Tour de France Tour de France 2022: Stage 4 (Dunkerque – Calais, 171.5k)

After the rest day, it’s time for yet another sprint opportunity. The sprinters will have to work for it, though – there are six categorised climbs among the multitude of hills and it’s also another day where the wind could be a factor, so you’d think a fair few of them won’t make it to the line. Who will Van Aert finish second to this time?

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Route description
The stage starts from the coastal city of Dunkerque. Historically a part of Flanders, it became a pirate base in the Eighty Years’ War and would remain one for quite some time after it was conquered by France in the 17th century. Its proximity to England meant it played an important role in both World Wars, most notably in the form of the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940. Today, it is the third-largest port in France, and best-known in cycling circles for the not-actually-Four Days of Dunkerque.

On that note, we head to the classic climb of the Four Days, traditionally the home of the queen stage on the fifth day, Mont Cassel. It isn’t marked as such on the official profile but this is, in fact, the classic cobbled side (albeit on easy cobbles, from 1.2k to 2.4k and again from 2.7k to the end of the profile below).


Shortly after this, the route heads into Pas-de-Calais, where the remainder of the stage will play out. After a false-flat drag up to Wisques, the road descends back into the Aa valley for the intermediate sprint in Lumbres, atop a slight rise.




From here the going gets a bit tougher as the riders make their way through the Artois hills. The next climb, Côte de Remilly-Wirquin, is the second cat. 4 of the day.


This is followed by the Côte d’Ouve-Wirquin, which would have been a reasonable excuse to hand out KOM points on a flatter day, but today it’s barely one of the ten hardest hills. As you can see on the stage profile, it is immediately followed by a second, easier climb of which I don’t have a profile.


After this, the route turns north for a series of climbs, two of which are categorised, including the first one: Côte de Nielles-lès-Bléquin, better known as the Mont Bart.


Its descent is interrupted by this little kicker, Côte du Lusquet.


The next climb, Côte des Harlettes, is another cat. 4.


This hilly section ends with the Mont du Héteux, arguably the hardest hill of the day but not categorised.


The route west from here to the coast (which is reached at about 20k to go) is easier, although it does contain another cat. 4, Côte du Ventus.


There are still uncategorised hills to be had though, such as the Côte d’Hydrequent…


…and the Mont de la Louve.


Upon reaching the coast, the route turns northeast to follow the main road all the way into Calais. It takes in two final hills, the uncategorised Côte du Petit Blanc Nez…


…and the final KOM of the day, Côte du Cap Blanc-Nez, at the less famous counterpart of the White Cliffs of Dover. It’s the first kilometre of the profile below – at 10.8 to go, it’s certainly steep enough to trouble the sprinters, but both the climb and the run-in to the line are on wide roads.
 
I’ve finally done it – I’ve managed to make an opening post for a single stage that exceeded the image limit, hence why it’s split in two.

Final kilometres




They enter the Calais urban area at 3.4 kilometres from the line, and immediately hit two roundabouts where sticking to the left is a necessity to stay in position.




The next roundabout is at 2.3k to go, this time only the left side is open.


It’s only at 1.4 kilometres from the line that the riders finally leave this somewhat claustrophobic road, via another roundabout.


Finally, the turn onto the finishing straight comes at this positively Dutch-looking roundabout 500 metres out.


There’s a slight bend to the right between 300 and 200 metres to go, just enough to keep the finish line out of sight a little longer.

The city of Calais owes its importance to being the mainland port closest to Britain; indeed, it was under English control from early in the Hundred Years’ War until the mid-16th century. Much like Dunkerque, large parts of the city were destroyed in the Second World War. While the port has long since been eclipsed by Dunkerque, its importance as a connection to Britain has only increased following the construction of the Eurotunnel, but this location has also caused it to be a focal point of migrant crises in recent years.

Fun fact: both the start and the finish have been in coastal towns and cities for each of the four stages. After today, this Tour won’t so much as see the coastline another time.


Passerelle du Grand Large in Dunkerque, a part of the urban renewal in the old port area.
 
