Under the smoke of Liège lies the industrial town of Seraing. Familiar to most cycling fans since the place hosted the Tour de France three times, with Miguel Indurain (1995), Erik Zabel (2001) and Peter Sagan (2012) being the victors.
A calm start today with no significant obstacles. At 101 kilometres the first cobbled section of 1800 metres lays waiting – Pont-à-Celles, north of Charleroi. Just to get used to that ‘old shaken feeling’ since the next stretch is almost 75 kilometres away.
The party opens shortly after the French fortified town of Le Quesnoy with the 1200 metres cobbled sector of d’Artres à Famars. The last 45 kilometres brings six sectors totaling 11.5 kilometres of cobblestones. After 198.5 kilometres of racing Viesly à Quiévy is the longest. Totaling 3.7 kilometres it is usually one of the first sectors of Paris-Roubaix, but this time it really is in the heart of the action. A little over 10 kilometres later the riders arrive at the final sector – d’Avesnes-les-Aubert à Carnières, 2.3 kilometres in length and welcoming the riders with a large grin. Or should we say load of grins? Probably the stage will be decided right here.
At the end of d’Avesnes-les-Aubert à Carnières it is less than 10 kilometres to the finish line in Cambrai, a town of approximately 35,000.
Never before the Tour de France finished in Cambrai, but it was twice the town saw a start. In 2004 José Luis Rubiera won the stage to Arras and in 2010 Alessandro Petacchi outsprinted his colleagues in Reims after he started pedaling that morning in Cambrai.
Apart from glory, today’s winner takes 10 bonification seconds.
Tour de France 2015 stage 4: Routemaps, profiles and more
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Streetview sector 6: Rue de Bermerain
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Start sector 2: Ferme de la Fontaine-Au-Tertre