PREVIEW | Tour de France 2023 stage 4 - Nogaro receives second bunch sprint

Preview. The Tour de France has settled down after an explosive weekend, and stage 4 should see a second bunch sprint after Jasper Philipsen rode to victory on the first one.

Stage 4 of the Tour de France will see the race head east. It will be a pure sprinter day from Dax to Nogaro, with no real difficulties, where the fast men will test themselves. It's a rather uneventful day profile wise, mostly a transition day through southern France.

Estimated start and finish times for Tour de France stage 4: 13:10-17:10CET

PREVIEW | Tour de France 2023 stage 4 - Nogaro receives second bunch sprint
Stage 4: Dax - Nogaro, 181.2 kilometers

The roads into Nogaro are open, non-technical and mostly with a regular flat tone. The finale won't be on public roads however, the riders enter the Circuit Paul Armagnac. You could say the finale is really technical looking at the map however this is a motorsport track, the roads are incredibly wide and the corners slight, there won't be breaking.

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It will be an interesting one to watch, the finishing straight will be 650 meters long and pan-flat.

PREVIEW | Tour de France 2023 stage 4 - Nogaro receives second bunch sprint
Stage 4 Finale
PREVIEW | Tour de France 2023 stage 4 - Nogaro receives second bunch sprint

The Weather

PREVIEW | Tour de France 2023 stage 4 - Nogaro receives second bunch sprint
Map Tour de France 2023 stage 4

The wind grows in intensity throughout the afternoon, coming from the west. It will likely make for a finale with less high speeds, the final circuit will be exposed and there will be a cross-headwind in the final straight.

The Favourites

Jasper Philipsen - Let's be honest, a Tour de France sprint rarely has a man to beat but I'm convinced at this point we can say it, it's Philipsen. He's obviously got the speed and is great at positioning himself, today Alpecin-Deceuninck also rode to perfection in the finale. I repeat the words of yesterday, he's got no weak spots and this non-technical finale means it'll be hard not to see him in front.

Wout van Aert - Jumbo and van Aert are under pressure, I wasn't expecting him to ride the flat bunch sprints, at least not this early on. He has today because a win is necessary to shrug off the pressure, and will likely continue to do so. It doesn't mean this sprint will be more suited, but he showed to have the legs to go for the win - but was struck by a badly inserted final corner.

Phil Bauhaus - Bahrain have a team that looks into victories on all terrains, including sprints. Only with Nikias Arndt as serious leadout, Bahrain nailed it today, he was in the wheel of Jasper Philipsen when it came the time to sprint. Does he have the speed to beat Philipsen? I doubt, but he may not have to, if he finds himself against different sprinters in tomorrow's finale.

Caleb Ewan - Ewan struggles with positioning quite a lot but today he had it good. Even with a torn down leadout as Jasper de Buyst is injured, the Pocket Rocket was in the front and rode to third. This is a good sign, he has the speed to win, it's a matter of placing himself a bit better into the final kick.

Fabio Jakobsen - A big leadout with plenty numbers is not necessarily an improvement in this race with the amount of leadouts, but they had the men in the finale. However they missed a final link, Morkov couldn't bring him back to the head of the peloton after Alpecin picked it up. It wasn't a bad performance from the European champion but there wasn't anything premium.

This is a finale with quite a few turns but they are wide. Positioning will not be as crucial with the open and exposed roads, it allows riders to come from behind better than today. Of course, in this field it almost becomes a lottery to know who will arrive in the sprint at the front, neither I or any other writer can tell you who will be there. Get Dylan Groenewegen, Sam Welsford, Mads Pedersen or Mark Cavendish in that Top5 with 200 meters to go however and I think each one of them has the speed to take it.

Alexander Kristoff and Jordi Meeus in my opinion have strong leadouts, today was a bust but tomorrow is a new day, they can find themselves in the mix if the teams manage to time it well, as Alpecin did today. Biniam Girmay, Bryan Coquard, Luca Mozzato and Corbin Strong will be a few more fast men to consider for a spot in the Top10.

Prediction Tour de France 2023 stage 4:

*** Jasper Philipsen
** Phil Bauhaus, Caleb Ewan, Fabio Jakobsen, Dylan Groenewegen
* Wout van Aert, Sam Welsford, Mads Pedersen, Alexander Kristoff, Biniam Girmay, Jordi Meeus, Mark Cavendish

Pick: Jasper Philipsen

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