From Dax to Nogaro, the Tour de France riders certainly did not experience the most intense stage of the next three weeks. A proper transition day took place on Tuesday, on stage 4. The final kilometres on the Nogaro circuit proved livelier before Jasper Philipsen took another win, but David Gaudu and his teammates were classified in the winner’s time. On Wednesday, the Tour de France will enter the Pyrenees for two crucial days.
This Tuesday, on the Tour de France, there was not a single man to venture in the lead in a 181-kilometer stage made for the sprinters. As a consequence, shortly after leaving the city of Dax, the peloton remained all together and then set an easy pace for nearly 90 kilometres. “We are doing the Tour of France”, pointed out Quentin Pacher. “There are mountainous stages and there are also flat, transition stages. They have always existed, and you need to enjoy them when they happen, especially given the two stages coming up and following a tough start to the Tour. We could expect such a scenario.” “It has been years since we had experienced a real transition stage like this”, claimed Philippe Mauduit. “I think the peloton was happy with it and needed it”. Many smiles were seen in the first half of the race, before things got a bit more nervous at the intermediate sprint. Right after, Benoît Cosnefroy and Anthony Delaplace finally took the lead. “Being on the Tour is still exciting because there is a huge crowd, and it is always fun to ride these roads even if we go a little slower”, added Quentin. “You need to take advantage of these calmer moments to save as much energy as possible. We get busy, we talk, but the race also takes over in the final. We also know that when it’s calm at the beginning, it’s nervous and fast at the end. There is time for everything”.
“We get to the serious of things”, Philippe Mauduit
The day’s small breakaway was eventually reeled in before the last twenty kilometres, then the tension increased as expected. However, no incident occurred before entering the Nogaro circuit, where stage 4 was supposed to finish. On the other hand, crashes followed one another once entering the track, fortunately located in the last three kilometres. A few contenders for the day’s victory touched the ground and Jasper Philipsen took the win again. The Groupama-FDJ riders finished a few seconds later but were given the winner’s time. “We managed to avoid the crashes and we will be satisfied with that”, said Philippe. “The circuit was a bit dangerous, the corners were really tight for a bunch sprint finish but you have to adapt”. After four days of racing on the Tour, David Gaudu sits in eleventh position overall, twenty-two seconds behind the leader Adam Yates, and in the same time as the seventh. The mountain is now coming up. “Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, we get to the serious of things with the Pyrenees”, added Philippe. “We will know more at the end of these two stages”. “The bunch will arrive with a little freshness, and it will be two great Pyrenean stages”, added Quentin. “Even if there is no huge summit finish, I think there will be a fight between the favorites”. On Wednesday, the finish will be located in Laruns after the climb of the Col du Soudet (15 km at 7%) halfway through, and that of the Col de Marie-Blanque (7.8 km at 8.4%), just over twenty kilometres from the line.