Wednesday July 4th, 2012

Stage 4Abbeville / Rouen

Start 12h25 GMT 2+

Key moments

video04.07.2012 in 23:00Summary of the race

video04/07/2012 

Summary of the race

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Stage summary04.07.2012 in 18:01Greipel finishes off a wonderful team effort

Once the escape of the day go reached an advantage of almost nine minutes the Lotto-Belisol team moved up to the front of the peloton and began to consider the sprint that was expected in Rouen. Although it was the fourth longest stage of the 2012 Tour de France, from Abbeville to Rouen, the real action came in the final three kilometers. That's when the jostling for position started in earnest and the lead-out trains started to form. Up near the head of the peloton, however, a touch of...

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video04.07.2012 in 16:00Interview - Stage Winner

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Interview - Stage Winner

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interview04.07.2012 in 19:00Yukiya Arashiro: I did not want to wait

As soon as the flag dropped to signal the start of the stage, Europcar's Japanese rider Yukiya Arashiro went on the attack. His group of three was caught after 206km in the lead but he earned the 'Fighting Spirit' award for his effort.

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interview04.07.2012 in 18:54Peter Sagan: No one wants to see accidents

The accident near the finish left the leader of the points classification without his key lead-out man Daniel Oss but Peter Sagan still managed to get fifth place in the sprint in Rouen.

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interview04.07.2012 in 18:44Cancellara: I'm lucky and happy

He wasn't in contention for the stage win but Fabian Cancellara is already looking forward to his 26th day in the yellow jersey. Before he knew this was possible, however, he had to survive the fourth stage of the 2012 Tour...

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interview04.07.2012 in 18:30Greipel: I love my job

The finish of the fourth stage of the 2012 Tour was marred by a crash with 2.6km to go but it didn't change the attitude of the winner. When he was told, «It is a very dangerous job», he smiled and said: «But I love my job.» He explains his emotions after his second win in this race...

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video04.07.2012 in 11:45Analysis of the stage

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Analysis of the stage

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Sporting stakes04.07.2012 in 11:30Wherever the wind takes them...

It never takes like for the action to spark up and for the stages to be highly animated at the Tour de France. Peter Sagan continued his showmanship in Boulogne but he's not yet finished as he's decided that it's now possible to win the green jersey. He was the force at the end of a stage marred by crashes and affected by nervousness and the peloton could once again be stirred up in the race from Abbeville to Rouen even if the fourth stage is devoid of climbs.
The first stanza is along...

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video04.07.2012 in 10:30The day's route

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The day's route

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Newsflashes

17:47No change to GC: Cancellara still leads the Tour 2012

It was a sprint of a different nature as Cavendish was not in the mix. He crashed with 2.6km to go. Meanwhile, up ahead his usual rivals all fought it out for the stage and Greipel won the drag race. For all the time spent on their bikes today - over five hours in the saddle - there was no change to the top order of the general classification.

Fabian Cancellara will spend his 26th day in the Tour de France's yellow jersey in stage five.

17:44The top five in stage four

André Greipel has given his Lotto-Belisol team-mate the perfect reward for all their work today. He has won the stage in Rouen. The top five is:

1. André Greipel (GER) LTB 214.5km in 5h18'32"

2. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) LAM

3. Tom Veelers (NED) ARG

4. Matt Goss (AUS) OGE

5. Peter Sagan (SVK) LIQ

17:43TOP 5 der Etappe1. Andre Greipel

2. Alessandro Petacchi

3. Tom Veelers

4. Matt Goss

5. Peter Sagan
17:42Sieg für GreipelDer Sprinter von Lotto-Belisol holt sich den zweiten Etappensieg seiner Karriere bei der Tour de France.
17:42Greipel gets the win!

André Greipel has won his second stage of the Tour de France! He has held off a late charge from Petacchi, Goss and Sagan.

17:41Lotto in charge...

Inside the final kilometer there are four Lotto riders at the front of the stage. Goss is tucked in on the wheel of Greipel and the sprint has begun.

17:40Der letzte KilometerEs zeichnet sich ein Sprint unter Führung von Lotto ab.
17:402km to go

Vacansoleil is in charge of the lead-out in the final 2km of the stage. They know they won't have to contend with Cavendish who is still on the ground but now it's time for Argos to start their lead-out.

17:39Sturz 3 km vor dem ZielZahlreiche Sprinter sind in den Sturz verwickelt, darunter auch Cavendish.
17:39Cavendish in a crash!

There has been a huge crash with 2.6km to go. Cavendish has been caught up as has Hutarovich and Wiggins.

