Sisteron saw its last stage start in 2010. A the end of that day, Mark Cavendish outsprinted Alessandro Petacchi and Tyler Farrar in Bourg-les-Valence, while Mark Renshaw headbutted New Zealander Julian Dean. Cavendish’ lead out was expelled from the race.
A similar scenario will not unfold in the 4th stage of the 2020 Tour de France. No headbutting at breakneck speeds as the last 7.1 kilometres go uphill.
The peloton leaves the medieval town of Sisteron to head for Dévoluy. This ski area is – obviously – far from flat, but the road goes uphill at shallow gradients, so a GC battle is unlikely to ignite this early. Yet, you never know. Bad legs on the finish climb to Orcières-Merlette will surely have its impact. The final haul to the ski resort at an elevation of 1,825 metres is 7.1 kilometres long, while the average gradients sits at 6.7%.
It has been 31 years since the Tour last visited Orcières-Merlette. In 1989, Dutchman Steven Rooks won the uphill ITT. The ski station had a huge impact in 1971, when Luis Ocaña brought a solo attack of 60 kilometres home. His rivals Eddy Merckx and Joop Zoetemelk crossed the line 9 minutes behind the Spaniard. Ocaña dropped out of the race later and Merckx went on to win his third Tour de France.
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
Another interesting read: results 4th stage 2020 Tour de France.
Tour de France 2020 stage 4: routes, profiles, more
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