Viviani wins Tour de France stage four, Alaphilippe stays in yellow

Julian Alaphilippe wins stage three of the 2019 Tour de France

Julian Alaphilippe wins stage three of the 2019 Tour de France

Elia Viviani won stage four of the Tour de France in a sprint finish in Nancy as Deceuninck-Quick Step team-mate Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey.

Italy's Elia Viviani celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the fourth stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France in Nancy, France, on July 9, 2019.

'I think way too much has been made of it if I am honest, ' he said.

Viviani has five Giro d'Italia and three Vuelta a Espana stage wins to his name, but he has been made to wait for one in Le Tour. "Viviani edged out UAE Team Emirates" Alexander Kristoff and Lotto-Soudal's Caleb Ewan at the line, with Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Sagan in fourth.

"It was truly the big goal of this season".

Viviani's victory was the ideal follow-up to Julian Alaphilippe's win on Monday for the Belgian team, who retained the yellow jersey after the Frenchman was cheered on all the way from Reims by massive crowds of locals and tourists.

Viviani dedicated his first Tour de France victory to his partner and fellow pro rider Elena Cecchini and his parents who were in Nancy to see their son win. "I can't believe it".

"My lead-out men Michael Morkov and Max Richeze did a ideal job".

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"That means a lot", he said.

Viviani now wants more stage wins, he is not satisfied with just one, even if he knows he will have to play a team role in the next two mountain stages and pay Alaphilippe back by helping to defend the yellow jersey. 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.

Thomas remains 45 sec adrift of Alaphilippe in the overall standings.

"It is what it is", Thomas said.

"I was hoping just to slowly drift back a bit and the next thing I know no-one is coming past me and I was like "I have to try and close this gap" but it was a bit late by then".

The French rider left the chasing pack for dead with a fierce burst of acceleration on a short sharp climb amid the Champagne vineyards.

On the flat stage, the peloton hauled in a breakaway group initially consisting of Michael Schär (CCC), Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

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