Start Location: Seraing
End Location: Cambrai
Start Location: Seraing
End Location: Cambrai
Looking down the list of finishes, Rui Costa lost 51 seconds. Rolland, Kelderman, Pinot 3'23, and Dan Martin over five minutes after his crash.
Alberto Contador: "I indeed felt that something was wrong. But I really must thank my (Tinkoff-Saxo) teammates who kept me out of trouble until the end. I had good legs today, much better than yesterday. I'm above all glad to have made it out of it without a problem."
In the battle for yellow here's how the GC candidates stack up against one another:
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky (-1) 0:00:12
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team (-) 0:00:13
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step (-) 0:00:34
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo (-) 0:00:36
12 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing (-) 0:01:32
13 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team (-) 0:01:38
14 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo (-) 0:01:39
16 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team (-) 0:01:51
17 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team (-) 0:01:56
18 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha (-) 0:02:00
19 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale (+2) 0:02:07
20 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team (+3) 0:02:39
21 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale (+5) 0:02:54
30 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr (-3) 0:06:18
49 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar (+11) 0:10:02
54 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo (+8) 0:10:09
FDJ ds Yvon Madiot: 'The battery in Thibaut's dérailleur went. It was charged. It happened once in the Classics. Maybe it's the vibrations.'
@friebos Tue, 7th Jul 2015 17:06:07
We already have a report, images and top ten results from today's stage, right here.
Trentin, who gave his bike to Martin before the German's late winning attack: "I wasn’t thinking too much about it because I was riding Tony’s bike and it was really uncomfortable. So I can’t imagine that he could be comfortable on my bike, but I just hope that he doesn’t want to ride my bike for the rest of the Tour."
Trentin: "We decided already in the meeting to be fast to change the bikes because the car for sure, we know from Paris-Roubaix after two or three sectors that the car is lost forever in the field.
"I changed my bike with Tony, and then they changed the wheel of Tony’s bike. I have to say the car was pretty much one minute behind, maybe more. So that was that was not the winning move, but a move that saved our … I can’t say the word (laughs).
"Having a flat tire and changing the bike, with the wrong position, I was just thinking to finish the stage and look forward to the next stages," Martin said. "Suddenly, five kilometres to the finish, we were all together and everyone was looking at each other, nobody really wanted to pull, so I just decided to give it a chance and to go for it, and somehow I found some power and I made it.
"I don’t know what happened in the back but I was so nervous, I was just pulling. I don’t know how many watts I pulled but it was more than I ever did. Now I am so happy, and a thousand thanks to my team for supporting me the whole week."
Van Garderen also had a good day and was well protected by his teammates. Nibali tried to split the race at several points but he didn't quite have it, and perhaps the conditions weren't quite tough enough for the Italian, as they had been last year.
Froome hands over yellow to Martin but keeps his advantage on GC over his main rivals intact.
Martin now leads the race by 12 seconds from Froome:
General classification after stage 4
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step 12:40:26
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:12
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 00:00:25
4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 00:00:38
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:00:39
6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:40
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:00:46
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:00:48
9 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:01:15
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:01:16
Martin didnt win on his bike, did he? He was still riding a bike from a teammate, Trentin.
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step 05:28:58
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 00:00:03
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN - Qhubeka
6 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team Katusha
8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
9 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
10 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
Martin takes the stage, Degenkolb second and Sagan in third.
He's going to take the stage and the yellow jersey.
500m to go as Martin gets out of the saddle as the road gently rises.
Martin has less than 1000m to go. He looks sure to take the stage and win yellow after the day.
2km to go for Martin and he has around a six second gap. Giant have put three men on the front but they're struggling to bring him back.
Giant have moveed to the front and started to set the pace
Martin has around 50m with 2.7km to go.
Giant and Cofidis have to chase this one down.
And with 3.3.km to go Tony Martin has attacked.
Pinot's group are now at 3'03. Rolland and Kristoff are also in that group.