17:38Feld wieder geschlossenDas Angreifertrio wird 4 km vor dem Ziel eingeholt.
17:38Dumoulin goes alone

Poels and Chavanel have been caught by the peloton and only Dumoulin is still ahead of the peloton.

17:38All together...

The peloton is now led by Orica-GreenEdge riders and Lotto-Belisol men; all the escapes are over...

17:37Noch 5 kmDas Hauptfeld hat Dumoulin, Chavanel und Poels fast eingeholt.
17:37Arashiro wins 'Fighting Spirit' prize

Arashiro will earn a red race number an a few kisses from the podium girls for his attack today. He has been voted the most aggressive rider of the fourth stage.

17:36Grö?ter KampfgeistYukiya Arashiro wurde von der Jury mit dem Preis für den größten Kampfgeist ausgezeichnet.
17:36Rabobank leads peloton

There are three riders from Rabobank at the front of the peloton now. They have the Dumoulin trio in their sights but there is no real coordination in the lead-out of the bunch and that's giving the counter-attackers a little bit of an advantage on the final run to Rouen.

17:35Neues TrioChavanel, Dumoulin und Poels haben einige hundert Meter Vorsprung auf den Rest des Felds.
17:35Three new leaders

There are now three riders on the attack: Dumoulin (COF), Chavanel (OPQ) and a rider from Vacansoleil, Poels.

17:34Ausrei?versuch beendetDas Peloton ist gut 7,5 km vor der Ziellinie wieder vereint.
17:34Sieben Fahrer vornArashiro (EUC), Moncoutié (COF) und Delaplace (SAU) wurden 8 km vor dem Ziel von ihren Verfolgern eingeholt.
17:34Escape over at 206km

Arashiro, Moncoutie and Delaplace have been caught by the peloton after 206km at the front of the stage.

17:33Trio wieder vereintArashiro (EUC), Moncoutié (COF) und Delaplace (SAU) werden jetzt von einer kleinen Gruppe mit Gilbert, Bouet, Chavanel, Dumoulin und Pineau verfolgt.
17:33The counter-attack group...

Gilbert, Bouet, Dumoulin, Chavanel and Pineau are the riders who are in the counter attack just 12" behind the three escapees.

17:33Eight in the lead

Gilbert's quintet has caught the three escapees.

17:32Bouet and Pineau counter-attack

Grivko's attack didn't last long. He has been caught and passed by Pineau (OPQ) and Bouet (ALM). They have Gilbert (BMC) along for the ride as they hunt down the leading trio with 9km to go.

17:31Angriff von DelaplaceGut 10 km vor dem Ziel versucht Delaplace, die anderen Ausreißer hinter sich zu lassen. Grivko nutzt seinerseits die Chance, aus dem Hauptfeld auszuscheren.
17:3110km to go

Have you been watching the broadcast? Who would get your vote for the 'Fighting Spirit' award? Delaplace is giving the escape one last surge and Moncoutie responds. They are less than 10km from the finish but there are now some riders jumping off the front of the peloton including Andriy Grivko who is at 12". The peloton is at 15".

17:30Nur noch 30"Das Rennen erreicht einen nicht gewerteten Anstieg, der sich für das Trio an der Spitze aber als entscheidend erweisen könnte.
17:27Less than a minute advantage now

The bunch is closing in on the leaders quickly. There is now just 48" between the first three and the bunch. The escape has been alive for 202km already and capture of Moncoutie, Arashiro and Delaplace is iminent.

17:26Vorsprung weniger als eine MinuteDas Trio an der Spitze hat zunehmend Schwierigkeiten. 14 km vor dem Ziel kommt das Feld auf 55'' heran.
17:24Noch 15 kmArashiro (EUC), Moncoutié (COF) und Delaplace (SAU) verteidigen einen Vorsprung, aber dieser schmilzt auf 1'05''.
17:24Advantage drops to 1'05"

The pace of the peloton is picking up to around 50km/h while the escapees - now inside the final 15km - are slowing down a bit. It all adds up to what most people expected before the stage even started: a bunch sprint is the likely conclusion... the latest time check has Arashiro and co only 1'05" ahead.

17:20Weniger als zwei Minuten AbstandEs sind noch 20 km bis zum Ziel und das Hauptfeld hat nur noch 1'35'' Rückstand. An der Spitze des Felds sind Fahrer von Orica-GreenEdge und Lotto-Belisol zu sehen.
17:19Peloton at 1'35"

As the peloton passes under the 20km to go banner, it is 1'35" behind the three escapees.

17:18Arashiro no longer virtual leader...

Arashiro is the rider who started the escape today. He is, however, no longer the virtual leader of the Tour. His trio is inside the final 20km but their advantage on the peloton is now 1'45". He started the day ranked 54th, 2'03" behind Cancellara.

