Freddy Ovett went one better than his second-place last weekend stage two, winning the sprint finish on stage four of the men’s virtual Tour de France.
The Canadian’s victory was a first for Israel Start-Up Nation in the Tour de France, albeit on virtual French roads, with Ovett’s fast finish beating NTT’s Michael Valgren and Mitchelton-Scott’s Nick Schultz.
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Ovett’s team-mate Daniel Turek rode a fantastic race, building on Israel Start-Up Nation’s lead in the polka dot jersey competition, while NTT still lead the overall classification heading into the final weekend of racing next week.
Astana were forced to drop out of the race before the start due to internet problems at their hotels in Sierra Nevada and Livigno, where the Kazakh team has gathered for training camps.
The Casse – Pattes stage, which translates to ‘leg-breaking’, offered up two 23km laps featuring a couple of category three climbs, the second and bigger of the two situated just before the finish line.
Irishman Ryan Mullen was awarded the day’s combativity prize, but it was the bleach blonde Daniel Turek for Israel Start-Up Nation who fought tooth and nail at every sprint and categorised climb, which along with Ovett’s stage victory boosted Israel Start-Up Nation up to fourth in the general classification.
Michael Valgren was at the sharp end of racing throughout wearing the yellow jersey, and his third-place along with team-mate Michael Gogl finishing in the top 10 cemented NTT’s place atop the GC. Bjarne Riis’ squad are a good bet to still be in yellow when the race arrives on the virtual Champs-Élysées next Sunday.
Men’s virtual Tour de France, stage four: Casse-Pattes
1. Freddy Ovett (Aus) Israel Start-Up Nation, in 58-06
2. Nick Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at same time
3. Michael Valgren (Den) NTT
4. Will Clarke (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
5. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, all at same time
6. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Pro Cycling, at one second
7. Daniel Turek (Cze) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 2s
8. Michael Gogl (Aut) NTT, at same time
9. Pier-André Coté (Can) Rally, at 10s
10. Ben Gastauer (Lux) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 11s
General classification after stage four
1. NTT (RSA) – 263 points
2. Rally Cycling (USA) – 188 pts
3. Trek-Segafredo (USA) – 162 pts
4. Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr) – 161 pts
5. Mitchelton-Scott (Aus) – 110 pts
6. EF Pro Cycling (USA) – 109 pts
7. Alpecin-Fenix (Bel) – 99 pts
8. Ag2r La Mondiale (Fra) – 84 pts
9. Ineos (GBr) Ineos – 80 pts
10. Groupama-FDJ (Fra) – 75 pts