Sagan checks on Contador and they share a few words. There are a number of sprinters in the group so if Martin wants yellow he has to attack before the line.
Cavendish and Mollema are also in the first group.
It looks like Bouhanni is there. Froome though is second wheel.
It looks like Talansky is in the first group too as Thomas lines things out with 5km to go.
Rodrgiuez is there. Peraud has made it too.
No sign of Cavendish or Bouhanni at the moment. Tony Martin is there. Will he attack?
Quintana, Froome, Contador and Nibali all in the front group of around 35 riders with 7.2km to go. Sagan and Degenkolb are there.
Contador is now right on Froome's wheel.
Saxo are trying to bring it all back together. Van Garderen made that front group. 8km to go and Tinkoff Saxo have brought it all back together.
Degenkolb is in the first group but it looks like it's all coming back together.
Nibali and Valverde are in the front group and Froome has attacked.
Contador and a large group are at 10 seconds with Sagan trying to pull it all back together.
The cobbles are done with but will Froome be able to put more time into his rivals on the cobbles? Thomas is on the front of the small group that includes Froome.
Contador is not there but Thomas is there.
Froome is coming over to him with Nibali. Quintana is right at the back of the group.
Nibali has stretched the field but he can't force a split. Now Stybar has gone clear and he has a gap with 11.1km to go.
And again Nibali hits the front and it's a huge turn of speed from the Italian.
Contador is a little further back in the main group but he has his teammates around him, including Sagan.
The big four are all in the mix, Valverde too.
BMC set the pace onto the final sector of cobbles. It's 2300m in length.
Bouhanni is in the main group too and he has teammates around him.
14km to go and we are about to hit the last sector of cobbles. Roche is leading Thomas, who is leading Froome.
Martin and Vanmarcke have rejoined the lead group after a quick chase. Pinot is 2'17 down on the peloton.
Martin is on Trentin's bike and he's chasing. Pinot slams his bike on the group, he's furious as IAM set the pace.
And Pinto has another mechanical. His Tour de France is faling apart on the cobbles.
Tony Martin has a puncture too.
And now Vanmarcke has punctured.
19km to go and one last sector of cobbles to comes. Most of the GC riders are present and in this lead group.
The dust is so thick out there as we see Pinot finally have help from a mechanic. This is a huge blow for his podium chances - the second one in two days.
Still Oss on the front with a Tinkoff rider just behind him. Vanmarcke hasnt moved out of the top three for most of the cobbled sectors.
Pinot is in real trouble at the moment and he's starting to lose ground, he has a problem with his bike.
Pinot is right at the back of the group.
It's Oss once more with Froome trying to move up.
Now it's Bennatti on the front , Mollema is there too.
And again Van Marcke sets the pace.
BMC and Tinkoff set the pace with their respective leaders neatly tucked in. Martin is there, so is Froome, Quintana and Degenkolb, Sagan and Kristoff as we hit the second to last sector of cobbles.
That section is done, so we have two sectors to go.
Giant hit the front now with Contador in around 5th wheel.
This is causing problems as Nibali, with 25km to go is forcing a split. It looks like Froome, Contador and Quintana have made it and now the bunch is coming back together.
And now Nibali sets the pace.
Nibali and Gallopin in a close call but they both stay upright.
Froome has moved up to Thomas's wheel as we start the next sector. Van Marcke on the front again.
Froome does need to move up though as he lost a few places right there. Contador is near the front as we see Peraud losing ground.
Froome gets a bit of a nudge but he holds it together.
Peraud is also in the main field but Rui Costa is right at the back. He cant afford to hang around there with the next sector of cobbles fast approaching.
As we see Astana move up, with what's left of their team as we move towards the next sector of cobbles. There are three left.
LottoNL have put four men on the front but the situation is constantly changing. Dennis is in the second group.
Greipel and Kristoff have made it back to the main field. Pinot and Rui Costa are also there. Rolland has put Europcar on the front of the second group on the road.
The second group has already lost 2'35 as we hear that Kristoff had a puncture.
Boassan Hagen is stll there as Contador follows van Garderen.
