanel has been able to put himself in The Move of the day and, as per plan, he took the first-place points at the top of the Doucy climb.
Of the five riders who are 3’45" ahead of the peloton, the best placed in general classification after three stages is Sylvain Chavanel. The details of the escapees at the start of the stage is:
Sylvain Chavanel (COF) - 23rd at 56"
Matthieu Sprick (BTL) - 52nd at 1’08"
Gorka Verdugo (EUS) - 76th at 1’14"
Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB) - 97th at 1’18"
Christian Knees (MRM) - 102nd at 1’20"
With his wounds tended to by the race doctor, Remy Di Gregorio has rejoined the peloton recently. The CSC team is at the head of the pack that’s now 3’25" behind Chavanel, Verdugo, Sprick, Flecha and Knees.
Remy Di Gregorio crashed early in today’s stage. He has been patched up by the race doctor and has a bandage on his right arm. Blood is still seeping through the gauze and he’s back with the medical team getting more treatment.
The escapees began their move at the 30km mark. They are now less than 100km from the finish of the stage. The virtual leader is still Sylvain Chavanel of the Cofidis team who began the stage in 23rd place, 56" behind Cancellara.
The bunch is now at the 91km mark and has a deficit to the leading quintet of 3’45".
This is the first time that Joigny will host a stage finish of the Tour de France but the town in the Yonne department was the site of three stage finishes of the Paris-Nice race in the past.
In 1969 Leo Duyndam (NED) won stage one of Paris-Nice... Eddy Merckx was third.
In 1970 Cipriano Chemello (ITA) won stage one of Paris-Nice... Cyril Guimard was third.
In 1979 Yvon Bertin (FRA) won the stage to Joigny in Paris-Nice... and Guiseppe Martinelli was second.
The peloton is controlled by the CSC team and is currently 3’15" behind Chavanel, Verdugo, Sprick, Flecha and Knees.
The average speed for the second hour was exactly the same as the first: 40.7km/h.
The five escapees were being chased for a short while but the peloton has eased off the accelerator a little and is now 2’35" behind Chavanel, Verdugo, Sprick, Flecha and Knees.
The 186 riders remaining in the 2007 Tour de France represent 26 countries.
The breakdown is:
39 – Spain. Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (AGR) abandoned during stage one after a crash; Xabier Zandio abandoned during stage four because of injuries sustained in a crash in stage one.
36 – France
19 – Germany
18 – Italy
13 – Belgium
7 – The Netherlands
6 – Australia, USA and Russia
5 – Great Britain and Switzerland
4 – Kazakhstan
3 – Austria and Colombia
2 – Belarus, Luxembourg, Norway and Ukraine
1 – South Africa, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden
Lithuania had one reprentative but Toomas Vaitkus didn’t start stage three because of a broken thumb sustained in a crash at the end of stage two.
Chavanel, Sprick, Verdugo, Knees and Flecha are now just 1’25" ahead of the peloton.
The CSC team is now in charge of the peloton which has regrouped after the rapid bout of action from the Liquigas lads.
The result of the sprint at the 69km mark is:
1. Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB) 6pts/6"
2. Sylvain Chavanel (COF) 4pts/4"
3. Matthieu Sprick (BTL) 2pts/2"
The peloton led by Liquigas has just reached the site of the intermediate sprint; it is 2’00" behind the five stage leaders.
The leaders have contested the sprint in La Ferte-Gaucher at the 69km mark. Flecha beat Chavanel over the line.
The advantage of the five leaders reached a maximum of four minutes. That has been reduced to just 2’25" thanks to the efforts of the Liquigas team.
The pace being set by the Liquigas team has split the bunch into three groups.
One of the riders who crashed during the first stage, Xabier Zandio, has just abandoned the Tour de France. There are now 186 riders still in the race.
There are riders from the Liquigas team at the head of the peloton which is now 5km away from the site of the first intermediate sprint. The deficit of the bunch to the five escapees has dropped to 3’30".
The King of the Mountains from this year’s Dauphine Libere stage race in June, Remy Di Gregorio has just crashed at the rear of the peloton.
The pace of the escape is rapid - especially compared with yesterday’s effort - and the leading quintet is about to contest the first intermediate sprint of the stage. Flecha is the only one in the only one in the escape group to have any points in the green jersey category. He began the day in 29th place, with 14pts.
The advantage of Flecha et al over the peloton is now up to 4’00".
On the approach to the top of the second climb, Sylvain Chavanel has raced into the lead of the escape to claim the first place points for the cat-4 ascent.
The result for the Cote de Doucy is:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (COF) 3pts
2. Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB) 2pts
3. Gorka Verdugo (EUS) 1pt
The peloton is 3’35" behind the leading quintet after 60.5km of racing.
Chavanel, Sprick, Verdugo, Knees and Flecha are about to contest the sprint to the top of the Cote de Doucy which is at the 62.5km mark.
The advantage of Chavanel, Sprick, Verdugo, Knees and Flecha is now up to 3’45" at the 56km mark.
