Bryan Coquard has been impressive so far this year, will he shine in the jewel of the French calendar? Photo Sirotti

It’s back-to-back sprint opportunities for the field in stage 4 of the Tour de France.  But one must note that the little pinch up towards the line will make things just a little interesting for the pure sprinters.  Timing, as ever, is of the essence!

Stage 4: Saumur to Limoges – 237.5 kilometres

The longest stage of the 2016 tour will see the peloton tackle the 237.5 kilometre slog from Saumur to Limoges, with an almost inevitable bunch gallop at the end. The final couple of hundred metres to pitch up at around five per cent, so although not a climb it could open the door to a surprise winner.

Short of an intermediate sprint at 170 kilometres and a category four bump at 182 kilometres the stage will be dominated by thoughts of the mountains that lie ahead in stage 5. The traditional story of an epic early break which is swamped by the sprinters’ teams in the final couple of kilometres looks set to play out once more. However, now and then they do get it wrong, so look for optimists (and fools) to make their way into the break in pursuit of a sniff at stage glory.


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