17:15Sean Yates: "Das ist die beste Position."Im Gespräch mit France Télévisions erklärt der Sportdirektor von Sky während des Rennens, warum er seine Fahrer instruiert hat, sich an die Spitze des Fahrerfelds zu setzen: „Das ist im Moment die beste Position. Wir wollen Stürze oder Reifenpannen von Bradley Wiggins abwenden, aber das ist alles. Wenn Cavendish am Hinterrad von Eisel hängt, kann das gut sein. Er ist auf jeden Fall stark.“
17:1325km to go...

Arashiro, Moncoutie and Delaplace are inside the final 25km of the stage. They are just 2'00" ahead after having reached a maximum gain of 8'40" at the 18km mark.

17:11Sky tritt auf den PlanMehrere Teamkollegen von Bradley Wiggins positionieren sich an der Spitze des Felds, das km 188 mit 2'05'' Abstand auf die Führenden passiert.
17:08Dry roads again...

The rain that fell was only a localised shower. But it's worth noting that the peloton is riding in bright sunshine again now and it's likely to stay dry all the way to the finish in Rouen which is now just 27km away for the three leaders who are 2'15" ahead of the bunch.

17:06Peloton holt aufDer Vorsprung von Arashiro (EUC), Moncoutié (COF) und Delaplace (SAU) schmilzt auf 2'35''.
17:05All crash victims back in the peloton

Radio Tour has announced that all the riders who fell at the 45km to go mark are now back in the peloton which is about 34km from the finish.

17:04Three teams leading

Voigt (RNT) is back on the front of the peloton which is 2'50" behind Arashiro's trio. The other teams setting the pace are FDJ and Lotto-Belisol.

17:03Abstand bei km 178Arashiro (EUC), Moncoutié (COF) und Delaplace (SAU) haben 3' Vorsprung auf das Feld, das jetzt merklich das Tempo verschärft.
17:01Matt White: "Es besteht kein gro?er Unterschied."Im Gespräch mit letour.fr stellt der Sportdirektor von Orica-GreenEdge seinen Plan vor, um Mark Cavendish zu schlagen: „Im Idealfall müssten wir vor den Fahrern von Sky mit dem Sprint anfangen. Er ist der schnellste Fahrer der Welt, aber er ist nicht unschlagbar. Wir müssen nur sicherstellen, dass es uns gelingt, Matt Goss bis zum besten Moment zu begleiten, um ihm die größtmöglichen Chancen zu verschaffen. In Tournai war er zu weit weg, auch wenn er die nötige Kraft hatte. Es besteht...
17:00Three dropped...

Di Gregorio (COF), Danielson (GRS) and Kern (EUC) have not been able to maintain the pace of the peloton in the last few minutes.

16:59Hansen splits the peloton

Hansen is at the front of the bunch now and causing some damage in the peloton with the pace he's setting. The head of the peloton has split a little and the riders are in one long line. We can see the effect of his work too as the latest time check has Arashio's trio only 3'10" ahead.

16:58Arashiro caught...

Arashiro's attack didn't last long. He has been chased down by his escape companions who have been with him since the first kilometer of stage four.

16:57Nibali catches the peloton...

Nibali (LIQ) has rejoined the peloton after his incident with 45km to go.

16:56Trio bildet sich neuArashiro (EUC), Moncoutié (COF) und Delaplace (SAU) sind bei km 177,5 wieder geschlossen zusammen.


16:55Arashiro beschleunigtDer japanische Fahrer versucht, seine Mitstreiter der Ausreißergruppe auf einer Abfahrt 38 km vor dem Ziel abzuschütteln.
16:55Arashiro attacking...

At the front of the stage, Arashiro has decided it's time to go on the attack. He has a lead of about 100 meters on Moncoutie and Delaplace with 38km to go.

16:533'35" between leaders & peloton

Nibali still has a bit of work to do to rejoin the peloton but he doesn't seem too bothered. The main pack is now 3'35" behind the escapees who are inside the final 40km.

16:52Sturz 45 km vor dem ZielCantwelle geht zu Boden und Nibali wird durch den Vorfall ausgebremst. Zwei Teamkollegen warten auf ihn, um ihn wieder an das Feld heranzuführen.
16:52All fallen riders are racing again

All the riders in the recent accident are riding again. It doesn't seem as though Nibali actually came down, rather he was just caught up in a tangle of bikes. He is about to rejoin the peloton thanks to the help of three team-mates.

16:51Crash in the peloton...

There has been a crash at the back of the peloton that includes Cantwell (STB) and a number of others. It appears as though Nibali (LIQ) has been caught up but he is back on his bike and has two Liquigas team-mates along for support.