Pinot is near the back of the group as BMC carry on at the front with Van Avermaet leading the peloton. Thomas is sticking right next to Froome.
Kristoff is off the back and chasing.
Barguil is in the lead group, another great ride from him so far today.
As we see Daniel Oss line the bunch out. Griepel is starting to lose ground now.
35km to go and the peloton is down to less than 50 riders.
Froome is right on Nibali's wheel.
Van Marcke is in second wheel as Astana again take control.
Rolland is off the back as BMC set the pace on sector four.
BMC are bringing van Garderen to the front of the peloton now too. The world champion is starting to struggle at the back of the peloton though.
Cavendish is here, so is Rowe, Thomas, Froome, and the other GC favourites. In fact it's Cavendish who is setting the pace right now, for Tony Martin.
Valverde is up there - as is Contador. And so is Quintana. Off the pave now. Etixx go like the clappers.
@VeloVoices Tue, 7th Jul 2015 15:46:28
Etixx are now on the front with a number of Giant riders there for Degenkolb.
Back onto the road sections and the peloton is lined out, about 50 riders in the lead group with 38km to go.
There are still a few spots of rain as we see a few Giant jerseys in there. Contador is sat on Sagan's wheel as we see Quintana in the lead group too.
And it's Martin who brings it all back together but the race is falling apart under the pressure from Astana. Contador and Froome are both right near the front.
Stybar joins them, so does Van Marcke and Froome is chasing.
Onto the third from seven sectors with Astana pushing to the front. It's just brutal as Boom goes forward with Nibali on his wheel.
As Froome and his team now set the pace, the break about to be caught with 40km to go.
Cannondale are leading a chase group, where Martin and Talansky may be. Konig is also in that chase group.
The next sector of cobbles is just 2km away as we see Contador move to the front.
Van Garderen is with the favourties as more and more riders rejoin the field. It's at about 60-70 riders.
Sagan is riding for Contador here and the Spaniard has support. No sign of Quitana yet but LottoNL set the pace. The break have just ten seconds with 43km to go.
And Astana takes over the pace as they reach the next section of tarmac.
Stannard is with Froome, Nibali is there and Contador.
Etixx now on the front with Tony Martin but the main peloton has been split as they comes through that sector. Where is Contador?
There are splits all over the place and now Vanmarcke leads the peloton.
The World champion leads the bunch onto the sector.
And Froome is now moving up and Contador needs to follow suit. The dust is being kicked up, the gap at just 30 seconds.
The rain is falling again but it's only light for now. In some ways that makes it worse as it just makes the road greasy.
Onto sector 6 for the four leader, their advantage at 48 seconds.
Thomas is looking around for Froome but the race leader needs to move up, and fast.
Froome needs to move up, as we hear that Scarponi was in that Martin crash.
It's Astana setting the pace now with Nibali in third wheel, the next sector of cobbles just 2km away from the main field.
The road are damp and that's Dowsett down, with a cut elbow. He's getting back on his bike, thankfully.
And there's another crash and it's a Movistar rider down.
The break have just one minute left of their advantage though and we're not yet on the second sector of cobbles.
Team Sky are now off the front but Froome is in the middle of the peloton, riding safe.
Froome is in the main field but Contador has lost Tosatto to a puncture.
And there's a crash in the bunch. Dan Martin is down. Porte is caught up too and the peloton has start to splinter. An Astana rider has come down just now too.
Tinkoff and Team Sky are looking to control the bunch the bunch but it's becoming more and more hectic out there.
And there's a right hand and this is where the wind will change and the rain is starting to fall as well.
It looks like a slight headwind at the moment but that could change to a cross wind just before the next sector of the cobbles.
The wind is picking up and that's why the teams with GC hopes are moving to the front. Nibali, Contador, Quitana and Froome are all near the front.
The gap is holding at 2'55 with 60km to go.
Remember you can pick up our latest Tour de France podcast, right here.
