Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Stage 4 Preview: A calm before another storm?..

Situated in the Escaut Valley, bordered by the Hainaut and Artois plateaus and the vast rolling plains, Cambrai is the gateway to northern France. The urban centre of the south-west of the d├ępartement, it boasts some remarkable architecture and the legacy of a 17 centuries worth of history.

Reims by contrast is known as the city of Champagne and is the former coronation site of French monarchs. Bordered by the prestigious slopes of the Montagne de Reims, it is the home of many
famous champagnes. The coronation site of all but three French kings from 1027 to 1825, Reims is proud of its cathedral, dating back to the 12th century and a symbol of the gothic period in its glory.

With just one categorised climb, 40km into the route, todays stage is one for the sprinters. The GC favourites will enjoy a welcome break from the craziness that preceded it, and will stay out of harms way in the middle of the pack. With his rival in green, today is surely to be a day when HTC-Columbia work to get their man, Mark Cavendish into contention for a stage victory, and as many points as possible.

Meanwhile, back in yellow, Fabian Cancellara celebrates with a new bike.

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