Primoz Roglic powered past last year’s champion to lead a Slovenian 1-2 in stage four on Tuesday. Roglic was considered one of the favourites for this year’s Tour but had to overcome a significant injury to be there.
Roglic delivered on his billing as one of the favourites for the Tour with a tight win in an intriguing tactical battle in the first mountain-top finish of the race.
Roglic was in a packed group including last year’s winner Egan Bernal, of Colombia, and France’s Julian Alaphilippe but broke away in the final kilometre to beat compatriot Tadej Pogacar in second and leave Frenchman Guillaume Martin in third.
Alaphilippe’s fifth-placed finish means he retains the yellow jersey ahead of Adam Yates and Roglic. Bernal sits behind them in sixth.
Roglic’s participation in this year’s Tour was in some doubt after a bad crash in the Criterium du Dauphine in mid-August. ‘Every day I feel better. It’s nice to ride a bike again,’ he said after Tuesday’s win.
South Africa’s two representatives in the race, Ryan Gibbons of NTT Pro Cycling and Daryl Impey of Mitchelton-Scott, finished in a group 16min 9sec behind the winner after 4hr 23min 56sec of riding. They were credited with positions of 112th and 118th on the day, respectively.
Overall, Impey is placed 117th and Gibbons 134th after the four stages.
Today’s fifth stage takes the race away from the Alps on a 183km ride from Gap to Privas, in the beautiful Ardèche region of France’s southern Rhône Valley. The generally downhill route bumps and winds its way west, with an early Intermediate Sprint in L’Épine and two category 4 climbs later in the day.