The Tour de France is back on its home turf after an English adventure which provided a first glimpse of the state of affairs, especially in the sprinter department. The stage to Lille-Métropole should see the fast men of the peloton go head-to-head on the finishing straight in front of Stade Pierre-Mauroy. Marcel Kittel's dominance in the first two mass sprints, in Harrogate and London, was such that derailing the German juggernaut seems almost impossible. After his crash course in racing at the Tour, Arnaud Démare will be able to bring more firepower to bear, perhaps with a spark of anger to light his afterburners. The French champion not only hails from neighbouring Picardy, but he has also won several choice races in the Nord, including the Grand Prix d'Isbergues, Grand Prix de Denain and Four Days of Dunkirk. More than enough to boost the morale of the FDJ sprinter, which is just as good, because he will need all the confidence he can get if he is to prevail over the likes of Kittel, Sagan, Coquard, Greipel, Renshaw and Kristoff.
Home sweet home
Sporting stakes08.07.2014Stage 4- Le Touquet-Paris-Plage / Lille Métropole
Another notch in Marcel Kittel's belt. The best sprinter in the world claimed his third win in four stages at this year's Tour de France, but his triumph opposite Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille was much more difficult than the previous ones. The Giant-Shimano colossus failed to anticipate Alexander Kristoff's burst of raw power and had to squeeze every ounce of power he had to overtake the Norwegian, taking a Northern-flavoured stage which saw Chris Froome take a tumble at the very beginning....
Involved in a long break with Spaniard Luis Mate then on his own, Thomas Voeckler again shone on a Tour de France. And above all, he enjoyed himself.
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Jersey wearers after the stage 9
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Will the three stages in the Vosges determine the overall winner?
- Yes, they’ll confirm Nibali’s domination9.61%
- No, the real fight will happen in the Alps47.68%
- No, Contador will win the Tour in the Pyrenees30.74%
- No, Porte will beat them all in the time trial11.97%