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Tour de France

Boy van Poppel ninth in Fougères

This Tuesday, the fourth stage of the Tour de France crossed Brittany for the last time, with 150 kilometers between Redon and Fougères. Although completely flat, the final phase of the parcours featured narrow roads and tricky curves, similar to the previous stage which had seen many crashes in the peloton.

A bunch sprint was again expected in Fougères, so only Van Moer (Lotto) and Périchon (Cofidis) animated the day in the breakaway. Like yesterday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert was dedicated to the cause of Dutchman Danny van Poppel, the man designated to finish off the work of the sprint train.

The gap with the two riders seemed to be fully controlled, but when Van Moer parted ways with his breakaway companion 14 kilometers from the finish, the gap increased over the minute. The lack of organization within the peloton raised hopes for the Belgian, who was however eventually caught 300 meters from the finish line.

Taking over the role of sprinter in place of his brother Danny, Boy van Poppel took ninth place in the sprint won by Mark Cavendish, claiming the team’s first top 10 in this Tour de France. At 33, this is also the first time Boy ends in the first ten of a Tour stage.

“My brother Danny told me I had to get ready to sprint myself, which is why I received the support of Loïc Vliegen, Jan Bakelants and Jonas Koch to negotiate the final. I was in very good position in the wheel of Mads Pedersen, but his lead-out man Stuyven took too much time to start the sprint and we found ourselves boxed in. Without that, I'm convinced the top 5 was possible. But I'm happy, I just finished in the top 10 of the biggest race in the world."


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