This morning in Seraing we asked Etixx-QuickStep team manager Patrick Lefevre about yesterday’s tweet in which he put the race neutralization in question. "It’s a dangerous precedent. If tomorrow a rider crashes into a ravine. Will we stop the race?” Lefevre wondered. “I’m the only one who dares to speak out. You saw on TV that in the race Movistar, Astana and Sky wanted to race. The men from Movistar were hindered in a crash in Rotterdam and lost more than a minute. It’s in my character to swim against the tide. It the crash hadn’t been caught by camera’s the race wouldn’t have been stopped. I still wonder when they’re going to stop the race and when they won’t do it.”
20km to go until the next sector of cobbles, which is 1200m in length. Paolini his bringing up Kristoff with Porte still on the front for Team Sky - the Australian has been doing a huge amount of work for Chris Froome today.
The pace is starting to hot up once more with Basso moving Tinkoff to the front and Movistar doing the same. All the GC riders are having to move up and fight for position ahead of the next sector of cobbles.
The four leaders continue to share the workload with Westra drifting towards the back for now. De Gendt is taking a turn on the front with the gap at 2'55.
Another tangle of wheels with AG2r involved but Vuillermoz has a new bike and his chasing.
78km to go and the break are at 2'33, as we see the bunch thin out as the road narrows. They're all through without any concern though.
At the front of the peloton we see Dan Martin riding out of trouble, and keeping safe. The Irishman is out of contract at the end of the season.
There was a crash in the field but everyone appears to be up and running again.
This morning Astana's Lars Boom said that he and team leader Vincenzo Nibali would ride the first pavé sector on their normal bike. "The cobbles aren't super bad. If that sector goes well we might stay on it otherwise we'll switch to our Roubaix-bike. The penultimate sector might be decisive." Regarding team tactics Boom was clear. "My role is to have Vincenzo on my wheel. We'll try to take time. We've got a tactical plan. We can both win the stage. Unknowingly I'm very motivated because of what happened and because of last year's victory."
Some of the Etixx-QuickStep started the stage in Seraing on Roubaix-bikes, some didn't. Golas, Martin, Renshaw, Trentin and Vermote were on a Roubaix-bike. The other riders were scheduled to switch before the first pavé sector or to stay on their normal bike.
Stybar was a much-requested rider this morning. He had two missions. "I 'll certainly go for the stage win but the yellow for Tony Martin is most important. The cobbles aren't like Roubaix and rain doesn't make them much more difficult as there's only one left-hand turn. I'm ok to do a sprint with John Degenkolb. An uphill sprint suits me better," Stybar said.
About another 35km to go until we reach the next sector of cobbles and Team Sky are back on the front of the peloton and setting the pace. Movistar are alongside them.
Cavendish takes fifth with Greipel two places further back. Nicely done by the Etixx rider who made it look easy.
Coquard is being led out as the break start to contest the sprint. De Gent takes it with Brun second.
Who are you tippng for today's stage? Let us know on Twitter at @dnlbenson
We're now expecting rain on the cobbles for later in the stage.
Bouhanni is also moving up on the left hand side of the bunch with a full quota of Cofidis riders.
The gap is down to 2'58 as we see Greipel and Degenkolb move up. CAvendish gives the order for Etixx to do the same and the British rider really needs the points in order to get his challenge for Green up and running.
Uran had a problem with his bike, having just changed, but he's being moved back to the peloton by a teammate. Uran has gone under the radar so far in the race but is looking strong at the moment.
Dry and little wind at this point in the race but theres's talk of showers coming later in the stage. It's still a while until we see the next sector of cobbles. We do have the intermediate sprint coming up soon, however.
Westra makes contact with the main break so we're back up to four leaders at the front of the race.
Boom has also changed bikes as the pace in the main field slows, the gap to the break up to 3'33.
The peloton have now gone through the feedzone with Team Sky still on the front. Westra has now changed bikes as well. He's up the road in case Astana need him later.
Uran and Quintana also changed their bikes at the same time as Alberto Contador.
The gap continues to grow With Team SKy under no pressure to chase at this sttage.
