Ewan takes third in Tour stage four dash

Julian Alaphilippe takes yellow- Tour de France 2019 stage three results and standings Julian Alaphilippe solos to victory and into leader's yellow jersey

There was no such hiccup on the finish line in the eastern city of Nancy, France, and Viviani was clearly the best.

Elia Viviani edged the finish after a frenzied last kilometre on stage four, leaving Alexander Kristoff half a wheel behind in second, just ahead of Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan.

"I have a strong team around me who believes so much in me and they delivered a flawless lead-out".

"It was truly the big goal of this season. I was focused on my lead out, it was ideal team work". Hugo Houle of Sainte-Perpétue, Que., who rides for Astana, was 126th in Stage 4 and 84th over all. "I was in a good position and I was helping my teammate but I was also scared [of crashes] because the finish was nervous".

It was a second consecutive stage victory for Viviani's Belgian team after Alaphilippe's champagne moment in Epernay on Monday powered him into the yellow jersey. Both men hugged warmly after their team produced a second straight stage win.

"This victory means a lot to me", Viviani said.

In front of the Reims cathedral with 69km to go, the deficit of the peloton was below two minutes with Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-Quick Step still at the front.

It comes a day after Alaphilippe prevailed on stage three, from Binche to Épernay. After several dozen fans greeted him at his team hotel in the morning, supporters lining streets across the small villages of eastern France wildly cheered him on, shouting "Loulou, Loulou!" - the Frenchman's nickname.

Alaphilippe enjoyed a day free of pressure, well protected in the main pack by teammates, and then played a role in the final sprint to launch Viviani's final effort.

As Ineos team principal Sir Dave Brailsford was happy to tell anyone, Alaphilippe has "not a chance" of keeping yellow through the mountains, so it is the gaps further down that matter, and the one that has caught the eye is the five-second cushion that separates Bernal in sixth from Thomas in seventh.

"The team has been fantastic".

"I said today "I will only focus on Max Richeze's wheel", I know Morkov does an unbelievable job, he is the best in choosing the time and he did it perfectly today. It's been ideal", Thomas said. The breakaway riders swapped turns efficiently until Wellens attacked with 48km to go before the climb of Nanteuil-la-Forêt.

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