Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan have turned the first four days of the Tour de France into an enthralling duel of rising star versus world champion, with Tour newcomer Gaviria winning so far.
Gaviria on Tuesday edged Sagan at the finish line to claim stage 4 and take his second stage win in his first participation at cycling’s greatest race.
The 23-year-old Colombian had already bettered Sagan in a sprint to take the opening stage, amid rising expectations since his four stage victories at last year’s Giro d’Italia.
Sagan hit back by winning stage 2 in an uphill sprint after Gaviria had fallen in a group pileup on the final corner.
Tuesday’s flat leg with its 4km finish — the longest straightaway to conclude a leg on this Tour — was perfect terrain for the budding rivals to break the tie.
After Quick-Step Floors hunted down the breakaway to set up Gaviria, he powered ahead of the pack with handlebars swinging and crossed just centimeters ahead of Sagan and Andre Greipel in a close third.
Sagan was closing fast and seemed to be on pace to overtake him when Gaviria hit the line.
“He is faster than me,” said Sagan, the three-time defending world champion who excels in finishes on slight ascents. “We will see. Maybe I will wait for some mistake [to beat him] and maybe we will see the next days on the climbs. Every stage is different, every sprint is different.”
Gaviria finished the 195km leg from La Baule to Sarzeau that started and finished on the Atlantic coast in 4 hours, 25 minutes, 1 second.
“It was a very difficult sprint, but we knew how to pull it off,” Gaviria said. “We didn’t receive any help from the other teams to bring the breakaway back, but at the end my team deserves this victory and we can go to the hotel very happy with what we achieved.”
Defending champion Chris Froome of Team Sky, who remained 55 seconds back due to his fall in stage 1, finished safely in the peloton with leader Greg van Avermaet.
Riders were enjoying a sunny afternoon until a pileup near the front of the peloton with about 5km left sent several riders to the tarmac.
However, there were no changes among the title hopefuls.
A four-man breakaway opened up a gap of more than seven minutes early on, but they were slowly reeled in by the Quick-Step-led pack with 2km to go.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017