Tour de France Stage 4 highlights and Stage 5 preview

Cadel Evans of BMC Racing just edged out defending champion Alberto Contador to win Stage 4 of the 2011 Tour de France, with Astana’s Alexander Vinokourov third. Birthday boy Philippe Gilbert missed out on celebrating turning 29 in style with the win he had widely been predicted to get, while Thor Hushovd retains the race leader’s yellow jersey.

Cadel Evans can no longer be seen as a perennial runner-up. He’s been close to victories at the Tour in the past but never before has he celebrated a victory in a stage.

Tuesday’s 172.5-kilometer route from Lorient to Mur-de-Bretagne was mostly flat, but ended with a short, sharp climb favouring those that could muster bursts of speed uphill.

The finish was so close that Contador raised a fist to celebrate what he believed was a stage win, but slow-motion video and a photo still showed that Evans, an Australian two-time Tour runner-up, had won.

“I am very very happy,” Evans said. “To win in front of Alberto Contador is really a nice present.”

Hushovd, the Norwegian world champion known mainly as a sprint specialist, narrowly kept the race leader’s yellow jersey by trailing not far behind in a small breakaway group.

Video of Stage 4 finish below:

Post race interview with Cadel below:

Stage 5 preview and who to watch:

Stage 5 looks like one for the sprinters. However, the last 70km are along the coast so once again, the riders will keep an eye on the wind and be aware of the possibility that echelons might form. Look out for these riders for the win: Mark Cavendish, Tyler Farrar, Alessandro Petacchi and Thor Hushovd.

Video of Stage 5 route:

Overall standings after Stage 4:

1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo 13:58:25
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:01
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:00:04
4 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:08
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 0:00:10
6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
7 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:12
8 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
9 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek
11 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:00:13
12 Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad
13 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad
14 Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShack 0:00:18
15 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack
16 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack
17 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:20
18 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana 0:00:32
19 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:33
20 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:39
21 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:40
22 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:58
23 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:03
24 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:01:04
25 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard Trek 0:01:06