Tour de France Women: stage four to Bar-sur-Aube – live! | Tour de France Women

64km to go: Demey, as part of the breakaway trio positioning themselves for the impending twisty gravel section, takes the full points in the sprint ahead of Asencio. That leading three have a gap of around 2:20 from the peloton. Vos picked up a handy nine points there.

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Here’s the full details:

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1. Demey, 25 pts
2. Asencio, 20 pts
3. Demay, 17 pts
4. Wiebes, 15 pts
5. Confalonieri, 13 pts
6. Kopecky, 11 pts
7. Georgi, 10 pts
8. Vos, 9 pts
9. Swinkels, 8 pts
10. Paladin, 7 pts
11. Korevaar, 6 pts
12. Amialiusik, 5 pts
13. Balsamo, 4 pts
14. Vollering, 3 pts
15. Van Dijk, 2 pts

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Afternoon everyone, and welcome to what could be a pivotal, and will certainly be a challenging, stage of the Tour de France Femmes. It’s been a pretty compelling race so far and though we may not be that surprised to find Marianne Vos in the yellow jersey, she’s had to work hard for it, and she was thrillingly overhauled yesterday by Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, the Danish rider recovering brilliantly from her stage two horror show.

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Ludwig should be reasonably well suited to today’s stage too, which is a demanding one, featuring gravel sectors and five categorised climbs before a fast descent into the winding streets of Bar-sur-Aube at the finish. Vos will be expected to hold on to her overall lead but Canyon-SRAM’s Kasia Niewiadoma, who’s third in the GC standings, and the Paris-Roubaix winner Elisa Longo Borghini might also be in the mix.

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The riders roll off around 12pm BST/1pm CET. Stay tuned.

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Key events

29km to cover: Excellent work by the irrepressible Cecilie Ludwig, who makes up for lost ground and arrives less than 20 seconds behind the peloton. Unfortunately for Niewiadoma, however, who suffered a puncture. Gravel sections pull runners out as expected. But it set up a potential thrilling finish. They are twenty in the leading group.

Chemin du plateau de Blu was the longest stretch of white road on today's stage. European Champion and World Hour Record holder @ellenvdijk drove the pace over the 4,400m stretch, averaging 26.9km/h #TDFF #TDFFdata pic.twitter.com/XLhsPNWKn8

— letourdata (@letourdata) July 27, 2022

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33km to cover: Well, Grace Brown passed in front, but tried to slow down the pace to help her FDJ Suez Futuroscope teammates. Then Van Dijk and Vollering took the lead. And Vos is still in the lead group. Margarita Garcia meanwhile also has to replace a wheel and is struggling to join the peloton. It’s one hell of a shakeout.

35 km to cover: In the bowl of gravel dust we start again, a headwind of 13km/h not helping, and the attack of SD Worx, led by Lotte Kopecky, as Demay is caught. Yesterday’s winner, Cecilie Ludwig, has to replace a wheel. Vittoria Guazzini comes to her aid.

39km to cover: The peloton regroups with Damay’s lead now of around 45 seconds as the third gravel section – a 4.4km no less – looms as it approaches Essoyes.

44km to cover: Moving on to the next gravel section, and visibility as well as mobility is hampered by clouds of dust kicked up from the surface – and there appears to be a close-up, rather than an accident, of four bikes, including the one of Van Vleuten, but they manage to unclip. The peloton is considerably fragmented, with Ellen van Dijk in front. Demay is still alone at the head of the course.

48km to cover: Demey was dropped on the first climb, and Asencio could not keep up with Demay on this one, and she took all the QOM points and accelerated down the descent, establishing an advantage of around 20 seconds. Behind them, the South African Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio climbs strongly forward in a climb that promises to be diabolical.

50 km to cover: Back a little on smoother roads, before another big climb, on the Côte de val des Clos, and the gap between the leading group and the yellow jersey group of the peloton stabilizes around 1h05. This group of three is now two, Asencio and Demay, Demey having been abandoned.

Platoon
Photography: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

The Côte de Celles-sur-Ource points

⛰️ Côte de Celles-sur-Ource (Cat. 3) ⛰️

1️⃣ 🇫🇷Laura Asencio, 3 pts
2️⃣ 🇫🇷@DemayCoralie, 2 pts
3️⃣ 🇧🇪@valeriedemey, 1 pt#TDFF #WatchTheFemmes pic.twitter.com/OBFcAT3l8E

— Le Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift (@LeTourFemmes) July 27, 2022

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56km to cover: Demey loses ground to the other two breakaway riders, as Coralie Demay forges ahead and reaches the summit first with Ascencio hot on her heels as they enter the first gravel phase. It’s dusty and bumpy. It’s a challenge to balance caution and aggression here.

The gap between the leaders and the peloton falls, as expected, to just over a minute. All sorts of battles take place there as Vollering accelerates to the front of the pack. Kasia Niewiadoma is also important.

59km to cover: The leading group of Asencio, Demay and Demay enter the riders begin their first ascent with the lead reduced to around 1:50 as the road narrows a bit and the peloton begins to stretch; the race starts to look a lot tougher. And watch out for Elisa Longo Borghini, who positioned herself well at the front of the peloton

Valérie Demey takes the first intermediate sprint

64km to cover: Demey, as part of the breakaway trio positioning himself for the oncoming twisty gravel section, took all the points in the sprint ahead of Asencio. This leading trio has a gap of around 2h20 with the peloton. Vos collected nine practical points there.