The rider who is currently the virtual leader of the Tour de France, Sylvain Chavanel, was part of The Escape of last year’s race. On the day that Jens Voigt won in Montelimar and Oscar Pereiro first gained the yellow jersey, Chavanel finished third.
In an earlier newsflash it was reported that the Chavanel in the lead group was Sebastien. This is incorrect; it’s actually his brother Sylvain. Apologies for any confusion caused.
Of the five men in the lead of the stage, only one has previously won a stage of the Tour de France. Juan Antonio Flecha is an escape maestro who rarely resists the opportunity to join a bout of attack action. He won the stage to Toulouse in the 2003 Tour. (Click on his name in the team lists on LeTour.fr to read his full resume.)
Chavanel, Sprick, Verdugo, Knees and Flecha are now 3’20" ahead of the peloton.
The advantage of the escapees has grown to 3’00". This means that Sebastien Chavanel is the virtual leader of the 2007 Tour de France.
The riders in the peloton appear to have accepted that the selection of the day has been made. There are a number of men pulling over to the side of the road to answer the call of nature and the advantage of Sprick, Chavanel et al has grown to 1’25".
The five escapees are now 55" ahead of the peloton and the tempo is rapid as they try to establish a decent advantage after attacking at the 30.5km mark.
The leaders covered 40.7km in the first hour of racing. They are 45" ahead of the peloton and 40" ahead of the counter-attacker, Paolo Longo Borghini.
Philippe Gilbert of the FDJ team has dropped to the rear of the peloton to consult the race doctor.
Barloworld’s Paolo Longo Borghini is trying to bridge the gap to the five stage leaders. His deficit is 40" at the 38.5km mark.
Flecha, Verdugo, Sprick, Chavanel and Knees are now 40" ahead of the peloton. The best placed of this quartet in the general classification after three stage is Chavanel who began today ranked 23rd overall, 56" behind Cancellara.
Kjell Carlstrom was the Liquigas rider trying to bridge the gap to the four leaders but he has since been swallowed up by the peloton.
The peloton is 30" behind the five escapees at the 35km mark. There is one rider from the Liquigas team trying to bridge the gap to the leading quartet.
The fifth rider in the escape that began at the 31.5km mark is Christian Knees of the Milram team.
The riders who are on the attack have a lead of 15" at the 33.5km mark. The men involved are: Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB), Gorka Verdugo (EUS), Matthieu Sprick (BTL), Sebastian Chavanel (FDJ) and one rider from the Milram team.
Matthieu Sprick of the Bouygues Telecom squad has attack at the 30.5km mark. We wait to see if his escape attempt is successful. For the moment, no time check has been given for the 26-year-old but we do know that four men are trying to bridge the gap.
Four riders have recently tried to escape the peloton in the fourth stage which is now at the 29.5km mark. The reaction was swift and the bunch is still all together.
The two riders who attacked at the 6km mark of yesterday’s stage were only caught in the dying meters of the 236.5km. One of them, Matthieu Ladagnous will wear the red ‘dossard’ denoting his title as the Most Aggressive Rider of stage three. Here is a summary of the kilometers ridden in escapes by the combative men in the Tour’s peloton:
Ladagnous (FDJ) – 230km on the attack
Vogondy (AGR) – 230km
Auge (COF) – 188km
Herve (AGR) – 157km
Perez (EUS) – 157km
Sieberg (MRM) - 157
The points at the top of the Veuilly-la-Poterie climb were won by:
1. Aleksandre Kuschynski (LIQ) 3pts
2. David Millar (SDV) 2pts
3. Stephane Auge (COF) 1pt
The Saunier Duval-Prodir team had been one of the most aggressive in the first week of the 2006 Tour de France. This year the squad has an initiative during the Tour that, for every kilometer one of its riders in an escape, they will plant one tree in Mali. David Millar’s effort in stage one resulted in 150 new trees for the African nation... but the Scot lost his polka-dot jersey to Stephane Auge yesterday.
“I’m not worried about having lost the polka-dot jersey," said the directeur sportif, Joxean Matxin. "We wore it for two days, and that’s great.
"Tomorrow, the riders will have to face four climbing challenges and Millar is not supposed to fight for the KOM classification."
There’s little urgency in the peloton today. No opportunists have opted to bit the bullet and launch an attack yet. So far 16.5km have been covered and the bunch is all together.
Erik Zabel finished less than a bike length behind Fabian Cancellara in yesterday stage. The Milram rider came very close to adding another stage win to his collection of 12. “If the rider with the yellow jersey gives us the gap necessary to win on the cobblestones one must honor this without envy," said Zabel about the stage that included a couple of small sectors of cobbled road in the closing kilometers.
“The second place isn’t too bad for an old man," said the German who turned 37 on the day this year’s Tour began. "What matters is to be present and to try it. Sometimes the legs are super, sometimes they are not so good.”
The peloton is pedalling along at about 35km/h. There have been no early attacks and the field has just passed the 14km mark. The Cofidis team has been at the head of the bunch.
