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Summary

  1. Mark Cavendish crashes heavily in sprint finish
  2. Cavendish able to finish - heading for X-ray
  3. Britain's Geraint Thomas in separate minor crash late on
  4. Thomas retains yellow jersey
  5. Frenchman Arnaud Demare wins stage, Peter Sagan second

Live Reporting

By Peter Scrivener

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's all folks

I think that's all from me today. I'm going to try and make sense of all that in the race report, which is already under way.

There will be more reaction in there and as soon as we hear anything about Mark Cavendish's condition we will, of course, report on it.

Don't forget BeSpoke from the Tour de France with the BBC Radio 5 live team. They are live tonight on Facebook and there will also be a podcast to follow and they will discuss today's incidents and update with any info as they get it.

Tomorrow's stage begins at the slightly later time of 12:00 BST and I'll be back then for that. It promises to be a huge day for the general classification riders with the first mountain-top finish of this year's race, where Chris Froome won his first Tour stage in 2012.

Thanks for your company today. Let's go again tomorrow.

Stage five
Tour de France
Stage five's route - Chris Froome won here in 2012

Thomas & Froome OK

Race leader Geraint Thomas has also been talking about his spill and he is better off.

"I'm alright," he said. "It was just a crash in front of me and I had nowhere to go.

"Luckily i took off most of the speed. I think Chris Froome managed to get round it and he's OK."

Here's Cav...and he's not happy

He says Peter Sagan offered an apology.

He added: Injury-wise I'm going to get it checked out. I need stitches in a finger. And the shoulder. It's something to do with the shoulder that I hurt in Harrogate (on stage one of the 2014 Tour de France). I'm not a doctor but I'm not optimistic.

"I was following Demare and then Sagan came over. I get on well with Peter but I'm not a fan of him putting his elbow in. A crash is a crash, i'd just like to know about the elbow."

Your view on the crash

Kate Fairhurst‏: Astonished at what I've just seen on @LeTour - @PeterSagan *seemed to* push @MarkCavendish into the barriers. Straight DQ IMHO.

Sam Levey: Can't work out if Sagan is off balance due to Greipel(?) on outside or whether he's defending the inside. Awful for Sir Cav.

#bbccycling

Cav off for an X-ray

No big surprises there.

His Dimension Data team director Roger Hammond is clearly not happy and says "if I was Sagan I would apologise".

He adds: "He's being looked at by the team doctor. A crash that close to the finish is never good and he's going to radiology.

"He has some cuts and his hand is injured but it's too early to say what they are."

Froome down to third

We are still waiting to hear from either Mark Cavendish (unlikely, I would imagine), or Peter Sagan (possible - he's already talked about something to do with Andre Greipel, although that was short and sweet and had a word I can't repeat on here).

Sagan actually ended up second on the stage and he picked up six bonus seconds to move up to second overall, with Chris Froome dropping to third.

Top 10 after stage four

1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) 14hrs 54mins 25secs

2. Peter Sagan (Svk/BORA) +7secs

3. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +12secs

4. Michael Matthews (Aus/Sunweb) Same time

5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Dimension Data) +16secs

6. Pierre Latour (Fra/AG2R) +25secs

7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel/Quick-Step) +30secs

8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Team Sky) +32secs

9. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto) Same time

10. Arnaud Demare (Fra/FDJ) +33secs

Top 10 on stage four

1. Arnaud Demare (Fra/FDJ) 4hrs 53mins 54secs

2. Peter Sagan (Svk/BORA) Same time

3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/Katusha)

4. Andre Greipel (Ger/Lotto)

5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra/Cofidis)

6. Adrien Petit (Fra/Direct Energie)

7. Juergen Roelandts (Bel/Lotto)

8. Michael Matthews (Aus/Sunweb)

9. Manuele Mori (Ita/UAE Team Emirates)

10. Tiesj Benoot (Bel/Lotto)

Sagan & Cav chatting

Sagan and Cavendish are having a bit of a chinwag. Cav puts his arm round the Slovakian. No idea what was said there.

From the rear view, it looks like Sagan flicked out an elbow. From the head-on shot, it looks more like Sagan was trying to keep his balance.

Cav was on the wheel of Demare and as the two went down the right of the road, Sagan came across and there was nowhere to go but into the barriers.

Thomas stays in yellow

Amid all that, Geraint Thomas crossed the line a couple of minutes or so after stage winner Arnaud Demare. But he will retain the yellow jersey because on sprint stages if you crash in the final 3km, you are awarded the same time as the group you were with and in G's case, that was Demare.

That's why the GC guys have to get involved in the sprints.

A DQ for Sagan?

Matt Taggart‏: Surely that was an elbow from Sagan? Are we going to see a DQ?

