Only a crash with 2.5k from the finish in Rouen -with no Movistar Team riders affected- broke monotony into the bunch at the first of three predicable sprint finishes in the Tour before the Vosges stage on Saturday
With the feared wind absent at the coast of Normandie, the 214-kilometer stage four in the Tour de France from Abbeville to Rouen became a long transfer for Movistar Team after misfortune stroke hard the Blue squad on Tuesday, with José Joaquín Rojas crashing out. The Spaniard, who is returning this very evening to Spain in order to be operated tonight from his triple collarbone fracture, was a much missed rider at the Blue group today but could avoid the crash with 2.5k from the finish, not affecting the team as Alejandro Valverde is still 35 seconds behind Cancellara (RNT) for the yellow jersey. German Andre Greipel (LTB) took the day’s honoours in the first volata of three -Rouen – Saint-Quentin (196.5km), tomorrow, and Metz, on Friday- before the start of the mountains in this year’s Tour at La Planche des Belles Filles on Saturday.
Collective solidness at hardest stage in Austria
In turn, the 64th Tour of Austria went into a massive change in the GC as Dane Jakob Fuglsang (RNT) held a long solo attack until the finish to claim the overall leadership in the race’s Queen stage, over 141k from Lienz to Sankt Johann featuring four categorized climbs. At the first one, Iselsberg (Cat. 2), an 18-rider attempt -with David Arroyo and Sergio Pardilla as Blue representatives- that kept then-leader Di Luca (ASA) into jeopardy until he bridged the gap halfway through the long Hochtor (HC) ascent. The successive attack by Fuglsang and the Czech Leopold König (APP) ended up as the definitive one, with lamost three minutes of advantage over a peloton of favourites including Jonathan Castroviejo -who made it back into the downhill-, Arroyo (9th) and Pardilla finished off a notable performance from the telephone squad during the last day in the Alps. The race will cover its longest stage on day five Thursday, 228 kilómetros en route to a tough final slope (2.5km, 12% avg.) in Sonntagberg.