BMC’s Cadel Evans narrowly pipped Alberto Contador to take the fourth stage of the Tour de France on the Mûr-de-Bretagne this afternoon.

Contador raised his hands in celebration as he crossed the line, but the photo finish proved the Australian had indeed pipped him to take the victory.

Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) looked comfortable on the climb, and his sixth place ensured he keeps the yellow jersey.

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) finished in third, ahead of Team Sky’s Rigoberto Uran. Birthday boy and hot favourite for the stage, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) could only finish in fifth despite attacking on the lower slopes of the finishing hill.

Bradley Wiggins came home in eleventh, losing six seconds to Contador, but moved up to sixth overall, ten seconds behind Hushovd.

Ivan Basso (Liquigas) came home with Wiggins, but GC contenders Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek), Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) conceded a further two seconds after losing contact half-way up the Mûr.

Tour de France 2011 stage four as it happened: CW’s live text updates>>

Early breakaway undeterred by wet conditions
Grey skies and rain greeted the riders at the start of the stage in Lorient, completely contrasting the heat they’ve encountered since the start of the Tour.

A group of five riders – Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Blel Kadri (Ag2r), Jeremy Roy (FDJ) and Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel) – attacked 9km into the stage, and remained outfront for most of the stage.

As their advantage swelled to three minutes in a short space of time, Erviti became the race leader on the road, as he trailed Thor Hushovd by 2-58 at the start of the day.

Their gap was strangely changing constantly, from four minutes at one point to two minutes shortly after.

Hoogerland took a flyer to win the solitary point on offer at the top of the fourth-category Côte de Laz before outsprinting Roy to take maximum points at the intermediate sprint at Spezet.

With sixth place and ten points up for grabs when the peloton came through, it was no surprise to see HTC-Highroad and Garmin-Cervélo leading out Cavendish and Farrar respectively.

Yesterday’s stage winner Farrar got the better of Cav, as did current points competition leader Jose Rojas (Movistar) and Vacansoleil-DCM’s Borut Bozic.

The peloton briefly split with just over 40km remaining, which briefly left Evans and Basso in the rear group.

The main field soon came together again, before Omega Pharma-Lotto, Liquigas and BMC began driving the peloton along.

Unsurprisingly, the race fell into an extended lull as the five leaders were left to continue their doomed attempt for glory.

Their gap was down to a minute with 10km remaining, and that fell to thirty seconds after Leopard Trek mobilised at the front of the bunch.

Izagirre and Hoogerland attacked from the leading group 7km outside of the finish, but despite their cohesive efforts they were never going to hold off the charging peloton.

The escapees were caught with 4km remaining, around the same that that Cavendish and Farrar unsurprisingly lost contact with the main field.

Evans bides his time
BMC took over the pace at the bottom of the Mûr, with George Hincapie, Michael Schar and Marcus Burghardt working brilliantly for Evans.

Contador got the action underway 1.3km from the finish, and only Gilbert and his team-mate Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Evans, Uran, Vinokourov, Hushovd, Frank Schleck and Roman Kreuziger could follow.

Samuel Sanchez (Euskatel-Euskedi) and Andreas Kloden (RadioShack) managed to jump across to the select group, but were almost shelled out when Evans kicked at the 1km banner.

Still everyone followed, and with all eyes on Gilbert, it was clear that everyone was waiting for the Belgian to make his move.

He tried doing so with 500m remaining, but ultimately only helped Evans’ lead out. Contador tried desperately to come round the Australian, but Evans held on for the victory.

Results
Tour de France 2011, stage three: Lorient to
Mûr-de-Bretagne, 172km
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing in 4-11-39
2. Alberto Contador (Esp) Saxo Bank-Sungard
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Garmin-Cervelo
7. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek
8. Samuel Sanchez (Esp) Euskatel-Euskedi
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
10. Andreas Kloden (Ger) RadioShack all at st.