The incident happened with about 45km to go in the stage.

16:48Matt White: We hope we can pull off a win

“There are some black clouds off to our right and hopefully we'll dodge them and miss out on a real downpour today,” said Matt White of Orica-GreenEdge when contacted by LeTour.fr recently.
We asked the DS if he could explain how it is that Matt Goss is going to beat Mark Cavendish today. “Ideally,” he said, “we just have to finish the sprint in front of them. He's the fastest guy in the world but I think he is beatable. We've just got to deliver at the right time to give him...

16:37Peloton rides into the rain

The peloton is now led by Katusha, Movistar and RadioShack riders. Rain is starting to fall on the bunch that is 4'45" behind the escapees.

16:35Raining on leaders...

After a sunny start to the stage, the escapees are currently riding on wet roads as they make their way towards Rouen which is now just 54km away.

16:2860km to go...

The peloton is now less than 5 minutes behind the three escapees. The latest time check has the Orica/RadioShack/FDJ/Lotto-led peloton 4'50" behind Arashiro, Moncoutie and Delaplace.

16:25Average for the 4th hour...

The average speed for the fourth hour of racing today is the fastest so far today: 39.2km/h. The average for the first four hours is 38.0km/h.

16:22FDJ assisting the peloton's pacesetting...

There are now a couple of FDJ riders also at the front of the peloton. They look like they're interested in helping to reel in the escapees who are 6'00" ahead. The sprinter for the French team is Yauheni Hutarovich. This is the second Tour for the Belarus rider (after making his debut in 2009). He has finished in the top 5 three times: 3rd in St-Fargeau (2009, when Cavendish was the winner), 5th in Paris (2009, when Cavendish was the winner), and 7th in Tournai (2012, when Cavendish was the...

16:16Peloton over the cote de Toussaint...

At the top of the final climb of the stage, the peloton is 6'15" behind the three escapees.

16:15Leaders lose 1'00" around intermediate sprint...

When the peloton was 5km from the intermediate sprint, it was 7'05" behind the three stage leaders. At Fecamp (140km) it was down to 6'05".

16:13Full result of Fecamp sprint

This is the result of the intermediate sprint of stage four:

1. Arashiro (EUC) 20 pts
2. Delaplace (SAU) 17pts
3. Moncoutie (COF) 15pts
4. Cavendish (SKY) 13pts - at 6'05"
5. Goss (OGE) 11pts
6. Renshaw (RAB) 10pts
7. Sagan (LIQ) 9pts
8. Petacchi (LAM) 8pts
9. van Hummel (VCD) 7pts
10. Hutarovich (FDJ) 6pts
11. Burghardt (BMC) 5pts
12. Kuchynski (KAT) 4pts
13. Lancaster (OGE) 3pts
14. Impey (OCE) 2pts
15. Ladagnous...

16:11Cavendish beats Goss for fourth in Fecamp

The peloton has reached the site of the intermediate sprint. Goss looked to have it covered but he was beaten by the world champion for fourth place... (Full results to follow.)

16:09Point for fourth climb

The leaders have reached the final climb of the stage. Delaplace took first place ahead of Moncoutie.

16:05Result of the first three at Fecamp sprint

The first three have taken the points of the intermediate sprint. The order over the line was:

1. Arashiro (EUC) 20pts

2. Delaplace (SAU) 17pts

3. Moncoutie (COF) 15pts

Full results will follow once the sprint has been contested by the peloton.

16:031km to the sprint...

Arashiro, Delaplace and Moncoutie are less than 1,000m from the site of the intermediate sprint. They are 7'00" ahead of the peloton.

16:01Sagan: the first stage winner born in the 1990s...

When the Tour began in Liège in 2004, the winner of the prologue was Fabian Cancellara (who won again on Saturday and currently leads the Tour). The Swiss rider was the first man born in the 1980s to win a stage of the Tour. Later, in that edition, the youngest man in the race at the time - Filippo Pozzato - would win a stage (in St-Brieuc).

This year, Peter Sagan - who was born on 26 January 1990 - has won two stages already. He is the first rider born in the 1990s to win a stage of...

15:5210km to Fecamp sprint

The leaders are inside the 10km leading to the intermediate sprint. Their advantage of 6'45" is likely to be reduced in the next little while as the head of the peloton changes color with the likes of Liquigas and Orica-GreenEdge likely to come forward in the hunt for points in Fecamp.

15:50Delaplace an escapee in stage five last year...

Anthony Delaplace is one of the riders in the escape today. He made his debut in the Tour in 2011 when he was the youngest rider in the race. The Saur-Sojasun rider was in an escape group in stage five last year, when it went along the northern coastline of Brittany. The move was over well before the end, and was caught 45km from the finish (when Cavendish was the winner).

