Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka did a great job setting up Mark Cavendish for the final sprint on stage 4 of Tour de France. Unfortunately, a late crash meant Cavendish ended the day at the hospital instead of fighting for the stage win.
On paper, the 207.5 km from Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel looked almost certain to end in a bunch sprint. Therefore, it was no surprise that most riders wanted to stay in the peloton when the flag dropped at the official start. In fact, only one rider, Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Wanty – Groupe Gobert), dared to attack and the peloton was more than happy to let him get a huge gap of over 13 minutes.
As the stage progressed the gap started to come down quickly and with 100 km to go, only six minutes separated the pack from the lonely rider at the front. The distance continued to shorten towards the intermediate sprint and the following KOM sprint and with 15 km left, it was all back together again.
The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were all committed to put Cavendish in the best-possible position for the expected bunch sprint. The team went to the front of the peloton on the final kilometers to make sure the Manxman was within striking distance. Unfortunately, Cavendish never got a chance to fight for the win as he collided with Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) on the last few hundred meters and crashed into the barriers. Sagan later got disqualified from the race, while Cavendish headed to the hospital for further examinations. An update on his condition will be released when more information is available. Arnaud Démare (FDJ) took the stage win.
Edvald Boasson Hagen did well to finish in 11th place on the stage and moved up to fourth place in the general classification. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) still leads overall.