If it is raced hard and aggressively the pure sprinters won’t make it.
If they leave it until the last climb before it kicks off someone like Philipsen or Groenewegen might survive. Wout favourite imo.
Most/all of the sprinters will survive. A 900 m climb of 7,5 %. They will at most lose a few positions. After that it's still 8 km flat to move on. What is possible is that some riders will attack in front. But even for attackers who are a few seconds ahead of the top, it's almost impossible to stay 8 km out of the chasing pack. So there is only the option of an early attack with several riders that stays ahead. But what we saw in Denmark doesn't bode well.
 
I hope we see an attack by Jumbo-Visma on the last short hill. Like the attack on the first stage of Paris-Nice 2022. This were Rog, Wout and Laporte.

Tomorrow, it could be the same: attack by Rog, Wout and Laporte, together with Vingegaard, Benoot and van Hooydonck.

After all, Primoz should now start to take back the nine seconds he‘s behind Tadej.

Tomorrow and Wednesday suit Jumbo. UAE will start fireworks Thursday and Friday.

The Tour starts now, and I pray we see great fights. And I hope the fights won‘t be disturbed by crashes and/or mechanicals. :)
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
I hope we see an attack by Jumbo-Visma on the last short hill. Like the attack on the first stage of Paris-Nice 2022. This were Rog, Wout and Laporte.

Tomorrow, it could be the same: attack by Rog, Wout and Laporte, together with Vingegaard, Benoot and van Hooydonck.

After all, Primoz should now start to take back the nine seconds he‘s behind Tadej.

Tomorrow and Wednesday suit Jumbo. UAE will start fireworks Thursday and Friday.

The Tour starts now, and I pray we see great fights. And I hope the fights won‘t be disturbed by crashes and/or mechanicals. :)
This only works if the build up is good for it as well. In P-N this year they had 2 hills within 15km of the final hill on rather technical roads. So when they put the hammer down the bunch was on a long line and moving up was pretty much impossible. This was also during P-N, sure with a good field, but not nearly as good as at the TdF.
It's not going to happen I think.
 
This only works if the build up is good for it as well. In P-N this year they had 2 hills within 15km of the final hill on rather technical roads. So when they put the hammer down the bunch was on a long line and moving up was pretty much impossible. This was also during P-N, sure with a good field, but not nearly as good as at the TdF.
It's not going to happen I think.
Yeah, mine was rather wishful thinking. But Jumbo could use their strength tomorrow. After all, UAE only has two explosive riders, Pog and Hirschi…
 
Likely some aggressive racing on the schedule tomorrow. The likes of van der Poel to get involved. Breakaway likely to be caught. A rather nervous stage for GC guys. To not be in bad position. If something to happen. Maybe one of those 60 kilo pulls from Rogla. As van Aert might return the favor the day after tomorrow.
 
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Reactions: Sandisfan
Most/all of the sprinters will survive. A 900 m climb of 7,5 %. They will at most lose a few positions. After that it's still 8 km flat to move on. What is possible is that some riders will attack in front. But even for attackers who are a few seconds ahead of the top, it's almost impossible to stay 8 km out of the chasing pack. So there is only the option of an early attack with several riders that stays ahead. But what we saw in Denmark doesn't bode well.
The last climb itself would not be long enough of its own to be selective, but it is up and down all day. If it is raced aggressively, i think we see a reduced peleton of sprinting for it in Calais, with pure sprinters dropped. Of course if it is very gentle until the last climb most sprinters can survive.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
The last climb itself would not be long enough of its own to be selective, but it is up and down all day. If it is raced aggressively, i think we see a reduced peleton of sprinting for it in Calais, with pure sprinters dropped. Of course if it is very gentle until the last climb most sprinters can survive.
I agree. If anything were to happen, it would be during the slightly hilly stage. Not on the last climb. But we have been disappointed as so often during the past Tours. Just like during the previous two stages. Who's going to attack? Not the sprinter teams, not the classification teams. The attackers from the second row will not get much freedom, because they are still too close in the general. Perhaps a long attack, with a fairly large group, which is taken back in time.
 

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