Today Delaplace is in the break with Arashiro (EUC) and Moncoutie (COF) and they are 6'25" ahead of the peloton...

15:43Cancellara consults team car...

With Tony Gallopin sharing the pace setting duties at the front of the peloton with Sebastian Langeveld (OGE) and riders from Lotto-Belisol, the race leader Cancellara has dropped behind the bunch to talk to Alain Gallopin in the RadioShack team car. The directeur sportif is the uncle of the rider with the same surname.

15:39Fecamp hosted a stage start in 1995

The intermediate sprint today is in Fécamp. It was here in 1995 that a stage began (and finished in Dunkirk). The winner was the Dutch sprinter Jeroen Blijlevens ahead of Jan Svorada and Erik Zabel.

Fecamp is at the 140km mark of today's stage and marks the point where the peloton will leave the coast and aim inland.

15:35Correction for second climb today

Radio Tour has recently corrected an original announcement for the second climb of today's stage. The winner of the cote de Dieppe was, in fact, Anthony Delaplace (SAU) not David Moncoutie (COF) as originally claimed...

15:33Orica-GreenEdge's objectives remain the same

From the moment that the team roster for the new Australian GreenEdge outfit was revealed to the public, the mission statement was clear. The aim for the team's debut in the Tour is to win the green jersey. Before the race started this year, LeTour.fr asked Matt White if there was a temptation to stray from that original plan.

“There's been no deviation from our original objective," he said in Liège. "Obviously we've got a lot of goals for the Tour de France and one of them is the...

15:29Inside final 100km

The escapees are less than 100km from the finish and they have a lead of 6'05". They have been on the attack for over 100km after Arashiro launched ahead of the bunch at the moment that the flag fell to signal the official start at 12.22pm. He was quickly joined by Delaplace (SAU) who was in the escape of stage one, and Moncoutie (COF) who has claimed first place at the three climbs so far today...

15:27Average for 3rd hour: 37.4km/h

The average speed for the third hour in stage four is 37.4km/h. The average for the first two hours is 37.6km/h.

15:15White discusses Goss' form

One of the teams contributing to the pace setting in stage four is Orica-GreenEdge. The hope today is to launch Matt Goss in a winning bid for stage honors. LeTour.fr caught up with Matt White before the Tour and asked him how Goss' preparation has been before the Tour. “It's not a program that he's done before," said the team directeur sportif. "He might be 25 years of age but he hasn't been at this level for so long. He's never done the Giro [d'Italia] to prepare for the Tour de France...

15:10The 31 nations represented in Le Tour 2012

The 2012 Tour started with 198 riders but there are now 195. Here is a breakdown of what countries are represented in the race today.

44: France
20: Spain (it was 21 but Rojas crashed out with a broken collarbone in stage three)
17: Netherlands (Tjallingii was at the start but crashed out in stage three and broke his hip)
15: Italy
14: Belgium
13: Germany
12: Australia
8: USA
5: Denmark, Great Britain and Russia
4: Kazakhstan and...

15:02Lead down to 5'50"

As the peloton arrives in the feedzone (94km) it is 5'50" behind the three escapees who attacked in the first kilometer of the stage.

14:59Gerrans: I look like I've been attacked by a wild cat

After showing the wounds sustained in the crash, Gerrans was asked to compare his injuries to those of Johnny Hoogerland from last year's Tour. "I was caught up in the barbed wire,” said Gerrans. “My arm was stuck in there, and I couldn't get my arm out until someone else hit the barbed wire and gave it a rattle. There are only a couple of scratches - I look like I've been attacked by a wild cat, I will be okay.
“I'm disappointed, because there aren't a heck of a lot of...

14:56Comments from Gerrans (OGE)...

There were a number of crashes in the third stage of the 2012 Tour. One of the riders involved was Simon Gerrans of the Orica-GreenEdge team. He went off the road and into a barbed wire fence. But he finished the stage and offered some comments on the incident to the media in Boulogne. “I'm not too bad, I could be a heck of a lot worse,” said the Australian champion. He finished 10'37” behind Sagan in the stage and is now in 146th overall. “I was right up the front, in good position,...

14:49Mild continues on the coast

The temperature at the moment is just 21.5 degrees. There are blue skies over the Tour de France and there's not much wind today but the riders still have another 20km to ride before turning inland where it is significantly warmer with temperatures in the mid- to high-20s (Celsius).

14:472nd Argos-Shimano puncture in 10 minutes

The Argos-Shimano mechanic is servicing a rider who has just punctured his rear tire. It's the second flat for the team in about 10 minutes.