Nibali has to jump onto the pavement for a brief moment but he's back in the main field as Richie Porte sets the pace for Team Sky.
The peloton have eased and the gap to the break has moved out to 2'06.
And with 111km to go Contador has changed his bike, just after the first sector of cobbles.
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Tosatto now sets the pace at the front of the bunch, with Contador a few places further back. The gap to the break is at 54 seconds with 117km to go.
The leaders exit the first sector, with a lead of 58 seconds as we see Nibali move close to the front.
It's Cavendish leading the peloton for teammate Tony Martin.
These cobbles aren't that tough but it's about positioning as we see Etixx now on the front of the peloton.
The four leaders are about to hit the first stretch of cobbles, but their lead is down to 1'10.
Froome is now back on Kennaugh's wheel, with the British champion looking strong at the moment. Cannondale have also moved up as they look to protect their GC interests in the race.
Kelderman is losing ground though, his Tour is getting worse by the day.
The peloton is starting to come back together but it's totally strung out as Contador moves up, along with van Garderen.
The gap to the break is down to 1'57 and there are a number of groups out on the road now as Team Sky split the field. They're doing it with Astana and BMC is close attendance.
Gallopin is another rider losing ground, Stannard too, both a surprise as we start to see cross winds pick up with 124km to go.
And already there are splits at the back of the people. Majka is one rider who is slipping back although we dont know if he has a mechanical problem. The first sector of cobbles is 1.8km in length.
Froome has moved into second place at the moment, as he looks to keep out of trouble.
Nibali, for now is just behind Team Sky, and has two men with him from Astana, Boom and Fuglsang will be key for the defending champoin as Poels sets the pace for the peloton. It's flat out now as we head into the first sector of cobbles.
And there's no rain yet but there's talk of late showers coming, with the peloton around 5km from the first section of cobbles.
Chris Froome is neatly tucked in at the back of the Team Sky train. The question is whether he will pass on yellow to Tony Martin and Etixx today in order for Team Sky to save energy for the coming days.
At the front of the peloton it's Team Sky making the biggest contribution to the pace making cutting the lead of the break down to just a tick over three minutes
Michael Matthews is right at the back of the peloton of the moment
91km covered and the advantage is now under four minutes for the four leaders
With 89km raced and approaching the halfway mark of the stage, the four riders out in front have had their advantage trimmed to 4:17 minutes.
A reminder of the pave, there is 13.3km in total spread across 7 sectors
We are getting the first live pictures of today's stage. Lot's of bandages riders in the peloton today
The pace has picked up in the peloton who have quickly shaved over 30 seconds off the breakaway's lead with their advantage down to 4:45 minutes
The advantage of the breakaway is now hovering around the five minute mark
The riders have been out on the road for two hours now. They have covered 79km at an average speed of 39.4km/h
Along with the Bretagne-Séché Environnement riders, we should see several other riders swap bikes before we start the 7 pave sectors
Vincenzo Nibali put in a ride for ages over the cobbles at the 2014 Tour. The GC men will be watching the 'Shark' who is sure to attack and is favoured by having teammate Westra in the break just as he was last year
The advantage of the four riders is back under 6 minutes and dropping
There are reports that the wind is starting to pick up on the finish line
The four-man breakaway has seen its lead cut down to 6:30 minutes with the peloton starting to reel them in as he get closer to reaching France
We spotted a prototype Stages power meter on the race bike of Team Sky's Tour de France hope Chris Froome. Click here to read more
The next feature of stage 4 is the intermediate sprint point in Havay at kilometre 135
The gap to the breakaway has come down under 8 minutes thanks to the presence of Team Sky on the front of the peloton
Austrian champion Marco Haller is struggling at the rear of the peloton
After 60km of racing, the breakaway's advantage is now 8:25 minutes with the peloton currently on the Namur climb
Thomas De Gendt wins the sole KOM point of the day
Michael Matthews was one of five Orica-GreenEdge riders to crash yesterday but has started stage 4. Click here to see what the Tour debutant had to say this morning
The one-day GP Wallonia race finishes in front of Namur's citadel which the peloton is fast approaching
Giant-Alpecin have come to the front with the breakaway on the early slopes of the climb
Yesterday during stage 3 the news came through that MPCC had temporarily suspend Astana. If you missed the news, click here to find the full story
In 8km, we will arrive at the sole categorised climb of today's stage, the cat 4 Côte de la Citadelle de Namur.
