UAE Team Emirates’ Ben Swift was denied a top 10 finish at stage four of the Tour de France as the rider was caught up in the controversial crash between Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish, just metres from the finish.
Fellow UAE Team Emirates rider Maneule Mori was fortunate to avoid the crash and went on to finish the race in eighth place after Peter Segan (BORA – Hansgrohe) elbowed Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) which led to his disqualification from the Tour.
Meanwhile, France’s Arnaud Demare (FDJ) won the sprint finish while Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) retained the Yellow Jersey on day four. The UAE Team Emirates rider Diego Ulissi remains in the top 20.
Speaking after the stage Swift said: “You’re sprinting and following the wheel and then all of a sudden I went flying. We were sprinting in a line and then all of a sudden there was a body on the floor and we tried to turn but it was not possible. We had to come back after the earlier crash so we were already on the limit.”
Starting in Vittel, Wednesday’s stage five is widely regarded as one of the most important of the early stages, covering 216km.
GC riders will be drawn out as they tackle the first category one climb of the Tour, up to La Planche des Belles Filles which will challenge riders with a maximum gradient of 20%.
Whilst riders will not naturally use this stage to gain a significant time advantage, it can give competitors a big psychological boost, if they end the day at the top of the first summit finish.