Sunday, Sep 21, 2014

Tour de France returns home from England

Italy's Vincenzo Nibali is wearing the leader's yellow jersey for the 163.5-kilometer (101-mile) fourth stage. (Source: AP) Italy's Vincenzo Nibali is wearing the leader's yellow jersey for the 163.5-kilometer (101-mile) fourth stage. (Source: AP)
Associated Press | Lille | Posted: July 8, 2014 6:34 pm

The Tour de France is back on home turf after a boisterous three-day start across the channel in England.

Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali is wearing the leader’s yellow jersey for the mostly flat 163.5-kilometer (101-mile) fourth stage along France’s border with Belgium, from Le Touquet-Paris Plage to Lille Metropole.

Defending champion Chris Froome, who trails Nibali by just two seconds, had a scare early in the stage when he crashed off the side of the road. Race doctors put bandages on his left arm and left knee and the Team Sky rider got back on his bike and caught up with the pack.

Froome is in a group of 20 riders in second place in the overall classification, along with two-time winner Alberto Contador.

Marcel Kittel of Germany sped to victory in front of Buckingham Palace on Monday, his second Tour stage win already this year. He is about 20 minutes off the overall pace, though.

Tour officials estimate that British fans made nearly 5 million individual visits to the route during the first three stages in Yorkshire, Essex and London, with some possibly attending more than one stage.

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