Sport

Italian speedster Viviani nabs 1st Tour stage win

Italian speedster Viviani nabs 1st Tour stage win”

Italy's Elia Viviani was too fast for any of the other top speedsters in a classic 70kph (44mph) bunch sprint at the end of the fourth stage of the Tour de France in Nancy on Tuesday.

Viviani edged Alexander Kristoff and Caleb Ewan who were second and third on a 1.5km home straight with all the top sprinters and their lead-off trains, were active over a nervy finale.

That was the product of a slight gap between the pair as they crossed the line in Epernay, enough for them to be deemed in different groups on the road.

The Team Ineos rider is 45 seconds adrift.

"My father and mother were on the finish line today, they were set to leave yesterday but finally chose to stay because the stage was for sprinters", Viviani said. "I was hoping just to slowly drift back a bit and the next thing I know no one is coming past me and I was like: "I have to try and close this gap" but it was a bit late by then".

"Obviously five seconds - it is nice not to lose that".

"I'm speechless. I don't realize what's happening to me", said Alaphilippe, who finished in four hours, 40 minutes and 29 seconds to finish 26 seconds ahead of the pack led by Team Australian Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb.

Regardless of what the time sheets said, Brailsford seemed ready to deny the gap existed at all.

"From the moment I got off the bus, all the way to the finish line it was just overwhelming", said the 27-year-old. If anyone understands the sport, you watch the sport, there is a 30-metre gap. The five seconds makes no difference.

Viviani rightly singled out his lead-out men: Michael Morkov and Max Richeze, who used their skills, sixth sense and speed to set up Viviani and guide him through the hectic and technical final three kilometres in central Nancy.

It was sweet reward for the 30-year-old, who had been frustrated to leave the Giro empty-handed in May, and found the finishing incline of Saturday's opening stage of the Tour in Brussels too hard.

"It means a lot".

"I have a strong team around me who believes so much in me and they delivered a flawless lead-out". It was a big goal of the year. We didn't win in Belgium, we missed out on the first stage, which was totally my fault because I lost the wheel of my lead-out.

"I've got the green jersey but I haven't got a stage win yet, I'll play it day by day - it's a long way to Paris", said the Slovak star after pulling on the green jersey again.

Viviani has five Giro d'Italia and three Vuelta a Espana stage wins to his name, but he had to wait for one in Le Tour.



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