The 2022 Tour de France Femmes has thrown up all sorts of entertainment over the opening three days and stage four will be no different as the peloton heads off-road.
Stage one saw the Dutch sprint sensation Lorena Wiebes pip the great Marianne Vos to victory and the yellow jersey in Paris, but Vos was always going to get her hands on yellow at some stage and she hit back in spectacular style on stage two to ascend to the top of the standings.
Yesterday saw Vos involved in another sprint but this time she had no answer to the late surge of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. The charismatic Dane is known for her entertaining interviews, but she could barely get the words out through tears of joy (though she still managed to swear profusely).
There have been crashes and plenty of incidents along the way but there is no let up for the peloton today: stage four is a 127km route containing four separate sections of hilly gravel track in the second half which will burn the legs – and offer opportunities to attack.
The day begins in the medieval town of Troyes. The relatively flat opening is where a breakaway will try to escape up the road, before an intermediate sprint which Wiebes may be enticed forwards by in an effort to win the green jersey’s points classification, currently led by Vos.
Vos will be more concerned with what follows as she seeks to keep hold of the yellow jersey over difficult terrain. The first two gravel sections are categrory three and they are the steepest, each around a kilometre long averaging almost 9% gradient, before slightly gentler category-four gravel climbs.
Then there is a sting in the tail: there are bonus seconds available at the top of the day’s penultimate climb, the Cote des Bergeres, which could bring the general classification contenders like Vos to the fore, before another category-four climb which sets up the descent to the finish at Bar-sur-Aube.
Whoever arrives at the finish line first will certainly have earned their prize.
Stage four route map and profile
Start and finish time
Stage four begins in Troyes at 12.10pm BST and is expected to culminate around 3.20pm.
How to watch on TV and stream online
Tour de France Femmes coverage can be found on Eurosport, Discovery+ and GCN+ (Global Cycling Network).
Eurosport and GCN+ will show every stage live. More on Eurosport’s coverage here and the GCN+ coverage here.
It is also being shown on Eurosport’s Discovery+ streaming service, with broadcast info here.