When contacted by LeTour.fr this morning Mick Rogers had this to say about the victory of Cancellara’s victory in Compiegne: “Everyone’s going well but we haven’t had much of a chance to show ourselves yet,” said the triple time trial world champion, the Australian at T-Mobile about his team’s efforts so far in the race.
“It might have been a slow day but the finishes are always stressful especially yesterday with the cobbles near the end. I haven’t seen anything like what Fabian did since guys like Jelle Nijdam who used to like to attack in the last kilometer in the 1980s. It was a really impressive performance and a good way to end what had been a rather dull day."
“It was a bit boring yesterday but that’s what you get when there’s a decent headwind and a long stage," was the appraisal of stage three from the triple time trial world champion, Mick Rogers of the T-Mobile team. "No one really wanted to be in the break because it was a recipe for a hard day in the saddle for very little reward.
“It was a bit of a suicide mission for the two guys who went away yesterday but that meant that everyone else could take it easy. It was good to have the two guys jump across with 40km to go and stir things up a little.
“We’ll be back to the normal Tour in the next few days. I think today will be the traditional fast start but everyone has been a bit nervous and no one wants to be the one to start the action.”
The withdrawal of Tomas Vaitkus after stage two means that there are now 30 riders eligible for the youth classification, open to riders born after 1 January 1982. The same rider who took the white jersey in the prologue is still in the lead of this category. Vladimir Gusev (DSC) is ranked sixth in the general classification – 45” behind Cancellara – but he has a lead of six seconds over the Dutch winner of the Tour de Romandie, Thomas Dekker (RAB). In third place is Frenchman Benoit Vaugrenard of the FDJ team who is seven seconds shy of Gusev’s time.
There have been no early attacks in stage four. The bunch is at the 7km mark and still all together.
Stephane Auge gave his Cofidis team plenty of exposure with his courageous move in the final 40km of stage three. He attacked the peloton, caught the two early escapees and raced onward to claim three points at the top of the only climb of the stage to Compiegne. The Frenchman now leads the climbing classification with a tally of eight points, three more than the former polka-dot jersey wearer, David Millar (SDV). In third place in this classification is Freddy Bichot who, like Millar, was part of the long escape in stage one.
“I’m still a bit sore from the crash the other day,” said the winner of stage one, Robbie McEwen before the start today. When he was contacted by LeTour.fr he was still being tended to by staff from his Predictor-Lotto team and trying to get himself ready for the stage that many believe will conclude with another bunch sprint.
“My knees don’t feel right but I’ve been having a fair bit of treatment from the osteopath and we’re working on the problems," said McEwen at 10.30 this morning. "I’m not 100 per cent and I think it’ll take a few days to ride back into form.
“I’ve been up there in the sprints but just haven’t been able to generate the sort of power that’s needed to win.”
Thanks to his fourth place in the third stage, Tom Boonen has been able to increase his lead in the points classification. The Belgian Quickstep-Inntergetic rider wears the green jersey for the second successive day. His advantage over the winner of stage one, Robbie McEwen (PRL) is 80pts to 74.
The runner-up in Compiegne, Erik Zabel (MRM) is now in third place in the race for the green jersey. He has 62 points. Then comes the French sprinting revelation Romain Feillu of the Agritubel team with 57pts followed by Mr Cancellara with 54pts.
The flag has fallen to signal the official start of the 193km fourth stage from Viller-Cotterets to Joigny. The time for the start was 1.00pm. There are 187 riders still in the race with no one abandoning overnight.
The winner of the prologue and stage three, Fabian Cancellara (CSC) increased his overall lead over Andreas Kloden (AST) thanks to the 20” time bonus for his victory in Compiegne. The Swiss rider now leads the Tour by 33”, in third place is David Millar (SDV) who is 41” behind Cancellara.
The only change to the top 10 of general classification after the longest stage of the 2007 Tour de France was for 10th place. Mikel Astarloza (EUS) claimed two 2” time bonuses during the third stage and moved up from 16th to 10th, pushing Alexandre Vinokourov (AST) down the rankings to 11th overall.
The peloton is on its way to the start of stage four. It’s slightly overcast in Villers-Cotterets and the temperature at midday was 21 degrees Celsius. The sun is shining at the site of the finish in Joigny in the department of Yonne and the wind is not nearly as strong as it was for stage three.
The fourth stage includes four cat-4 climbs, they are: the Cote de Veuilly-la-Poterie (at 23.5km), the Cote de Doucy (at 62.5km), the Cote de Galbaux (at 144km) and the Cote de Bel-Air (at 148.5km).
The are also three intermediate sprints evenly dispersed throughout the stage: the first in La Ferte-Gaucher (at 69km) the next in Soligny-les-Bains (at 122.5km) and the final one in Theil-sur-Vanne (at 158.5km).
The 193km stage from Villers-Cotterets to Joigny is scheduled to begin at 12.50pm. There is a four kilometer neutral zone before the riders will reach the site of the official start. That is expected to be at around 1.00pm.
The sun is shining on the Tour today but the conditions are still cool.
Live coverage of stage four will commence shortly.