More crashes on today's flat stage - Ilnur Zakarin loses a minute...

Fernando Gaviria of Quick Step Floors has won his second stage of his debut Tour de France, crossing the line first ahead of Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel of Lotto-Soudal to win a hard-fought sprint at the end of today’s Stage 4 in Sarzeau. BMC Racing’s Greg van Avermaet retains the race leader’s yellow jersey.

A crash with just 5 kilometres remaining of the 195 kilometre stage from La Baule split the peloton, with last year’s runner-up, Rigoberto Uran of EF Education First-Drapac, having to battle back to rejoin the bunch ahead of the final 3 kilometres to avoid losing time.

Less fortunate was the Katusha-Alpecin overall hope, Ilnur Zakarin, who rolled over the line almost a minute behind the front group.

The crash briefly gave hope to the day’s four-man breakaway that they might be able to stay out and contest the win, but the sprinters were not to be denied and the quartet was swept up with just 1 kilometre left.

The break comprised two riders each from France and Belgium – a portent perhaps of a 2-2 result and penalties in tonight’s FIFA World Cup semi-final? 

The escapees was made up of, for the home nation, Cousin of Direct Energie and Cofiidis rider Anthony Perez, and representing Belgium his team mate Dimitri Claeys and Wanty’s Guillaiume Van Keirsbuick.

Even without that late crash, today’s stage had seen some drama, as flat, opening week stages of the Tour de France that seem likely to follow a set script so often do, with a couple of crashes just after the 50 kilometres to go mark.

There was also an incident in which  Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan, in the green jersey, caught on camera mid-altercation with another rider, something the commissaires will no doubt take a look at.

More to follow

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.