The Tour de France has never finished in Cambrai before although has twice been the host for a stage start. In 2004 José Luis Rubiera won a time trial from the French city to Arras while in 2010 Alessandro Petacchi won the stage to Reims.
The LottoNL-Jumbo team are looking to deliver Sep Vanmarcke to stage victory today. Click here to find out their tactics for the cobbles
Chris Froome may have crashed out on the cobbled stage 5 of last year's race but he didn't even get within sight of the first sector. Sky are confident the yellow jersey will still be his by the end of the stage. Click here to read how the team are approaching the stage.
The breakaways margin has just tipped over 8 minutes
The four man break are riding off into the sunset, their advantage is out to 7:40 minutes after 37km of racing
Stage 4 is the 15th day that Chris Froome has worn the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, a new British record. That puts him level with 1988 champion Pedro Delgado in equal 32nd place on the table of riders to have worn yellow
Perrig Quemeneur is the best placed rider on GC in this group but started the day 10:42 minutes down on Froome so this break has been given plenty of freedom as a result.
Peter Sagan is in the best young riders's jersey today
The break is now out to five-and-a-half minutes after 25km of racing
There are seven pave sectors today, six of those are in France. Here they are in full;Sector 7 Pont à Celles (101.5km)Sector 6 Artres (175km )Sector 5 Quérénaing (180.5km)Sector 4 Verchain-Maugré (185.5km)Sector 3 St Python (195.5km)Sector 2 Quiévy (198km)Sector 1 Carnières (208.5km)
BMC's main man Tejay van Garderen starts stage 4 third on GC, 13 seconds down in Chris Froome. He had a few words to say on how he sees the stage playing out.
"We couldn’t have hoped for much better but it’s still early in the race and anything can still happen, we have to just keep on doing what we’re doing. The cobbles aren’t really my speciality but we’ve got four or five guys on this bus and it is their speciality and I think they’ll do a really good job of guiding me through it. All we can do is stay at the front and try to avoid any mishaps. When you get to the cobbles you just have to ride hard. It’s more about positioning into the cobbles because it’s such a narrow road and so bumpy that if you get caught in a bad position, even if you have the strongest legs in the world, you’re not going to see the front of the race. The second section of cobbles heading into the last 50k is probably going to be the most crucial.
"It’s always better to be one step ahead than fighting from behind. If we can keep going in this way into the Pyrenees we’ll be really happy."
Johan Vansummeren (AG2R-La Mondiale) was one of the riders to fall heavily yesterday, losing a lot of skin. He told letour.com that he didn't sleep very well as a result.
"I've had a bad night. I know the first 100 kilometres will be hard today. After that, I hope it'll be all right. I was involved in the second crash after the big one. When you crash at 80km/h with the heat, tyres explode. My role today is to accompany my leaders but in the finale, if I see a possibility to go away with one or two riders who aren't dangerous on GC, I'll go for it."
For the first time in this year's Tour de France, the breakaway's advantage has gone out over four minutes
The new GoPro Hero4 Session is making its Tour de France debut today. Simon Geschke will one of them on his bike today. We have details on the smaller aero version camera which you can read by clicking here
This is the second breakaway of the Tour for Perrig Quemeneur who made it into the stage 1 break.
BMC team boss Jim Ochowicz shared his thoughts this morning on the chances of Greg Van Avermaet having a free role to go for the stage win.
"That’ll be called during the race depending on what’s going on. If there’s a big break going up the road and we have to do some chasing he’ll have to get in there and help. He’s not going to have total freedom but when they let him loose it’ll be for the right reason. And if they do, you never know."