14:37Voigt a two-time winner of Duo Normand

There is a two-man time trial conducted near where today's Tour is contested that's called the 'Duo Normand'. Currently we see Jens Voigt (RNT) leading the peloton and we can report that the team-mate of Cancellara - and the oldest man in the race this year - has twice one the Duo Normand.

His first success was in 1999 when he was with the Credit Agricole team and he partnered up with Chris Boardman to take the victory. (Boardman, by the way, claimed his second Tour prologue win in...

14:25The 2nd hour: 37.8km/h

The average speed for the second hour of stage four is  37.8km/h. The average for the first the first two hours combined is 37.7km/h.

14:24Comments from BMC's Lelangue

"We managed to stay completely out of trouble," said the directeur sportif of the BMC team this morning when asked about stage three. "That's what we expected. As I've said since October, you needed a solid classics team for the start of the Tour. This team is stronger than last year's. I don't look at what the pther teams are doing but I saw some had problems. It confirms that we made the right choices."

14:22Moncoutie takes third climb

David Moncoutie (COF) has led the escape over the third climb of the stage. He now has three points in the race for the polka-dot jersey and is ranked second behind Michael Morkov (STB).

14:21Three teams lead the peloton

Lotto-Belisol and Orica-GreenEdge have put one man each at the front of the peloton. They are sharing the workload with RadioShack-Nissan and the advantage of the escape has dropped to 6'40".

14:19Leaders near third climb

The escapees are inside the final kilometer of the cote de Pourville-sur-Mer which is a 1.9km long ascent with an average gradient of 4.4 per cent. Moncoutie is setting the pace and is likely to add another point to his tally in the climbing prize...

14:14Another point for Moncoutie

The leaders are over the second climb. The point for the cat-4 Cote de Dieppe was won by David Moncoutie who is now equal-second in the climbing classification.

14:13Three winners of the Cote Picarde in peloton

The peloton is currently on roads that are regularly used for the under-23 race, the Cote Picarde. Three former winners are in the peloton today. They are Andrey Kashechkin (AST), winner in 2001, Guillaume Levarlet (SAU), winner in 2006; Kristijan Koren, winner in 2008.

14:11Lead down to 7'00"

With the peloton at the 63km mark, it is 7'00" behind the three escapees. For the time being, Arashiro is still the virtual leader of the Tour after starting the stage ranked 54th overall 2'03" behind Cancellara.

14:08Details of the cote de Dieppe

The escapees are near the second climb of the stage. The côte de Dieppe is 1.8km long with an average gradient of 3.9 per cent.

The top is at the 69km mark. There is one point on offer as it's rated category-four.

14:02Voigt does the driving...

The oldest man in the 99th Tour is now at the front of the bunch and the effect of Jens Voigt's work is already apparent. He has dropped the escape's advantage from 8'35" to 7'35" in the last 10 minutes.

14:00Brice Feillu: a 42 degree fever...

Brice Feillu has won a stage of the Tour in the past but towards the end of stage one he was the first to be dropped by the peloton. He's been suffering with an illness in the opening days of his second start in the race. The Young Reporters of the Tour de France caught up with the Saur-Sojasun rider at the start of the stage to find out how he's coping with his gastroenteritis.
“I'm riding but I'm in my own world at the moment,” said Feillu. “I feel isolate and the last few days...

13:51Birthday in the bunch today...

Today is the 30th birthday of Vladimir Gusev, the rider who wore the white jersey for a few days in the 2007 Tour (as a member of the Discovery Channel team). He is racing for Katusha this year and is currently ranked 50th overall, 1'41" behind Cancellara. Happy birthday Vladimir!

13:49RadioShack lead the peloton

With the advantage of the escape up to 8'35", the RadioShack-Nissan team has sent a few riders to the front of the bunch. Lotto-Belisol chased for a while and dropped the advantage from 8'40" to 7'20" but the pace of the peloton has eased a little in the last little while...

13:435km between leaders and peloton

Christian Prudhomme has just announced that the stage leaders are at the 50km mark of the 214.5km stage to Rouen. The peloton is 8'15" behind and at the 45km mark.

13:40Dieppe has hosted seven Tour stage finishes...

The next climb of the fourth stage is the côte de Dieppe. In the history of the Tour, Dieppe has hosted seven stage finishes but they were a long time ago. The most recent visit there was in 1975 when the winner of the race from Caen was Ronald De Witte of Belgium. He beat six-day legend Patrick Sercu and Cyrille Guimard was third in what was a 165km stage.

13:33Peloton behind by 8'00" at 38km

At the top of the first climb today, the peloton is led by Lotto-Belisol and its deficit to the three escapees is 8'00".

