Tour de France (st. 4)
Alejandro Valverde now 6th overall in the Tour before Wednesday’s nine secteurs pavé; nervous racing on stage four as Izagirre crashes with no consequences
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Marcel Kittel (GIA) keeps dominating the sprints of the 2014 Tour de France as he added a third win to his tally on Tuesday, in the outskirts of Lille, after a 165km stage four from Le Touquet-Paris-Plage with gusts of wind, rainy stints, splits and even a crash in the beginning of the day, involving one of the Movistar Team riders: Ion Izagirre. The Spanish road race champion fell just 5km in, an incident also affecting defending champion Chris Froome (SKY) and which the Ormaiztegi-based rider got through unscathed.
Well protected by Ion himself and Jesús Herrada, among others, Alejandro Valverde was into the selected group in the only echelons formed with wind in the finale, eventually crossing the line as top Movistar finisher (20th) and jumping into sixth overall -two seconds behind still-race-leader Vincenzo Nibali (AST)- before the long-time feared cobblestones en route to Arenberg, with strong rain chances. Nine sections condense into the final seventy kilometers of a total 155 from Ypres/Ieper will gather all attention in a really crucial day.