'Perfect job' gives Viviani full set of stage victories

REIMS • Italy’s Elia Viviani was thrilled after he notched wins in all three of cycling’s major tours, following his fourth-stage victory at the Tour de France yesterday, a 213.5-km flat ride from Reims to Nancy yesterday.

The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider, who finished in 5hr 9min 20sec, beat Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) in a mass sprint photo finish.

Viviani is also the first Italian to win a bunch sprint in the Tour de France since Alessandro Petacchi in 2010.

“It means a lot,” said the 30-year-old former Sky rider on Eurosport.

“I can’t believe it still. It was a big goal of the year.

“Today we did a perfect job, I need to thank the team, they were really unbelievable.

“I’m pretty happy. I was missing this win: I won in the Giro (five) and the Vuelta (three) and now in the Tour de France, that means a lot to me.”

Kristoff said: “To be second, I am proud of that but hopefully I will get one stage.

“If I had just had a little bit extra I would have won it, but unfortunately Viviani was a little bit stronger today.”

France’s Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey after being cheered on all the way from Reims by massive crowds of locals and tourists. He leads Belgian Wout van Aert of Team Jumbo-Visma by 20 seconds.

A three-man breakaway featuring Frenchman Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Swiss Michael Schaer (CCC Team) and Belgian Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe-Gobert) was kept on a tight leash by the peloton and they were all reined in 16km from the finish.

The main contenders, including defending champion Geraint Thomas of Team Ineos, had a quiet day in the peloton.

Today’s fifth stage is a 175.5km hilly ride from St Die des Vosges to Colmar.

REUTERS

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