9km to go
UAE Team Emirates, Arkéa-Samsic and Jumbo-Visma are all positioned at the front. Alaphlippe has Jungels for company.
Pacher and Vuillermoz are brought back. Neilands is the last man standing but he won’t last much longer either.
10km to go
Neilands passes under the 10km banner. He’s just 40 seconds up on the peloton now.
Kasper Asgreen and Bob Jungels remain at the front for Alaphlippe. Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers lie behind the Belgian team.
14km to go
20 seconds between Neilands and the Pacher-Vuillermoz group. 1:15 back to the peloton.
Here’s a look at the final climb today.
Neilands took the two points and Pacher took one. A descent now to the base of Orcières-Merlette.
Neilands heads off in search of two KOM points and the combativity prize. He has a gap on Pacher and Vuillermoz.
Four Deceuninck-QuickStep riders left at the front of the peloton now, including Alaphilippe. Jumbo-Visma and Arkéa-Samsic are just behind them.
And now Burgaudeau drops. Just Pacher, Neilands and Vuillermoz left.
21km to go
Nils Politt drops back from the break on the climb. Four left now.
The Belgian is back with the peloton now. The breakaway hits the penultimate climb.
Here’s a look at Benoot’s Cervelo after that crash.
25km to go
1:45 between break and peloton now, with Benoot riding between them.
Tiesj Benoot crashes out of the break, going over the armco barrier into the grass. He’s OK but his seat post and top tube got sliced clean in two.
The break hit a descent on the run-in to the penultimate climb of Côte de Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes. That’s 2.8km long at an average of 6.8 per cent.
Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) gets a wheel change from Mavic neutral service.
🤩 Orcières-Merlette, the scene of a legendary stage won by Luis Ocaña.🎬 Relive it with the original commentary🤩 Orcières-Merlette, c’est le souvenir d’une victoire de légende de 🇪🇸 Luis Ocaña. 🎬 Retour en vidéo avec les commentaires de l’époque.#TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/J6uwWGnD5DSeptember 1, 2020
Some sprinters are dropping away from the rear of the peloton. Nizzolo, Kristoff, Coquard, Greipel all at the back.
BIG DRAMA ON THE CLIMB!
Greg Van Avermaet has a mechanical issue before sprinting back to the peloton.
33km to go
The Côte de Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes is 13km away. Then it’ll be a short downhill before we finally reach the final climb of the day. We should see some sort of action there…
Yep, Pacher heads to the front for the final 500 metres. That’s another two points for the Frenchman.
Five points for him now as he goes joint-fifth in the mountain classification.
Who will take the points? Pacher once again, I imagine…
A 41kph average pace after three hours of racing. The break are in the final kilometre of the climb.
37km to go
A number of teams are at the front of the peloton, spread across the road. Jumbo-Visma, Deceuninck-QuickStep, Cofidis, Trek-Segafredo, AG2R La Mondiale.
The break hit the Côte de l’Aullagnier now. It’s 3km at 6.4 per cent with two and one point on offer at the top.
Current race leader has held jersey for 16 days in his career, matching 1975 and 1977 Tour champion Bernard Thévenet – and is just one day away from Darrigade and Pingeon
The breakaway now has 10km to go til the next climb of the day. The gap is 2:30.
Italy and France in battle to host elite men’s and women’s races
50km to go
Still no change in situation at the moment. It’s an uphill drag to the next classified climb.
Roll on the finale…
The move didn’t last long at all. The break is all back together now.
Politt drops back to help his teammate Neilands, however.
55km to go
Pacher, Vuillermoz and Politt have taken over the lead of the race after a split in the breakaway. 2:40 back to the peloton.
60km to go
25km to go until the next climb of the day, the third-category Côte de l’Aullagnier.
Pacher leads the break over the top of the climb. Another point for him, so three in total now.
Here’s a look at today’s six-man break:
The break close in on the top of our second climb of the day. Only one point on offer up there.
Now Vuillermoz has slipped off the front of the break.
A rather large group has split from the rear of the peloton on the descent. Shouldn’t be any worries to make it back fairly quickly though.
Politt is back with the break now. 7km to go until the next KOM – the Côte de Corps: 2.2km, 6.3 per cent.
Clincher tyres, inner tubes, mountain bike rotors and a splash of yellow for the Frenchman in the maillot jaune
73km to go
Politt is still out there, just 10 seconds up the road. His teammate Krists Neilands is hanging in at the back of the break, not doing any work obviously.
The full Deceuninck-QuickStep team has taken to thhe front of the peloton now, in addition to Declercq and Cavagna, who have been there all day.
82km to go
12 seconds between Politt and the break, 3:20 back to the peloton.
Politt is really going for it here. He has a handful of seconds on the rest of the break in the downhill.
The fourth-category Côte de Corps comes in around 25 kilometres.
89km to go
A short downhill before another kick up and a longer descent before the next climb. Politt has gone off the front of the break.
Pacher takes the two points at the top. Politt led the rest of the break over.
The peloton will cross the top of the climb in 2:50.
The Frenchman has a decent gap on his breakmates and looks like leading the way over the top.
700 metres from the top and Pacher goes on the attack from the break.
96km to go
The break are 3km from the top of the climb now. Only two and one point available up there, by the way.
The two Israel Start-Up Nation riders lead the way in the break.
This six-man break is hardly made up of star climbers, but so far they’re all sticking together on this Cat 3 climb. Three minutes back to the peloton.
The Deceuninck-QuickStep duo and Jumbo-Visma remain planted on the front of the peloton.
100km to go
The breakaway passes the 100km to go mark shortly after starting the third-category climb.
