Colombia's Fernando Gaviria, right, crosses the finish line to win the fourth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 195 kilometers (121 miles) with start in La Baule and finish in Sarzeau, France, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Slovakia's Peter Sagan, left, finished second and Germany's Andre Greipel, center, third. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena )

Gaviria claims 2nd Tour win on Stage 4, Froome safe in pack

July 10, 2018 - 12:39 pm

SARZEAU, France (AP) — Colombia's Fernando Gaviria took his second win in four stages at the Tour de France on Tuesday, while Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet kept the yellow leader's jersey.

Gaviria won Stage 4 after edging world champion Peter Sagan in a sprint finish to the flat 195-kilometer (121-mile) leg from La Baule to Sarzeau that started and finished on the Atlantic coast.

The 23-year-old Gaviria had already won Stage 1 — when he also edged Sagan — on his Tour debut for his Quick-Step team.

Defending champion Chris Froome of Sky, who remained 55 seconds back due to his fall in Stage 1, finished safely in the pack with leader Van Avermaet.

After Quick-Step hunted down the breakaway to set up Gaviria, he powered his way down the final meters of the four-kilometer finish — the longest straightaway to conclude a leg on this Tour.

Gaviria surged across the line just inches ahead of the hard-charging Sagan, who was trying to add to his Stage 2 win, and Andre Greipel in a close third.

Riders were enjoying a calm sunny afternoon in the cycling hotbed of northwest Brittany until a pileup near the front of the peloton with just over 5K left that sent several riders to the tarmac. Last year's runner-up Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) and Katusha leader Ilnur Zakarin were slowed down by the accident.

Van Avermaet, the 2016 Olympic road race champion, took the overall lead when his BMC team won Monday's team time trial.

A four-man breakaway of Dimitri Claeys and Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty) and Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie) opened up a gap of over seven minutes early on, but they were slowly reeled in and swallowed by the Quick-Step led pack with 2 kilometers to go.

Fans cheered and waved the black-and-white striped Breton flag on the roadside as the peloton rolled through the country villages.

The Tour will spend three more days in northeastern Brittany. Next up is Stage 5, a hilly 204.5-kilometer leg from Lorient to Quimper.

Cycling's most prestigious race will then work its way east before hitting the feared cobblestones of Stage 9 and then heading south and into the mountains.

Froome, who was cleared of doping allegations last week, is trying to join the select group of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain as the only riders to win the Tour five times.

The three-week Tour ends July 29 in Paris.


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