Overall classification after stage four
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Garmin-Cervelo 13-58-25
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1 sec
3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 4 secs
4. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 8 secs
5. Andreas Kloden (Ger) RadioShack at 10 secs
6. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at st
7. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 12 secs
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
9. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek all at same time
British
49. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky at 2-06
94. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 4-22

Johnny Hoogerland in escape, Tour de France 2011, stage four

Johnny Hoogerland heads the five-man escape group

David Zabriskie on the front, Tour de France 2011, stage four

David Zabriskie helps the chase

Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France 2011, stage four

Bradley Wiggins moved up to sixth overall

Alberto Contador attacks, Tour de France 2011, stage four

Alberto Contador attacks on the final climb

Alberto Contador and stage winner Cadel Evans, Tour de France 2011, stage four

Alberto Contador gets pipped on the line by Cadel Evans (far right)

Thor Hushovd on podium, Tour de France 2011, stage four

Strong ride by Thor Hushovd to retain the yellow jersey

Tour de France 2011: Related links

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Tour de France 2011: Latest news
Cavendish loses two sprints in one stage
Wiggins off to ideal Tour start
Sky at the Tour team time trial photo special
Vaughters’ Garmin-Cervelo team hits cycling’s top
Tour GC contenders: the winners and losers after stage one
Already in white, can Geraint Thomas take yellow?
Evans jumps ahead in Tour opener
Tour team time trial training
Cavendish’s train must adapt to win Tour stages
Pro predictions: Who will win opening Tour stage?
Tour de France teams presented, Contador booed

Tour de France 2011: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2011: Official start list
Tour de France 2011: Who’s riding?
Tour de France 2011: Team guide

Tour de France 2011: Stage reports
Stage three: Farrar sprints to first Tour victory in Redon
Stage two: Garmin win team time trial to put Hushovd in yellow
Stage one: Gilbert blasts to victory as Tour gets off to spectacular start

Tour de France 2011: Highlights videos
Stage three video highlights
Stage two video highlights
Stage one video highlights

Tour de France 2011: Photo galleries

Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Andy Jones
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011 team time trial training photo gallery by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team press conferences by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2011: Live text coverage
Tour de France 2011 LIVE: CW’s text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2011: Archive videos
Video: 2003 Centenary Tour
Video: Lance Armstrong retrospective
Video: Behind the scenes at the Tour
Video: Guerini’s 1999 stage win
Video: Thrills and spills at the Tour
Video: Armstrong in 1999
Video: The Indurain years
Video: Ladies of the Tour
Video: Best of bizarre

Tour de France 2011: TV schedule
British Eurosport Tour de France 2011 TV schedule
ITV4 Tour de France 2011 TV schedule

Tour de France 2011: Related links
Tour de France: The jerseys, what they are and what they mean
Potted history of the Tour de France
The closest Tours in history
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Tour de France 2011: Older news items
Cavendish to start all three grand tours in 2011
2011 Tour de France teams named
Tour de France 2011: Route details
The mountains of the 2011 Tour de France
Cavendish challenging for up to eight stages in 2011 Tour
Wiggins and Team Sky confident but not talking of Tour podium
Contador faces tough questions in pre-Tour press conference
Brits in the Tour de France 2011
UCI and AFLD collaborate on Tour de France dope tests
Contador confirmed for Tour de France
Evans set for Tour de France win
UCI says ‘respect Contador at Tour de France’
Contador confirms taking part in Tour de France
Bookies slash odds on Wiggins winning Tour
Halfords launches free Garmin Tour de France fantasy game

Tour de France 2011: Related links
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Halfords banner animated

  • stuart stanton

    Too formulaic, yet again, The sooner radios are done away with the better; the non-radio races this year have been livelier by far. One solitary attack on that terrain yesterday – not good enough. Just as well Euskadi are riding, their blokes are always in the action

  • arronski

    Nice one Cadel, Contador don’t like it up em !