The break are about to start the Col du Festre (7.6km, 5.3 per cent) now, the first climb of the day.
A quick video highlight of that intermediate sprint from the peloton:
💚 A well-fought Intermediate Sprint in the peloton saw 🇮🇪 @Sammmy_Be prevail!💚 Un sprint intermédiaire très disputé dans le peloton ! C’est 🇮🇪 Sam Bennett qui passe en tête !#TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/eafqmhUhi4September 1, 2020
103km to go
Bennet hit 70kph in that intermediate sprint after jumping from Michael Mørkøv’s wheel. It was a fast one.
Looks like Bennett will take green off Sagan then. He was five points behind the Slovakian but made up those points there.
Nizzolo, Coquard and Trentin also grabbed some points. A number of riders – Ewan, Greipel, Bol – were nowhere.
Bennett takes the nine points for seventh place. Sagan was only the sixth man over the line in the peloton after a wild effort ended with him being boxed in. Four points for him, then.
Total Direct Energie lead the way to the sprint. Sagan sits on Bennett’s wheel.
Sam Bennett and Peter Sagan are up towards the front of the peloton in anticipation of the sprint.
Politt led the break over the sprint ahead of Burgaudeau and Benoot.
Nine points down to one point on offer for the peloton.
☀️☀️☀️💛 #TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/XzUDPZGqxYSeptember 1, 2020
111km to go
2km to go until the sprint now. 3:10 between break and peloton. No real change in the situation.
While Orcières-Merlette has the honour of being the 2020 Tour de France’s first summit finish for stage 4 on Tuesday, in one sense it wouldn’t matter much if it were missed off the route for another two or three decades. And that’s because whatever happens today, when it comes to the sheer scale of the events there back in 1971, it’s very, very unlikely to match them.
121km to go
3:25 between break and peloton. There’s 11km to go until the intermediate sprint, so we should see Sagan and co jump away from the peloton there.
Retired Belgian comes to youngster’s defence and reveals ‘concrete plans’ had been made for comeback
Riders are peeling off from the peloton for nature breaks. No worries in the main group.
The wind isn’t too strong though, so there’s no danger of big splits in the peloton heree.
The wind is blowing on these flat roads and the peloton is all strung out in single file under the high pace up front.
Some analysis of yesterday’s stage courtesy of our colleagues at Procycling magazine:
134km to go
There’s not a ton going on right now. The intermediate sprint comes with 109km to go.
UAE Team Emirates are next in line behind Deceuninck-QuickStep and Jumbo-Visma.
Julian Alaphilippe at the start today:
“It’s a nice stage today and another day for me to enjoy wearing the yellow jersey. The finale won’t be a walk in the park but I’ll give everything to retain the yellow jersey.
“Some favourites for the GC would be happy if I’d stay in the lead for longer but others like Adam Yates who is only four seconds down would love to take over from me. Anyway, the end of the Tour is still a long way away…”
Vuillermoz, who lay 3:53 down on Alaphilippe this morning, is now the virtual leader of the race. The break are 4:10 up the road at the moment.
Tim Declercq and Remi Cavagna are the men on the front for Deceuninck-QuickStep. Jumbo-Visma lurk right behind the duo.
144km to go
3:50 for the break. It’s a sunny day in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department.
Deceuninck-QuickStep are up front with two men leading the peloton. Their team leader Julian Alaphilippe wears yellow today.
A good job by Israel Start-Up Nation to get two men in the break here, at their first Tour de France. Hard to imagine this group has a chance to stay away until the end, though…
3:30 for the breakaway now. Those are certainly our six for today.
156km to go
The six-man group is already a minute up the road. Not much of a battle for the break, then…
Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale), Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) are there too, while Mathieu Burgaudeau (Total Direct Energie) also made it across.
Five riders have jumped away immediately. Krists Neilands and Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) are up there, as is Tiesj Benoot (Team Sunweb).
160km to go
And here we go. Christian Prudhomme drops the flag and the director’s car is away.
There’s a 2.5km ride through the town of Sisteron before the flag drops and racing gets underway.
We’re about to get underway in just a few minutes now.
A bit of a downbeat look at the day from one of them, Arkéa-Samsic’s Nairo Quintana…
🎙 🇨🇴 @NairoQuinCo Too modest?”C’est la première bagarre aujourd’hui pour les favoris. Mais je ne pense pas être avec eux dans la montée finale.”#TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/5bC0ySocj3September 1, 2020
Today will be the first big chance for the GC favourites to make their mark. Early summit finishes are usually quieter affairs than anticipated, with a large group of GC men crossing the line together. Will things be different today?
Today we’ll have five climbs on the menu, culminating in the first category summit finish.
Col du Festre: 7.6km, 5.3 per cent
Côte de Corps: 2.2km, 6.3 per cent
Côte de l’Aullagnier: 3km, 6.4 per cent
Côte de Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes: 2.8km, 6.8 per cent
Orcières-Merlette: 7.1km, 6.7 per cent
Lotto Soudal sprinter Caleb Ewan won yesterday’s stage into Sisteron with a dazzling sprint finish. He’s still pretty pleased about it, but today is far from a day for him.
How I feel after yesterday😁 Thanks to everyone for the messages! Especially back in Australia!Another mountain day today⛰⛰ pic.twitter.com/vMPHAeVOkeSeptember 1, 2020
We’re around 35 minutes away from the start of the stage in Sisteron. The start festivities are underway, while the start proper will be called at 13:30 local time, five minutes after the roll out from the town.
Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 4 of the Tour de France, the first summit finish of the race to Orcières-Merlette.