The gap keeps on growing and is now out to 3:55 minutes with 11km raced
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The four leaders have been given the green light by the peloton and are out to a 2"05 minute advantage after 8km or racing. It's the third four-man break we've had in three road stages.
Michael Matthews had a few words with letour before the start of stage 4. Here's what he had to say.
"It was really hard yesterday. I went into the ambulance and they said I might have broken ribs. Only after the X ray did we find what the damage actually is. I have some contusions to my ribs. Luckily the cobbles are only in the last 50 km. My goal is just to get to the cobbles and see how it goes and make the time cut basically. It's been motivating for me to try and keep my head up.
"The injuries are bad but no bad enough to really pull out. Peter Weening is going to stay with me. I have faith in him to help me out today. Through the night last night, I was really struggling to breathe. That wasn't great. I had little panic attacks I could not breathe, it was quite scary."
The first images of Chris Froome in the yellow jersey have landed
After 4km or racing, the four-man break has established a lead of 40 seconds
The flag has dropped with Lieuwe Westra (Astana) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) launching an attack. They have been joined by Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar) and Frédéric Brun (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) to create a four-man break
Yesterday's stage winner Joaquim Rodríguez has a verbal agreement to stay with Katusha for another two seasons. Dani Moreno is on his way out though. Click here for the full story
Yesterday's stage winner Joaquim Rodríguez has a verbal agreement to stay with Katusha for another two seasons. Dani Moreno is on his way out though. Click here for the full story
Philippe, King of Belgium, cut the ribbon today on the start line for stage 4
Click here for a full preview, and video, of today's stage including a tactical explainer
Andreas Schillinger (Bora-Argon 18) is another non-starter today but it is an infection rather than injury forcing the withdrawal
The clock has ticked over to midday and the riders have moved into the neutral zone for the start of stage 4
And here is the profile of stage 4 for you to look over
The Tour de France arrives in France today at kilometre 137, crossing the border at Havay. The peloton will first encounter the only categorised climb of the day - the Côte de la Citadelle de Namur - and one sector of pave in Belgium. Here's the map of stage 4 to look over
Fabian Cancellara 29th day in the Tour's yellow jersey looks like being his last appearance at the race as the Trek rider was forced to abandon the race with two transverse process fractures in two vertebrae bones in his lower back. Click here for the full details on his injuries.
The Netherlands was looking for its first yellow jersey in 26 years via Tom Dumoulin yesterday only for disaster to strike with the Giant-Alpecin rider abandoning the race. Dumoulin had a few words to say after the stage which you read by clicking here
While he may be known as the 'Gorilla', André Greipel has looked more like Kermit the frog recently in the green points jersey aboard a custom painted Noah SL. We took a look at the bike along with some of the more interesting road tech at this year's race which you can see by clicking here
Orica-GreenEdge were one the team's hit hardest in yesterday's crash, losing both Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey to injury. Simon Yates finishing eighth in a rare highlight for the team on an otherwise disastrous day. We spoke to directeur sportif Matt White after the stage and this is what he had to say.
Team Sky will be riding its Dogma K8-S 'suspension' bikes today at the Tour. We had a close look at Luke Rowe's bike which you can see by clicking here.
It wasn't a great day yesterday for FDJ as the team lost William Bonnet in a the high-speed crash and GC man Thibaut Pinot conceded 1:33 to Chris Froome and is now almost three minutes behind the Sky rider. Here's what the Frenchman had to say after the stage
As we countdown to the start of stage 4, have a listen to episode 4 of the Cyclingnews Tour de France podcast by clicking here for reaction from stage 3 and a look ahead to what's expected on the cobbles
2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome became the third rider to pull on the yellow jersey at the race yesterday much to his own surprise. You can read his post-stage comments by clicking here
We had our first withdrawals from the 2015 edition of the race yesterday with a mass pile up ending the race for several riders, including Fabian Cancellara who was in the yellow jersey. Click here to find out the list of injured riders