I don't know Matt. It will be a big call from the race officials. It will be interesting to get Sagan's take on it.

Crash
Reuters

Will Sagan be in trouble?

Cavendish has crossed the finish line. Rob Hayles says that he is not holding his handlebars with his right hand. It could be a broken collarbone.

I want to see another repeat of that Sagan flick. There was definitely movement and the race officials may not take too kindly to that. I can't imagine Cav will be too happy either.

Did Sagan take out Cav?

It looks like Cav was trying to sneak up the inside of Peter Sagan and the world champion looked to flick out an elbow and knock Cav into the barriers.

We may not have heard the last of this.

Cav receiving treatment

After all that Arnaud Demare becomes the first Frenchman in more than a decade to win a bunch sprint finish.

But it's all about Cavendish for me. The medics have reached him and are tending to him. Geraint Thomas pedals by, looks over and realises that it's his mate on the deck.

This could be the end of the Tour for Cav.

Demare wins stage four

Arnaud Demare wins stage four

Arnaud Demare
Reuters

Cav still down

Mark Cavendish is still on the deck. It could be his collarbone again. Geraint Thomas is back up and pedalling.

Cav crashes

More on the crash later. G looked OK.

Here's the finish. Andre Greipel is in pole position but Mark Cavendish goes down. He's pushed into the barriers hard.

crash
AFP

Geraint crashes

Edvald Boasson Hagen has to keep going for another kilo here. Mark Renshaw is in front of Cav Big crash. Geraint Thomas goes down.

Cav being well lead out

Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome are still in the first 20 on the road. Dimension Data take over the pace-setting. They are doing everything they can for Cav.

Marcel Kittel is coming up, he has two team-mates in front of him but is about 40 riders back. 2km to go

3.5km to go

Here we come into Vittel. It doesn't look like a particularly big place.

Poor old GvK has gone out the back of the peloton. He is pedalling squares.

Up at the front Katusha are pushing on, looking to set up Kristoff.

Last 5km

An Astana rider is furious with someone in the Movistar team. Plenty of arm waving going on.

Cofidis ignore all that and sneak to the front, bringing Nacer Bouhanni to the fore. Dimension Data alongside them. Luke Rowe leading Team Sky on the opposite side of the road with Geraint Thomas two behind him.

7.5km remaining

Steve Cummings, the British national champion, is also pulling for Cav. The Dimension Data line is alongside Sky, with Astana, Movistar and Katusha also dominating the front of the peloton.

Bora Hansgrohe are not quite on the front but Peter Sagan is on the wheel of his brother Juraj. Peter could fancy this slightly uphill drag to the line.

10km remaining

It's all looking a little too organised out there at the moment. The lead-out trains are all neatly arranged.

Bernie Eisel of the Dimension Data team is up near the front. He will be riding for Mark Cavendish. Cav will also be looking for the wheel of Kittel or Greipel to try and surf his way to the line.

Teams lining up

Team Sky are down the right-hand side, which is a shame for Geraint Thomas because there is a Welsh flag on the left of the road that he will have had no chance of seeing.

Astana are moving their riders up to the front. They won't be bothered about the sprint, more about keeping Fabio Aru and Jakob Fuglsang out of bother.

The road is wide enough for about six teams to be spread out in trains.

15km remaining

Poor old Guillaume goes backwards through the peloton and quickly finds himself right at the back. He's going to have to work mightily hard just to stay in that position.

The pace is high at the front. Katusha, Movistar, Lotto, FDJ and Bora are all manouevering their riders into position.

GvK is done

Guillaume van Keirsbulck. Chapeau to you my good man. It would have been easy 185km or so ago for him to sit up and wait for another rider or two to try and break clear but he pushed on alone and will deserve the combativity prize as the day's most aggressive rider.

His arms are resting on the handlbars and he keeps looking over his shoulder at the pack chasing him down.

Another swig and he makes a gesture with his hand to say, that's it, I'm done.

And the catch is made with around 17km remaining. It's sprint time...

GvK's lead almost done

The lead is down under one minute as the pulsating mass of the peloton sweeps left round a tight bend.

GvK is back at his team car. I wonder how that conversation went...

"Come on G. Final push. 20km left."

"Just give me a bottle."

"Don't be like that G. We're here for you."

"If you ever order me into the break again."

"They are miles behind you G. You're going to win. Just two more corners."

"I still need a wee."

The pack
AFP

One for Cav?

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

Mark Cavendish has missed a big chunk of the season with glandular fever. He has 30 Tour stage wins, just four behind all-time leader Eddy Merckx.

"My concern is that Mark's a year older and in his early 30s. My fear is that actually it’s going to get on top of him and he’s going to fatigue more in this Tour. We may have seen the best of him. Normally with Mark he recovers really really quickly and that is certainly the hope, particularly by the end of the first week. The signs that we’ve seen are that there could be one or two stage wins for him.

