Fernando Gaviria won Stage 4 of the 2018 Tour de France on Tuesday to clinch his second stage victory of this year’s competition, although BMC Racing’s Greg van Avermaet retained the yellow jersey.
Green jersey-wearer Peter Sagan timed a late sprint well to take second behind, while Lotto Soudal rider Andre Greipel fell away late to finish the 195-kilometre trip from La Baule to Sarzeau in third.
A sprint between that trio required a photo finish to ascertain whether Gaviria had succeeded in doubling his tally of Tour stage wins, per Cycling Central:
Gaviria sent a statement to the rest of the field, although it wasn’t sufficient to knock Van Avermaet from the summit of the classification, per ITV Cycling:
Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas finished 30th on Tuesday but did enough to keep pace overall and stay third in the race for the yellow jersey—three seconds behind Belgian Van Avermaet.
The Welshman fared better than Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome, who ended up 41st among the pack in Stage 4 to keep the four-time champions 17th overall.
Maximiliano Richeze delivered a perfect ride-along performance for Quick-Step comrade Gaviria, powering him past the Dimension Data team and into the forefront for a challenge on the stage victory.
The Colombian star took care of the rest and edged a frantic last-gasp battle with Sagan for the No. 1 spot, crossing the line first after Greipel had fallen off with an admirable late push of his own, via NBCSN (U.S. only):
There was late drama in the peloton when a crash saw half the field forced to stop while clean-up efforts were made to clear the route, while those in the bunch who survived remained 26 seconds off the breakaway.
Fortunately for Gaviria, that danger was behind him and allowed the 23-year-old to finish ahead of the bunch, with a chance now for the rookie to further etch his name in the Tour history books:
Mark Cavendish was the man flying the flag for Dimension Data early on and looked like his pace might have resulted in contention for the stage, but perhaps the energy cost in Monday’s time trial caught up to him.
His race ended in what appeared to be exhaustion, and a mid-race run to retrieve his radio provided an unwelcome distraction (U.S. only):
Fellow Britons Froome and Thomas didn’t fare any better but will have ended Stage 4 close to content with their results, nestled among a pack in which Van Avermaet was also happy to reside.
Gaviria will continue to turn heads if he can win a third stage in France this summer, with the rookie again proving his mettle on Tuesday as Quick-Step’s challenge on the Tour title took a turn for the better.