Tour de France debutant Fernando Gaviria has claimed his second stage win by outsprinting his rivals in the fourth stage, while Australian contender Richie Porte has maintained his position in the peloton.
Porte, who lost 51 seconds in the opening stage after being caught behind a pile-up, finished stage four in 45th place, keeping his overall standing at 14th.
After winning Monday’s time trails with his BMC Racing team, the Australian is four seconds ahead of British rival and reigning Tour champion Chris Froome in 17th place.
Quick-Step Floors rider Gavira launched his sprint far from the line, after the 195km stretch from La Baule to Sarzeau, and made sure of the win with a second burst of speed to beat world champion Peter Sagan and German Andre Greipel into second and third place, respectively.
“We wanted to wait to the last moment to launch but it was too hard. I’m really happy anyway,” said Gaviria, a Colombian.
Belgian Greg van Avermaet retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
Sagan’s second place meant the Slovakian retained the green jersey for the points classification ahead of Gaviria.
“He’s faster than me but it’s ok,” Sagan said candidly.
Australian sprinter Michael Matthews finished the stage in 34th to keep his overall ninth place.
Hours before France play Belgium in the soccer World Cup semi-final, two Belgian and two French riders broke away but stood little chance as the pace was controlled by the sprinters’ teams on a flat terrain featuring a four-kilometre final strait.
The last of them, Belgium’s Guillaume van Keirsbulck, was only reined in one kilometre from the finish in the hometown of International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient.
The Tour’s top guns enjoyed a quiet day in the saddle, with the exception of Russian Ilnur Zakarin, who was caught at the wrong end of a late pile-up and lost 59 seconds.
Wednesday’s fifth stage is a 204.5km hilly ride from Lorient to Quimper that should favour the one-day Belgian classic specialists such as Van Avermaet.