13:25Moncoutie collects a point

At the first climb of the fourth stage, the two-time winner of the King of the Mountains crown at the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain), David Moncoutie has nabbed the one point on offer... his bid for the polka-dot jersey has officially begun.

13:24Average speed for the opening hour

The leaders have covered 37.6km in the first hour of racing stage four. They are about to contest the sprint for a climbing point on the first of four hills today.

13:23Another US Victory on July 4?

Last year's third stage of the Tour was contested on the national holiday in the United States for July the Fourth. The winner was Tyler Farrar...

The peloton is already wary of the gains made by the escapees who are about to tackle the first ascent of the stage. And the chase by the sprint teams has begun: the latest time check has Arashio's trio ahead by 7'30".

13:11Rogers interview (part 03)

LeTour.fr asked Michael Rogers about the stage today and wanted to know what his exactly role was. Obviously everyone has got to surround Bradley but who in particular is he key man? “In these stages, we're all around him, taking it in turns to look after him and get him through tough times – especially moments like yesterday in the final," said the Australian. "Then there are going to be times when it's really Chris [Froome], Richie [Porte] and myself who are there to support him.”

13:09Lotto-Belisol decide to ride...

With the maximum advantage of the escapees up to 8'40" at the 16km mark, the sprinters' teams have had to decide how long before they start to chase. Lotto-Belisol has taken that initiative around the 20km mark and already the leading trio have lost some of their gains.

The bunch is now 7'30" behind Arashiro, Moncoutie and Delaplace at the 23km mark.

13:07Rogers interview (part 02)

When LeTour.fr spoke with Michael Rogers this morning we asked if he felt like he was a little jinxed in the opening few days: you've have an accident, punctured at a bad time, and been held up by falls. Can you explain the first few days for you? “I've actually only crashed once and I've obviously been held up a bit this year but I don't think there is anyone in the peloton who has been affected by the nature of the racing here this year," responded Rogers. "It's quite normal in the first...

13:02Comments from Michael Rogers... (part 01)

LeTour.fr caught up with one of the Australians on the Sky team before the start of the stage and, during our chat, we asked Michael Rogers about the conditions of the opening stages. It looks particularly crazy at the finish these past two days. Is it worse than other years from your perspective?
“It's hard to say. It's always stressful," said Rogers, who has crashed once and punctured a couple of times at crucial moments. But he's relatively unphased and is happy with how things are...

12:59Lead continues to grow

There's little interest in chasing from the peloton which is now 8'40" behind the three stage leaders who attacked in the opening kilometer of stage four.

12:51Lead up to 7'20" at 12km

Arashiro, Moncoutie and Delaplace are 7'20" ahead of the peloton as it reaches the 12km mark.

12:50More from RadioShack-Nissan's Gallopin...

“Everyone is there, including Tony (Gallopin), Jens (Voigt) and Popo (Popovych), who are the ones doing the most work," continued Gallopin when talking to LeTour.fr this morning. He was explaining how the RadioShack-Nissan team is approaching the opening stanza of the 2012 Tour.

"In fact there were two difficult stages for us, but when the sprinters are involved, it's much more comfortable because we get some support. I think this will be the case today. I do not think we can create...

12:48Alain Gallopin: It costs a lot of energy, but it pays well

LeTour.fr spoke with the directeur sportif of the RadioShack-Nissan team, Alain Gallopin earlier today and asked for his take on the cost of spending energy to defend Cancellara's yellow jersey when they have riders like Fränk Schleck and Andreas Klöden – who have both finished on the podium of the Tour in the past – for the general classification.
“Defending the position of Fabian costs a lot of energy,” said Gallopin, “but a yellow jersey in the Tour de France, offers a...

12:41Lead up to 5'00"

At the 8km mark, the peloton is already 5'00" behind Moncoutie, Arashiro and Delaplace.

12:40Arashiro: the virtual leader of the Tour de France

Arashiro's trio is now 4'15" ahead of the peloton. This means that Yukiya-san is the virtual leader of the Tour de France.

A little bit of trivia: two riders who are in the escape today raced with the Guidon Sprinter Club Blagnac before turning pro - Arashio (EUC) and Moncoutie (COF).

12:37Arashiro: officially the second Japanese Tour finisher...

In 2009, two Japanese riders made it all the way to Paris in the Tour de France. That was a first for the Asian nation. Fumiyuki Beppu and Yukiya Arashiro were those riders, but Beppu (who now races with the Orica-GreenEdge team, but is not at the Tour in 2012) was the best on GC in 112th place.

Arashiro is the rider who instigated the attack today and he finished 129th overall in 2009.

