NANCY, France (Reuters) – Italy’s Elia Viviani won the fourth stage of the Tour de France, a 213.5-km flat ride from Reims on Tuesday.
The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider beat Norwegian Alexander Kristoff and Australian Caleb Ewan in a mass sprint finish.
France’s Julian Alaphilippe retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey after being cheered on all the way from Reims by massive crowds of locals and tourists.
A three-man breakaway featuring Frenchman Yoann Offredo, Swiss Michael Schaer and Belgian Frederik Backaert was kept on a tight leash by the peloton and they were all reined in 16 kilometres from the finish.
The main contenders, including defending champion Geraint Thomas, had a quiet day in the peloton.
Wednesday’s fifth stage is a 175.5km hilly ride from St Die des Vosges to Colmar.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Ed Osmond)