Le Tour 2019 - Stage 4


Today’s Stage 4 at the Tour de France was a flat affair, which the sprinters will have earmarked for themselves. It’s the sort of finish that will have them licking their lips, and of course, with such a long, flat stage that needs to be controlled by the sprinters team, there’s also going to be opportunists who are trying to spoil the sprinters’ party!

Decuninck would want the peloton to finish together with no escapees, not only for Viviani the sprinter but to keep Alaphilipe in yellow. So, with the stage barely started three riders got away and built up a 3 to 4-minute lead, Yoann Offredo, Frederik Backaert, and Michael Schar. The three were out front for 200 km, with Offredo being shelled with 30 km to go.

It might sound like Offredo wasn’t up to the task, but yesterday Offredo was in yet another long break, and without doubt he’ll now be ‘feeling it’! Once the break was caught towards the end, it was the turn of the sprinters teams to control thing and then an epic sprint between Elia Viviani, Alexander Kristoff, Caleb Ewan, and Peter Sagan.

Some of the riders on day 4 are going to be starting to feel it now. Riders like Offredo who’ve been in two long breaks, riders who went hard in the TTT and the next day, there’s fatigue accumulating. Also, the domestiques from Jumbo Visma, and soon Decuninck will start feeling it. Not tiring per se, but starting to feel some fatigue creeping in. On the other hand the GC riders will have had a relatively easy ride (other than the TTT) so far. And, when I say easy, this is a) relative, and b) in terms of the actual intensity (albeit the end of stage 3 was grippy for everyone). Of course, though, for the GC riders it will have been very stressful as they negotiate this opening week.

I’ve still as yet not seen any rider data, but, for someone like today’s winner Viviani, it’s likely he’ll have peaked at about 14 to 1500 W for peak power in the sprint. Or about (just under) 2 horsepower!

Tomorrow, starts with some climbing, but the real test comes on Thursday, There maybe some testing efforts tomorrow, but I reckon a break will go on one of the climbs and stay away — with the winner being a non-GC rider. Thursday will be completely different!

See you tomorrow, but in the meantime if you’d like to improve your fitness and get some of your own Tour fitness then click here

Richard Stern