12:33Moncoutie a former stage winner

Of the three men in the lead of stage four, one has previously enjoyed success at the Tour de France. David Moncoutie was the best rider in the Tour of 2002, and was the best Frenchman in that year's race.

He has also won stages in the past: in Figeac in 2004 and Digne-les-Bain in 2005.

This is the 37-year-old's final season as a pro...

12:29Leaders now 1'40" ahead

Arashiro's escape has been successful. There's been little reaction from the peloton which is now 1'40" behind the three who jumped ahead in the opening kilometer.

12:28Position of escapees on GC

After 608.9km of racing in the 99th Tour de France, the positions of the three escapeess in stage four is:

- Yukiya Arashiro (JPN) EUC - 54th overall, at 2'03"

- David Moncoutie (FRA) COF - 140th at 10'32"

- Anthony Delaplace (FRA) SAU - 148th at 11'07"

12:26Three lead by 45"

Arashiro (EUC) has been joined on the attack by Moncoutie (COF) and Delaplace (SAU). They are now 45" ahead of the peloton.

12:25Tjallingii out with a broken hip

There were two abandonments in the third stage: Rojas (MOV) and Sivtsov (SKY). The other rider who is no longer in the Tour is Maarten Tjallingii (RAB).

"Maarten Tjallingii fractured his left hip due to a crash in the third stage of the Tour de France," reads the team's press release. "The Rabo rider was involved in a big crash in the middle of the peloton at 60 kilometers before the finish. He managed to cross the finish line afterwards. Examination in a hospital concluded on Tuesday...

12:23Racing in stage four

Arashiro (EUC) is the rider who has attacked as soon as the flag fell to signal the start of stage four.

The official start was at 12.22pm. The stage is 214.5km long and goes from Abbeville to Rouen. There are 195 riders in the race.

12:20Prize classification review: part 04 ?? white jersey

The top three positions of the youth classification are the same after three stages as they were following the race to Seraing on Sunday. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) is still one second ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen (SKY) and 12” ahead of Rein Taaramae (COF).

12:17Prize classification review: part 03

There are four categorized climbs in stage four, each ranked category-four (thus offering just one point at the top). The leader of the climbing classification is the also the most aggressive rider of the opening stanza of the 99th Tour, Michael Morvkov (STB). “I'm happy to be on the stage every day with the mountain jersey,” said the Dane after stage three before adding: “But I'm well cooked now. Today was a really tough day but I really wanted to fight for the jersey because with the...

12:15Clarification of the rules announced on Radio Tour

Jean-François Pescheux has just made an announcement on Radio Tour to clear up some confusion that may exist about the rule relating to riders crashing or having a mechanical incident in the final 3km of a stage.

If someone is held up because of an incident of the race in the final three kilometers, they are given the same time as the group they were with before the incident. But, he clarified, if a team-mate waits for a leader, for example, but was not actually involved in the...

12:13Prize classification review: part 02 ?? green jersey

Peter Sagan (LIQ) has won two stages, and finished in sixth in a bunch sprint – won by Cavendish (SKY). The Slovakian didn't earn a point for the green jersey in the prologue but he is building his tally rapidly every day since. He claimed 49 points on Sunday (45 at the finish, 4 at the intermediate sprint), 29 on Monday (20 at the finish, 9 at the intermediate sprint), and 38 yesterday (30 at the finish – on what was considered a ‘medium mountains' stage not a sprint, and 8 at the...

12:11Prize classification review: part 01 ?? yellow jersey

Not even the succession of hills near the finish of stage three could push Fabian Cancellara out of the yellow jersey. The winner of the prologue will spend his 25th day in the lead of the Tour's general classification (and his fourth day in 2012 alone). The top order of the overall rankings remains the same as it was after the prologue with the Swiss RadioShack-Nissan rider ahead of Bradley Wiggins (SKY)  by seven seconds, then comes Sylvain Chavanel (OPQ) – also seven second back, then...

12:10Rolling through the neutral zone...

Christian Prudhomme's red car is now leading the peloton through the 6.4km neutral zone in front of an enormous crowd in Abbeville which is hosting the start of a Tour stage for the first time today.

12:06Welcome to the live coverage of stage four of the 99th Tour de France

The sun is shining and there's barely a breeze on the day that the peloton of the Tour de France will race from Abbeville to Rouen. The first 140km of the stage will essentially be along the coast but then there's a left turn and the riders will go inland and aim for Rouen, the capital of Normandie.

The stage features four climbs, all ranked category-four. They are the côte du Mont Huon (at 38km), the côte de Dieppe (at 69km), the côte de Pourville-sur-Mer (at 74km) and the côte...

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