Here are all the details:

1. Demey, 25 points
2. Asencio, 20 points
3. Demay, 17 points
4. Wiebes, 15 points
5. Confalonieri, 13 pts
6. Kopecky, 11 points
7. Georgi, 10 points
8. Your, 9 pts
9. Swinkels, 8 points
10. Paladin, 7 points
11. Korevaar, 6 points
12. Amialiusik, 5 points
13. Balm, 4 points
14. Vollering, 3 points
15. Van Dijk, 2 points

73km to cover: This breakaway of three riders now has more than two minutes on the peloton but it’s still very early. The riders in the peloton are biding their time for now, Vos has just lined up on her right side forward with her teammates Jumbo-Visma.

82km to cover: A more sustained break this time from Coralie Demay, Laura Asencio and Valérie Demey and they rush into a lead of 1h12. Vos had made a brief group breakaway attempt behind them, but it was heavily marked and they were caught. We are about 11 km from the first intermediate sprint and 20 km from the first gravel section – be prepared for chaos.

89km to cover: Fortin is still leading towards the town of Vendeuvre-sur-Barse, but the peloton is only 12 to 15 seconds behind.

A few discussions on the broadcast: “Regarding the coverage of Eurosport, writes Alan Amos, isn’t it that ASO only sends from the middle of the race and nothing to do with Eurosport, which only does a poor job of communication? Other channels, such as France 2 have been reported on this site to be in the same situation.

Paul Griffin, meanwhile, just wants to let go: “Be grateful that Eurosport shows any cycling. It’s not impossible to tune in to the climax of the Tour of Flanders or Milan-San Remo and being faced with the World 12-Ball Theoretical Billiards Mega Open in Phoenix; the quarter-finals of the prestigious Uruguayan Meta-Badminton Open knockout round in Montevideo, or worse, one of those compilations of ski jumpers crashing into a soundtrack of what appears to be Can playing the Benny Hill theme on a kazoo. Reverse: no one in the European landmass understands meta-badminton tactics better than I do.” Gauntlet posed there.

95 km to cover: And no sooner have I pulled out this list than the attackers are caught before the French rider Valentin Fortin of Cofidis goes it alone in front, with a gap of about 15 seconds.

Valentin Fortin comes out in front.
Valentin Fortin comes out in front. Photography: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

This first breakaway in its entirety: Balsamo; Majerus, Reusser, Le Net, Henderson, Markus; Georgi, Koch Cromwell, Boogaard, Manly, Lach, Gasparrini, Alzini, Korevaar, Cant, Schweinberger, Vandenbulck, Bredewold, Borgstrom, Allin, Leth, Buijsman. None of the main GC contenders went with them

104km to cover: A first wave of movement sees a brief breakaway of three riders – Martina Alzini (Cofidis), Thalita De Jong (Liv Racing Xstra) and Marta Lach – but the peloton catches them a few kilometers away. Before a more significant movement of a group of 23 riders, who widened a gap of about 10-15 seconds.

118km to cover: Nothing major to report so far – eight km and no breaks yet; the peloton is still quite. Eurosport, meanwhile, is currently doing this slightly infuriating thing of still chewing up yesterday’s highlights rather than showing today’s first live stuff. It does, however, give us a chance to enjoy Ludwig’s happy and sweary emotional interview after his stage win yesterday.

Some additional details on today’s much-discussed gravel sections – the first greets runners at 68.1km, the second at 77.4, then one at 89 and the fourth at 106km. And the race is on.

🚩 The riders have gone past km 0, stage 4 is on!

🚩 Le peloton a passé le km 0, la 4ème étape est lancée !#TDFF #WatchTheFemmes pic.twitter.com/Z6WqrUoJ5a

— Le Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift (@LeTourFemmes) July 27, 2022

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A bit of good news: the 131 participants from yesterday are ready to leave today. There was no withdrawal

It’s manageable heat 25 degrees in the pretty town center of Troyes as the runners begin their journey – they will do a 6.9km parade through Troyes to get us started. Only 126.8 km to go…

Marianne Vos is about to leave Troyes and start stage 4.
Marianne Vos is about to leave Troyes and start stage 4. Photography: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images

How they stand:

A reminder of the GC ranking after stage three

1 Marianne Vos (Jumbo Visma) 08h 30′ 36”

2 Silvia Persico (Valcar – Travel & Service) + 00h 00′ 16”

3 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon/Sram Racing) + 00h 00′ 16”

4 Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek – Segafredo) + 00:00 21”

5 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SD Worx) + 00h 00′ 51”

6 Margarita Victo Garcia Canellas (UAE ADQ team) + 00h 00′ 55”

7 Half Vollering (SD Worx) + 00h 00′ 57”

8 Juliette Labous (DSM Team) + 00h 01′ 05”

9 Annemiek Van Vleuten (Women’s Movistar Team) + 00h 01′ 14”

10 Cecilie Ludwig (FDJ Suez Futuroscope) + 00h 01′ 48”

Pre-race reading:

Here is yesterday’s report from our man in Épernay, Jeremy Whittle:

Preamble

Afternoon everyoneand welcome to what could be a crucial step, and certainly will be a difficult one, from Tour de France Women. It’s been a pretty convincing race so far and while we might not be surprised to find Marianne Vos in the yellow jersey, she had to work hard for it, and she got an exciting review yesterday from Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, the Danish rider who made a brilliant recovery from her second stage horror show.

Ludwig should also be reasonably well suited to today’s stage, which is demanding, with gravel sections and five categorized climbs before a fast descent through the winding streets of Bar-sur-Aube at the finish. Vos should maintain their lead overall, but Canyon-SRAM’s Kasia Niewiadoma, third overall, and Paris-Roubaix winner Elisa Longo Borghini could also be in the game.

The runners leave around 12pm BST / 1pm CET. Stay tuned.

Stage 4 Map
Map of the fourth stage. Photography: TdF

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