Germany’s Andre Greipel held his nerve to claim the fourth stage of the Tour de France in Rouen on Wednesday.
After a relatively slow start to the race, the closing stages were marked by a spectacular crash less than 3 kms from the finish line with Britain’s Mark Cavendish among the casualties.
Despite being shaken by his fall, the World Road Race Champion, who was seeking to draw level with Lance Armstrong by adding to his 21 Tour stage wins, was able to get back on his bike and finish the stage.
With Cavendish out of the picture, Greipel was able to take a relatively straightforward win, his second in the race after he opened his Tour de France account last year in Carmaux.
Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi produced a solid run but eventually had to settle for second place ahead of Dutchman Tom Veelers.
RadioShack’s Fabian Cancellara finished safely to retain his yellow jersey heading into the fifth stage, a 196.5km trek from Rouen to Saint Quentin.