"Under normal circumstances, this finish would suit him well."

25km remaining

Guillaume van Keirsbulck is putting everything he has into this final 25km but his 90-second lead is going to start coming down soon.

The lead motobike sidles up to him and the timing lady in her yellow suit and helmet has the chalkboard telling him he is 100 seconds clear. Either she's a little out, or the timing on the screen is.

Either way, it's going to be the longest 25km of his life.

"Let him fry," says Rob Hayles on commentary. Poor lad.

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

The way the race has evolved over the last couple of days is it’s really gone into the favour of Team Sky as they’ve not had to do too much at the front.

Your cycling cleat stories

Kat S‏: Foot wouldn't go in clip, tried to stop to get foot in clip, fell over. Bruise the size of my hand on my leg.

Bart‏: First time cleats. Fell over in front of really hard looking geordie bloke. Expected laughter got "are ye all reet bonny lad".

stupöt‏: First time in cleats. Stopped outside chip shop for dinner. Forgot to unclip, headfirst into railings outside in front of queue #bbccycling

The race for green

And all that means that Marcel Kittel leads the way on 77 points, ahead of Arnaud Demare on 74 and Peter Sagan on 65.

The first 15 riders over the finish in Vittel will pick up more points with 50 for first and then 30, 20, 18,16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.

All to ride for then. Just 30km remaining today.

Intermediate sprint result

It's finally in...(the TdF website is calling him Kurt. Kurt?)

1. Kurt Van Keirsbulck, 20 points,

At 2.40:

2. Arnaud Demare, 17

3. Peter Sagan, 15

4. André Greipel, 13

5. Marcel Kittel, 11

6. Michael Matthews, 10

7. Ben Swift, 9

8. Maciej Bodnar, 8

9. Mark Cavendish, 7

10. Sonny Colbrelli, 6

11. Rüdiger Selig, 5

12. Jack Bauer, 4

13. Thomas De Gendt, 3

14. Matteo Trentin, 2

15. Ramon Sinkeldam, 1

GvK wins KoM point

Guillaume van Keirsbulck has crested the summit to win a King of the Mountains point. He takes a look behind him but the riders are still 90 seconds back down the road.

Simon Brotherton on race commentary suggests he may well be relieved when he is finally caught. Rob Hayles says he should be well pleased with his efforts.

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck
AFP

Sprinters moving on up

Katusha-Alpecin have sent a rider to the front of the peloton. He is joined by Thomas de Gendt of Lotto-Soudal and Julien Vermote of Quick-Step Floors - the two strong men of their teams, who spend kilo after kilo on the front doing the hard work in chasing down breaks to set up the sprint.

Shaved legs in the 90s

Rob and Simon have been discussing family links to the sport on 5 live commentary because many of the riders from mainland Europe have come from cycling dynasties. Our leader's grandad is a former world champion don't forget.

"In the UK there are so many more first generation bike riders because it’s trendy and cool to be a bike rider these days," Rob says. "All the fashion shops have bikes in the windows; that wasn’t the case when I was trying to get girlfriends back in school with shaved legs!"

GvK on the climb

Our leader continues to get plenty of encouragement as he reaches the bottom of today's climb. How are the legs G? He is immediately out of the saddle and then quickly back in it.

The boy looks exhausted. His lead is disappearing quicker than the liquid in his bidon though. Just under two minutes clear now.

Tonight's BeSpoke podcast

OJ Borg have picked a chateau as tonight's venue for the BBC Radio 5 live Facebook live, which also becomes the BeSpoke podcast.

OJ tells me it is the Chateau De La Presle and belongs to Marie and Geoff. Marie is French, Geoff from Newcastle.

More details on that to follow but keep an eye out for it later.

BeSpoke van at Chateau
BBC Sport

Go GvK go...

The next bit of excitement on the horizon is the category four ascent of Col des Trois Fontaines - a 1.9km pimple with an average gradient of 7.9%. That's coming in about 10km.

I'm hoping Guillaume van Keirsbulck can make it over the top in front to pick up the solitary King of the Mountains point on offer today. He certainly deserves it.

Your cycling cleat stories

Thomas Rees: Chain snapped a few years ago going up a climb in the Cotswolds. Legs kept spinning and I couldn't unclip before toppling over!

littlelosses‏: T-junction by a cow field, raining, roadside was a mix of rain water, mud and dung. Car came, I braked, clip stuck, oh sh...

Henry Compson‏: My mate Dave decided to learn to ride in cleats on a year long ride from London 2 Sydney. 4 weeks in and the fall count = 5.

Your cycling cleat stories #bbccycling