Tune in at 8:00 AM ET for Stage Four coverage of the Tour de France. Rob Sturney will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
I'm Rob Sturney here with stage four of the 2012 Tour de France. Yesterday was a day of chaos and several riders were injured and dozens lost "huge chunks of time" as Paul Sherwin would say. We'll sort it all out.
Today is a 214.5 kilometre route from Abbeville to Rouen, Jacques Anquetil.
So yesterday we lost Sky's Siutsou, Movistar's JJ Rojas in the stage Peter Sagan went on to win. Today Rabobank's Marten Tjallingi doesn't start with a broken hip.
Tom Danielson, Ryder Hesjedal's teammate and ninth place last year, separated his shoulder and lost 9:11 but he'll start today.
Here are a few notable riders who lost chunks of time yesterday: David Moncoutie, Johnny Hoogerland and Thomas Voeckler +7:27, JJ Cobo +10:37, Pieter Weening +3:54, Christian Vande Velde +2:02, Dan Martin +5:05, Richie Porte and Chris Anker Sorensen +2:08.
So, one the one hand, the riders listed below are pretty much out of contention for yellow in Paris or whatever their GC aspirations were. On the other hand, they are now free to fly at other things. Voeckler - if he finds form - is free to hunt stages. Chris Anker Sorensen, Hoogerland, Martin, Cobo and Moncoutie can chase polka dots and not get reeled in since they're not threats to the GC.
In fact, four-time Vuelta a Espana king of the mountains David Moncoutie is in the breakaway today and hoping to sop up the Cat. 4 points on offer today. Morkov, the polka-dot jersey wearer, is taking a day off. Moncoutie took the first climb, the Cote de Mont Huon.
I wrote about injuries and delays below. There's also a couple of sick guys out there. Marcel Kittel is still suffering from stricken guts. So is Brice Feillu who, at +30:05, is the race's laterne rouge.
Movistar's JJ Cobo has really done nothing this year. He must be waiting for the Vuelta again. Valverde is keeping up there in the GC.
Let's remind ourselves of the jerseys:
Yellow: Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland/RadioShack)
Green: Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Liquigas)
White: Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC)
Polka Dots: Michael Morkov (Denmark/Saxo-Tinkoff)
Moncoutie takes the day's second Cat. 4 point atop the Cote de Dieppe. The next one is right around the corner. He's now tied with Sagan and Basso in second place in the KOM competition with 2 points.
Here's the top 10 on GC:
2) Wiggins +0:07
3) Chavanel +0:07
4) Van Garderen +0:10
5) Boasson Hagen +0:11
6) Menchov +0:13
7) Evans +0:17
8) Nibali +0:18
9) Hesjedal +0:18
10) Kloden +0:19
135 km to go: Yep, Moncoutie took the point at the top of the third Cat. 4, the Cote de Pourville-sur-Mer. Now he's got 3 points to Morkov's 9. There's one more to go at the 71.5 km to go mark. That comes after the day's intermediate sprint.
134 km to go: It's RadioShack at the head of the peloton keeping the gap reasonable. Cancellara should keep yellow until Saturday's stage to La Planche des Belles Filles which ends on a Cat. 1 climb. The KOM points at the top of that will be 20, 16, 12, 8, 4 and 2, so the winner or the runner up will most likely take over the polka dot jersey.
Yes, the official summit finishes are on stages 7, 11 and 17. The KOM points are doubled. I'll be with you for the first two, but not the last. My last stage will be stage 15, then I must be off.
Four stages = four Europcar riders in the breakaway. This is also Delaplace's second breakaway of this Tour.
132 km to go: José Ivan Guitierrez (Movistar) is back at the doctor's car getting some attention. He was involved in the mayhem yesterday.
127 km to go: The Moncoutie Trio (AKA The Arashiro Three) has stuck a seven and a half minute gap as they head towards lunch in Veules-les-Roses. I wonder how many musettes contain those little energy waffles. I had them for the first time at last year's GranFondo Whistler and dug them.
125 km to go: Even with all those splits in the peloton yesterday, there are still 44 riders within a minute of Cancellara.
