The riders set off from Sisteron to head north and cross the mountains around Dévoluy and eventually finish uphill in Orcières-Merlette. Last year, the Tour de France served its first summit finish on the sixth day, now it’s the fourth. That being said, the finish climb of stage 4 is by no means as hard as last year’s partly unpaved toil at La Planche des Belles Filles.
On paper the day is perfect for a successful breakaway. Yet, chances are that the GC men will want to have it their way after half a season of twiddling their thumbs. Possibly, the big guns in the peloton are so eager that they will grab every opportunity to put pressure on their opponents.
Last year, attacker Dylan Teuns climbed to victory on the steep, irregular and partly unpaved La Planche des Belles Filles, while his compatriot Giulio Ciccone took the yellow jersey. The climb to Orcières-Merlette is something else entirely. The 7.1 kilometres ascent goes up at 6.7% and because it is a steady slope it will be relatively hard to shake off your rivals.
The Planche des Belles Filles stage of 2019 saw the GC riders cross the line one by one. A sprint on the top is not inconceivable this time, whether of a group of attackers or riders with an eye on the yellow jersey. The last option is very real, since Alaphilippe is unlikely to hand over his yellow jersey after two days in the race lead.
Favourites 4th stage 2020 Tour de France
*** Primoz Roglic, Julian Alaphilippe, Egan Bernal
** Bauke Mollema, Tadej Pogacar, Alexey Lutsenko, Kasper Asgreen
* Thomas De Gendt, Maximilian Schachmann, Benoît Cosnefroy, Marc Hirschi
Take a look at the route of the 4th stage on the Tour de France.