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Tour de France, Stage 4 – Live Blog

Stage 4 – Cambrai to Reims

Tour de France Stage 4 Profile - Wednesday, July 7, 2010 6 AM

Tour de France Stage 4 Profile - Wednesday, July 7, 2010 6 AM EDT

Generally a pretty flat stage with one Category 4 climb, the Côte de Vadencourt, a 1.6 km climb at the 40.5 km mark of the 153.3 km stage.

6:00 AM EDT
Good morning racing fans!

It’s 2.5 hours before OLN begins their “Le Tour” coverage.

I have the Tour de France “widget thingy” up, and it says in the comments section that the race starts at 14h00 CET.

Tour de France Stage 4 "widget thingy" Start time 8 AM EDT

Tour de France Stage 4 "widget thingy" Start time 8 AM EDT

I have no idea what that means, but I’ll hazard a guess 14h00 means 2 PM local (Paris) time, or Central European Time – which is 8 AM EDT (Toronto).

World Clock Time Zone Converter

So with 2 hours to kill I’m going to construct a link list of all the neat widgets and info portals that I’ve found over the last 4 days that make following the race online easy. The link list will ‘live’ in the side bar of this blog for the duration of the 2010 Tour de France.

There we go, the 2010 Tour de France Link List… so far – is up in the side bar. :)

A group of 5 riders has broken from the Peloton and is 1:27 ahead at the 8km mark of this 153 km race. The first sprint section, where riders can grab points is only minutes away and this is likely the motivation behind the early break.

The lead group of five riders has reached the first sprint section, they are now 2:20 ahead of the Peloton.


Sprint #1 (Tour de France link):

1. Iban Mayoz (FOT) 6pts
2. Dimitre Champoin (ALM) 4pts
3. Francis De Greef (OLO) 2pts

Nicolas Vogondy and Inaki Isasi gained no points.


Peloton at 17 km

Peloton at 17 km

The Peloton is catching the break away, now only 2:02 behind, they’ve picked up 1:30 in the last 10 minutes. The lead group is reaching the top of a long incline that leads to a quick, smooth decent.

At the bottom of the quick, smooth decent, at 39 km, the lead group has only extended their lead by 0:13. They look to be lolly gagging, tired now after the break and the sprint. Th Peloton is steady go, even up the incline.

Peloton catching the led group

Peloton catching the led group

The lead group has summitted the only climb today, the Category 4, Côte de Vadencourt. The Peloton is catching them quick; as the Peloton summits Côte de Vadencourt the lead group is still only 2:00 ahead.


Sprint #2 (Tour de France link):
1. Francis De Greef 6pts
2. Iban Mayoz 4pts
3. Nicolas Vogondy 2pts

Dimitre Champoin and Inaki Isasi are still in the lead group.

As the race reaches the half way point and the food and drink stations the break away has lost 0:15 of their lead, now at 1:45.

The Weather
It’s 3:35 in the afternoon sun of northern France, the temperature is 26°C | 79°F, humidity is 35%. (

I’m surprised the Peloton hasn’t closed the gap. The last two days events, all the crashes, must have taken it’s toll on many riders. They will catch them, I think they’re waiting util the acids in their muscles, from the climb just behind them, works out of the muscles and with the food station coming is replaced with sugars – fuel.

At the feed and water station - lead group 1:45 ahead

At the feed and water station - lead group 1:45 ahead

At the food and water station Versus commentator, Phil Liggett opines that the food you take won’t help; the digestive process takes too long for the sugars to be used in the short time the race will last.

While that my be his experience, I think the food arriving in the stomach triggers the body to release stored sugars to the muscles. I think this is because the bodies starvation wiring is default set to preserve some energy for life – when food arrives those stored sugars release.

In the widget thingy a comment says, the average speed on the first hour of the stage 41.0 kph; for the second hour: 40.9 kph.

Since the food station, the Peloton has shaved 0:40 off the spread between them and the 5 break away riders. Spread is now only 1:20. 57.3 km to go of the 153.3 km race.

The spread is down to 1:00.

Sun chasing the Moon?

Sun chasing the Moon?

The commentators on Versus are using inappropriate metaphors, I think, about cat and mouse, teasing and the Peloton playing with the break away. I think some strange self flagellation mythology that comes from the toil that is long distance athletics is playing too big a part in their analysis. You begin to believe the pain is your friend, (or lover?).

What’s really happening I think is that the radios in everyone’s ears are saying,

‘The gap is closing!’

And the leaders speed up…

‘The gap is lengthening!’,

And the leaders slow down.

…and the other way ’round.

Maybe a hold your breath contest, is a better metaphor who will Die first? In other words, I’m starting to wonder if they can catch them or not.


Sprint #3 (Tour de France link):
1. Francis De Greef 6pts
2. Inaki Isasi 4pts
3. Nicolas Vogondy 2pts

Dimitre Champoin and Iban Mayoz are still in the lead group of six.

Thor Hushovd is leading the Peloton but the gap keeps yo-yo-ing between 1:00 and 0:40 – 16 km to go.

Cervelo, Lampre, & Team RadioShack are all taking turns leading the Peloton. As Cervello lead the gap came down to 20 seconds, but now it’s staying there.

Here comes the Peloton!

Here comes the Peloton!

8 km to go and the gap is still 14 seconds. Can they catch them??! There’s still time, but as the racers enter the city of Reims the round-about’s are ahead – which will slow down sprinters.

Four riders remain in the lead group – which is only 0:10 ahead!

The Peloton has caught them! 3km to go.

It’s a Peloton sprint to the finish! 191 riders sprinting to the finish!

Alessandro Petacchi wins in a photo finish!

The Finish

    1. Alessandro Petacchi
    2. Julian Dean
    3. Edvald Hagen Boasson

I Wish I hadn’t said that…

Well… getting back to my critic of the Versus announcers choice of metaphors to describe the Peloton and the break away… I was wrong.

The “cat” pounced and ripped the break away mouses to absolute sheds!!

The leading group of 5 are totally swamped by the Peloton:

    117. Iban Mayoz + 00′ 00″
    126. Nicolas Vogondy + 00′ 00″
    151. Inaki Isasi + 00′ 00″
    154. Dimitre Champion + 00′ 00″
    185. Francis De Greef + 02′ 48″

It’s shocking that Francis De Greef, after leading the race all day, let himself fall out of the first group; that really cost him time (+ 02′ 48″).

Canadians Michaël Barry finished in 42nd place and Ryder Hesjedal finished 96th. Both were in the Peloton group that all finished with the same time today so – equal points and time.

Tour de France: Stage 4 top 100 finish order

Tour de France Stage 4 - Top 100 finish order

Tour de France Stage 4 - Top 100 finish order

Tour de France Overall Individual times after Stage 4

Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal of Team Garmin-Transitions, remains in forth place overall.

Overall Individual Times after Stage 4

Overall Individual Times after Stage 4


Posted: July 6th, 2010
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