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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, July 5, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven't committed. - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Dirty Feet: Early days of the Tour de France

Les Woodland's book Dirty Feet: How the Great Unwashed Created the Tour de France is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de France stage four reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Lotto Dstny's Jacopo Guarnieri crashes out of Tour

Here's the team's Faceboook post:

Unfortunately Jacopo Guarnieri is forced to leave the Tour de France due to his crash in the final today. Apart from a fractured collarbone, Jacopo has also incurred three minor rib fractures and lots of abrasions. Our Italian will undergo surgery in Herentals this week. The team wished Jacopo a speedy recovery.

Luis Leon Sanchez also has to leave Tour after crash

Here's Sanchez's Team Astana Qazaqstan's tweet:

Luis Leon Sanchez broke his left collarbone in the last kilometer of stage 4. Tomorrow he goes home to Spain where he will undergo an operation. Recover well, Luisle!

Here's the report from second-place Caleb Ewan's Team Lotto Dstny:

After a third place yesterday in Bayonne, Caleb Ewan sprinted to second place on the race circuit of Nogaro today. A relatively calm fourth stage in the Tour de France had a nail-biting apotheosis on the Paul Armagnac circuit. Lotto Dstny protected its sprinter Caleb Ewan perfectly in the final and made sure the Australian could enter the race circuit on the first rows. In a chaotic last couple of kilometres, Ewan dodged the crashes and came really close to victory with a powerful kick. Just like yesterday, the Lotto Dstny sprinter was beaten by Philipsen, although by a small difference this time.

A close finish between Jasper Philipsen & Caleb Ewan. Sirotti photo

“Once again I felt fast and I almost got the stage win”, says Caleb Ewan. “I know I’ve got the speed to win, but everything has to come together to do so. Although it’s a bitter second place, it’s nice to battle for the stage victory. I’m getting closer and I will keep on trying.”

In a hectic final, also teammate Jacopo Guarnieri crashed. “We knew it would be crucial to enter the circuit at the very front to stay out of trouble. The guys just did it perfectly and made sure that I could start my sprint relatively fresh.”

“With the crash of Jasper and also Jacopo coming down today, we again needed to change plans. If I’m surfing wheels in the sprint, I also need a bit of luck to win. Hopefully we can take on the next opportunities at full strength.”

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Here's the report from sixth-place Danny van Poppel's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

A bunch sprint was expected in today's fourth stage of the Tour de France from Dax to Nogaro and the sprinters' teams left no doubt from the beginning that they aimed to control the race. It took more than 60 km before two riders were able to break away, but their advantage never reached more than one minute. It therefore came to another showdown of the sprinters. BORA - hansarohe took the lead later compared to yesterday, but in the last two kilometres there were several crashes which interrupted the order of the sprint trains. Fortunately, all riders of the German team crossed the finish line safely, with Danny van Poppel taking sixth place, and Jasper Philipsen taking the win.

Bora-hansgrohe rider Jai Hindley before the stage start. Sirotti photo.

"Today the pace was pretty easy and not much happened until the sprint. Then on the track Jacobsen unfortunately crashed. I was a bit lucky there, because he turned right, but Jordi was caught up behind and we lost each other at that point. The team then told me to go for it. I tried to wait a long time because there was a headwind on the home straight. Sixth place is not bad, but we are here to fight for a win with Jordi. Actually, our timing was much better today, but because of the crashes, all the good preparatory work unfortunately went unrewarded." - Danny Van Poppel

"The most important thing is that we got through without crashing. The stage was pretty easy and that is often the problem when there is a sprint at the end, because everyone is very fresh and is able to hold on. Of course it's very unfortunate when riders get injured. Jordi was right there when Jakobsen went down, he likely jumped over the wheel and was certainly lucky in that respect. We told Danny to give it a try and sixth place isn’t bad. With Jordi on the bike, a lot would have been possible today, but as I said, it could have been worse for Jordi. So we are happy to take the day as it went." - Rolf Aldag, Sports Director

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Here’s the race report from Wout van aert’s Team Jumbo-Visma:
Team Jumbo-Visma eyes mountains in Tour de France after new bunch sprint
Wout van Aert finished the fourth stage of the Tour de France in the top ten again. In the hectic final phase on the Nogano circuit, the Belgian didn't manage to catch up with his teammates. This left him in a less-than-ideal position as he turned onto the long final straight. Van Aert had to settle for ninth place.

Jonas Vingegaard before the stage start. Sirotti photo

Very little happened on the way to the Nogano circuit. In the last ten kilometres, however, the pace picked up considerably. Team Jumbo-Visma, with leader Jonas Vingegaard, could stay out of the frenzy thanks to its good position at the front of the peloton.

Sports Director Grischa Niermann: "We were in an ideal position with the whole team. Unfortunately, Wout just missed the connection. He lost the wheel of his teammates. Ultimately, he managed to move up a few places, but fighting for victory was no longer possible."

"It was a day where very little happened", Niermann continued. "The final, however, was quite hectic. Fortunately, we stayed out of trouble as a team. That is perhaps the most important thing on a day like this. As a team, we kept our leader Jonas in the safe zone. He turned onto the track second. That looked good. The following two days, we head into the Pyrenees. The team is riding well, and we are in good shape. We are ready for the battle that will undoubtedly flare up again in the next few days."

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And here’s the report from Fabio Jakobsen’s Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Starting from the spa town of Dax, where Wim Van Est became the first Dutchman to wear the yellow jersey in 1951, stage four saw the riders spend the entire day in the Landes Department. The 181.8km course wasn’t pan-flat, but the undulating roads didn’t pose a problem to the sprinters’ teams, who easily controlled the breakaway that formed only after the intermediate sprint, bringing it back with twenty kilometers to go.

For the first time since 1989, when Raul Alcala prevailed in Spa, a Tour de France stage concluded on a racing circuit, and the closing kilometers in Nogaro were more hectic than on a regular finish, three crashes taking place as more and more teams and sprinters made their way to the front of the group. Fabio Jakobsen was among those to hit the ground in the first incident and lost any chance to fight for victory, which went to Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck). Fortunately, the European Champion got back on his bike and concluded the stage a couple of minutes behind the bunch.

Here's what Fabio Jakobsen wanted to do. This pic is of Jakobsen winning 2022 Tour stage 2. Sirotti photo.

“Today was chaos out there and the crash of Fabio was a hard one. The bike was in three pieces, so he really went down hard. At the moment, he has a lot of abrasions. It’s not an ideal situation, especially with the two hard stages coming now, but Fabio is a real fighter”, said Soudal Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels.

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