What better way to follow up the 2nd longest stage of the tour than with the year's longest stage! Stage 4 starts in the historic town of Saumur and travels primarily SSE for 237.5 km ending in the city of Limoges. The course is flat through the first half then the gradient ticks up a notch before the sprint point at Le Dorat at 170 km and the only rated climb of the day a Category 4 Cote de la Maison Neuve at 182 km. The positive gradient continues to 210 km at Bonnac-la-Cote before riders get a primarily false flat downhill to the last straight 2k run into Limoges.
|Stage Distance||237.41 km|
|Avg. Peloton Speed||42.64 km/h|
|Avg. Pulling Power||325.27 watts|
|Avg. Pulling Yaw||2.25 °|
Weather conditions should remain favorable for the riders on the longest stage of this year's tour. The temperatures will rise from 20 to 25 celsius as the riders head south and humidity will drop as the temp rises from around 75% to 60%. The first 20 km of the ride will have a low speed crosswind that will turn into a predominantly tail wind as the course turns southeast at Montreuil-Bellay. The favorable wind, though light at less than 10 km/h, will continue to follow the riders as the course turns a bit more south all the way into Limoges.
Looking forward to the first mountain stage of the year in stage 5 which features 6 categorized climbs, riders will most likely take it easy early though it might not be quite as pedestrian as the stage 3 effort. Mathematically another early break right at the start makes sense to maximize TV time over the first 160-180 km. For non sprinters looking for a stage this could be a stage where a small break has a slight chance to stick but any group would need around a 4 min gap cresting over the rolling hills in Bonnac la-Cote. The sprint and climb points come late in the stage at 170 and 182 km respectively, so teams may not let the leash get too far on any breaks even though the jerseys are safe again today. There is a short 1 km incline about 9 km from the finish heading into Limoges that could cause a little sting for the sprinters, however teams will try to usher their riders up and through the section. A rider or group that wants to try to play spoiler might go here, but will be hard pressed to hold it. For the finish into the heart of Limoges expect long leadout trains as the final 2 km run is straight and wide, but does have a slight uphill of about a 6% grade at about 500 meters that could help smaller sprinters or set up Sagan for another win. WIth this ideal sprint setup it's doubtful teams like Etixx-Quick-Step, Dimension Data, and Lotto-Soudal will let any break stick. This looks to be a another great sprint battle to the line.
Analysis was performed by modeling the peloton as a single rider using front of the pack drag characteristics and pulling power targets. Take a look at the entire race plan that was used for this analysis, which includes additional features, metrics and downloadable files.
Stage 4 Race Plan: https://www.bestbikesplit.com/client/43391