Tour de France: Viviani wins stage four as Alaphilippe retains yellow jersey

Elia Viviani wins stage four of the 2019 Tour de France
Elia Viviani (right) won stage four in a photo finish from Alexander Kristoff and Caleb Ewan

Elia Viviani claimed his first Tour de France stage win as team-mate Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey after stage four.

A relatively flat 213.5km route from Reims set up a bunch sprint in Nancy, with Italy's Viviani edging out Alexander Kristoff and Caleb Ewan.

The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider, 30, who won omnium gold at the 2016 Olympics, is riding in his second Tour.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas stays seventh overall, 45 seconds adrift.

Viviani's victory marks a fine 24 hours for the Belgian team, who were already celebrating after Alaphilippe's superb win in Epernay on stage three.

And the race leader played his part in this success, selflessly leading the 30-year-old to the front of the race with Argentine team-mate Max Richeze, before giving way as the Italian powered to the line.

"I was missing this win. That means a lot," said Viviani whose palmares includes five stage victories at the Giro d'Italia and three at the Vuelta a Espana - the other Grand Tours.

"I can't believe it," he added. "It was the big goal of the year. We missed our first chance to win a stage and take the yellow jersey but after yesterday with Julian it was the moment the team switched on.

"I just needed to do my job in the last few hundred metres. It is what I do better if they launch me like that. I was focused on my lead out, it was perfect team work."

Britain's Thomas finished safely in the peloton with his co-leader at Ineos, Colombia's Egan Bernal and compatriot Adam Yates.

All the other main general classification hopefuls, like Movistar's Nairo Quintana and Bahrain Merida's Vincenzo Nibali, who won the Tour in 2014, also came home in the main bunch.

Wednesday's fifth stage is a hilly race through the Vosges to Colmar. In his BBC Sport Tour de France stage-by-stage guide Mitchelton-Scott's Adam Yates predicts it could be a day for the breakaway to succeed but if not, keep an eye on three-time world champion for Peter Sagan.

Stage five route map
Stage five of the Tour de France takes place in north-eastern France

Stage four results

1. Elia Viviani (Ita/Deceuninck-Quick Step) 5hrs 9mins 20secs

2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/UAE) Same time

3. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto-Soudal)

4. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora-Hansgrohe)

5. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/Jumbo-Visma)

6. Mike Teunissen (Ned/Jumbo-Visma)

7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita/Dimenson Data)

8. Jasper Stuyen (Bel/Trek-Segafredo)

9. Michael Matthews (Aus/Sunweb)

10. Christophe Laporte (Fra/Cofidis)

General classification after stage four

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick Step) 14hrs 41mins 39secs

2. Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma) +20secs

3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +25secs

4. George Bennett (NZ/Jumbo-Visma) Same time

5. Michael Matthews (Aus/Sunweb) +40secs

6. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos) Same time

7. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos) +45secs

8. Enric Mas (Spa/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +46secs

9. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/CCC) +51secs

10. Michael Woods (Can/EF Education First) Same time

Selected others

12. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +52secs

21. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain Merida) +1min 01secs

22. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +1min 06secs

38. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +1min 30 secs

43. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +1min 43secs