For this year's Tour de France we've teamed up with The Velocast to share with you their nominated Conquistador of the Day. During their daily stage review podcast, Scott and John will announce the rider who they feel deserves a special mention for their efforts that day.
On a flat transition stage, all the key action was confined to the final few KM's today. It's perhaps no surprise that John Galloway of The Velocast Podcast picked a Conquistador of the Day who was involved in the winning sprint:
"I'm torn between two riders, and if we could afford a joint winner I'd probably go for it, but I'm just going to give it to one of the two. The two I'm torn between are Michael Mørkøv and Max Richeze because they gave us a masterclass in how to drop off their sprinter. It's a given that Elia Viviani, if his head is in the right place, will be fast enough to win the sprint, but to do that he needs the work of his teammates. Julian Alaphilippe I almost gave it to for the second day running for the work he did in the yellow jersey. And he looks incredibly stylish in the yellow jersey. He's just got charisma in that yellow jersey and it's just fantastic to watch.
But I'm going to give it to Michael Mørkøv because the two - Mørkøv and Richeze just did everything a leadout train needs to do and made the job easy for Elia Viviani. Viviani gets the glory, but those two guys were just magnificent and to see Mørkøv in his national champions jersey come up afterwards and really celebrate with Viviani - he's my man of the day because they get recognition, but they don't get the recognition they deserve. A sprinter winning can look easy - but only if the guys who are doing the job for you get everything right and we saw that today."
Elia Viviani maintained a tradition alive as he scored the sixth Italian stage win in sixteen stage finishes in Nancy after Fausto Coppi, Aldo Parecchini, Lorenzo Bernucci and Matteo Trentin. He even received the help of race leader Julian Alaphilippe to win a bunch sprint ahead of Alexander Kristoff and Caleb Ewan.
Schär, Backaert and Offredo in the lead
176 riders took the start of stage 4 in Reims. Michael Schär (CCC), Frederik Backaert and Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) attacked from the gun. Their advantage of 3’10’’ after 10km of racing was established as a norm by the chasing teams of Lotto-Soudal, Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-Quick Step. They respectively designated Maxime Monfort, Tony Martin and Yves Lampaert to set the pace. The maximum time gap was 3’40’’ at côte des Rosières (km 121). Two crashes affected several riders including Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Gianni Moscon (Ineos) but everyone got back on.
Lilian Calmejane for 6km at the front
The deficit of the peloton decreased slightly with 2’35’’ being recorded 80km before the end. It remained all under control for the sprinters’ teams with a deficit of 1’30’’ with 50km to go. The gap was down to 40’’ as 40km were yet to be covered. Schär attacked with 30km remaining. Backaert reacted and Offredo was reeled in. The sprinters’ teams were in no hurry to catch the leading duo. Schär dropped Backaert off up the côte de Maron but he was also brought back by the pack before the top with 16.5km to go. Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie) attacked from the compact bunch with 11km to go. The Frenchman remained at the front with 6’’ lead for 6km until the peloton led by Lotto-Soudal brought him back.
Julian Alaphilippe positions Elia Viviani
White jersey holder Wout van Aert led the charge for Dylan Groenewegen with 1km to go but yellow jersey Julian Alaphilippe positioned the Deceuninck-Quick Step train at the front and Elia Viviani made the most of his train formed of Max Richeze and Michael Morkov to overtake Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) at the very end. He completes his Grand Tour trilogy after he won stages at the Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta previously. The last Italian stage winner at the Tour was Fabio Aru at La Planche des Belles Filles two years ago. In four stages, only two teams have won so far: Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-Quick Step.
Conquistadors of the Day - Tour de France 2019
Stage 1 - Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team)
Stage 2 - Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)
Stage 3 - Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)
Stage 4 - Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)
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