122 km to go: It sounds like there's more bad news for Garmin-Sharp. Not only did Danielson separate his shoulder yesterday, and Vande Velde and Martin lose time, but news reports indicate that their teammate Alex Ramussen is banned 18-months for a whereabouts violation. He had been previously cleared of the same offense while with HTC.
120 km to go: The main bunch has its lunch on the run too.
119 km to go: Musettes discarded and goodies stowed, it's a good time for natural breaks in the peloton. It's a beautiful, sunny day on the northern French coast and even the breakaways looks like they're enjoying their day out.
117 km to go: With this gap, the breakaway should be able to survive the intermediate sprint and the last Cat. 4. Then it'll be a run-in for the sprint in Rouen with only a little rise about 10 kilometres before the line to disrupt proceedings.
Hmm. I think I was quick on the gun with the feedzone. It looks like the peloton is getting their food now, next to some enormous wind turbines.
Today's route is going to swing southeast inland near the end and we may get some winds at that point.
110 km to go: The feedzone allowed the gap to stretch out to six minutes again. Thirty-five kilometres to go to the intermediate sprint and then the last Cat. 4 is soon after that.
109 km to go: After three days in the breakaways, Michael Morkov is happy to display his polka-dots at the back of the peloton.
108 km to go: Looking ahead to the end of August, Alberto Contador will be back from suspension in time for the Vuelta a Espana, looking for his second red jersey in Madrid. Joaquim Rodriguez will be there, I'm sure. Sanchez, Cobo, Valverde, Navarro should all be on the hunt.
When Contador won his Vuelta in 2008 the leader's jersey was gold, but they've changed it to red.
103 km to go: The intrepid trio, with Arashiro at its nose most often it must be said, is climbing a little rise. Their gap seems to be sticking at over six minutes, which looks good for surviving over the last climb. That's when the route starts to swing southeast inland.
101 km to go: As usual there are plenty of inventive, elaborate displays in French fields that can only be seen from the helicopters. It all adds to the extravaganza. It really is a fantastic event.
99 km to go: Tom Danielson nurses his separated shoulder alongside the other bruised, injured and sick athletes at the back of the pack. This pace is fine by them, I'm sure.
Danielson tends to do well at the Vuelta, so he'll want to recover in time for that. I reckon we might see Andy Schleck too. De Gendt, Nieve, Uran Uran are slated for the Vuelta as well.
97 km to go: Although this stage is certainly one for the sprinters, tomorrow's is almost dead flat with no categorized climbs at all.
95 km to go: The gap is dropping rather steadily now as the escape comes within 20 kilometres of the intermediate sprint.
94 km to go: Great Britain named its men's Olympic road squad today, and four of the five are in the Tour. David Millar joins Sky's men Cavendish, Wiggins and Froome. Ian Stannard is the fifth member.
Ryder Hesjedal is Canada's one man team for the road race and the time trial.
90 km to go: Tony Martin, on course to contest the Olympic time trial, is staying in this race with a broken wrist to make sure he gets the work his body needs. Cancellara is the reigning Olympic TT champ and Sammy Sanchez the road race gold medalist. Cancellara was silver to Sammy's gold.
89 km to go: RadioShack and Orica-Greenedge at the front of the peloton with Lotto-Belisol lurking behind.
85 km to go: The gap stretches out a bit. The sprint is in the town of Fécamp which is about 10 kilometres today. Yesterday, Cavendish was the first in the bunch sprint through the intermediate zone after two days of getting clipped by Matty Goss.
84 km to go: You'll always notice one or two men in the peloton eating. It's vital to keep that food energy coming in. Bonking is a really horrible thing - the only energy you have is a twitchy brand that lacks power.
82 km to go: The breach is now over seven minutes between the peloton and the breakaway.
79 km to go: The sprinters' teams - Sky, Orica, Lotto, Liquigas - are amassing at the front to get ready for Fécamp.
76 km to go: There's 1500 Euros at stake for someone in the break. They're just getting on with the business of escape.
75.5 km to go: It'll be Arashiro taking the maximum points. Fair enough, he's the fastest man out there anyway.