Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2022 is a 171.5km hilly road stage from Dunkirk to Calais. It takes in the hills in West Flanders and the Boulonnais. It could be windy along the coast near the end of the stage, and climbs at the Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez headlands could be decisive. Perhaps a day for a breakaway.
This is the Stage 4 TDF 2022 Blog.
|Date||Tuesday 5th July 2022|
|Climbs||Côte de Cassel (Cat. 4)
Côte de Remilly-Wirquin (Cat. 4)
Côte de Nielles-lès-Bléquin (Cat. 4)
Côte de Harlettes (Cat. 4)
Côte du Ventus (Cat. 4)
Côte du Cap Blanc-Nez (Cat. 4)
There is also an annoying video map:
This is the profile of Stage 4 Tour de France 2022.
|Caravan||Fast Schedule||Slow Schedule|
|Start Time (départ fictif)||1115||1315||1315|
|Start Time (départ réel)||1130||1330||1330|
|Intermediate Sprint (63.2km)||1300||1452||1500|
|Sixth & Final Climb (160.7km)||1520||1700||1720|
|Finish Line (171.5km)||1535
Stage 4 starts in Dunkirk.
Dunkirk (Dunkerque in French) is near the northern tip of France and is a major port. The name comes from Flemish, and means 'church in the dunes' (Wikipedia).
The Count of Flanders built a town hall here around AD960 to protect the settlement from Viking raiders. The surrounding wetlands were drained and cultivated by the monks of Bergues Abbey.
Dunkirk became part of Burgundy (1384) and then part of the Habsburg Empire (1581). It even had English governers in the 1600s, but King Charles II of England sold it to France in 1662.
Dunkirk was bombarded by the Germans in 1917, during Word War I.
Dunkirk is known for the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force in World War II. British soldiers had been assisting the French and Belgians, but retreated to Dunkirk in the face of German Panzer attacks. Churchill ordered any ship or boat available to collect soldiers from Dunkirk, and 340,000 men were evacuated as part of Operation Dynamo, or the miracle of Dunkirk. Vehicles and military equipment were left behind.
The town was largely destroyed at the end of the second war by Allied bombing.
A Dunkirk speciality is coq à la bière. It is chicken in a creamy beer sauce.
The Four Days of Dunkirk is an important bike race in the area.
The départ fictif is at place de Centenaire, and the riders roll out along the Digue de Mer - very pleasant unless the wind is blowing horizontal rain at them. They continue along the seafront on Digue Nicolas 2, then turn right on boulevard Trystram. The route continues on rue des Anciens Combattants and rue du Fort, then route du Pont.
The départ réel is on the route du Pont on the eastern edge of Dunkirk. The route takes in Bergues.
Bergues was the setting of a French comedy film called Bienvenue Chez les Chtis, in which the manager of a Post Office branch in the south of France is transferred to the Nord for 2 years, and has trouble adapting to the weather, language and culture.
Cassel existed as an oppidum (hilltop settlement) of the Morin tribe before the Romans came. The Romans called it Castellum Morinorum. Cassel won the 2018 edition of France's Favourite Village TV show.
The Côte de Cassel is after 30.7km. It's 1.7km at 4.2%. It often features in the Four Days of Dunkirk race.
The riders then turn to head west towards Saint Omer.
Lumbres has the only Olympic-standard BMX track in France. This is where there's the day's intermediate sprint takes place.
At 71.8km, there's the second categorised climb, the Côte de Remilly-Wirquin - 1.1km at 6.8%.
The race route heads through the Parc Naturel Régional des Caps et Marais d'Opale. This is the triangle of land with Saint-Omer, Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer at the three corners. It features forests, glades, hedgerows and seascapes.
The Côte de Nielles-lès-Bléquin comes at 97.2km; it's 1.1km at 7.7%. Soon after, the route passes through Coulomby.
Then at 102.7km the riders tackle the next climb, the Côte de Harlettes - 1.3km at 6%.
After Licques there's the Côte du Ventus (1.1km at 4.8%).
The riders pass through Marquise, and they near the coast at Audinghen (after 137.8km). This part of France is the closest to England (about 30km away over the Channel).
The race passes close to the Musée du Mur de l'Atlantique.
The Atlantic Wall was an extensive set of coastal defences and fortifications built by Hitler's Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the west coasts of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway, as a defence against Allied invasion.
The museum is in a big bunker called the Batterie Todt, and there are also two K5 railway guns. They could give artillery cover to German ships in the Channel, and even fire shells at Dover.
The race goes through Wissant and Escalles before the final categorised climb at 169.7km, the Cap Blanc Nez. It's 900m at 7.5%, and if there's a breakaway this could be the place for the strongest rider to drop the others and strike out for Calais.
The race approaches Calais from the WSW on the D940, through Sangatte (where from 1999 to 2002 there was a reception centre for migrants).
The road passes Blériot Plage, named after Louis Blériot who on 25th July 1909 was the first aviator to cross the Channel from the Les Baraques district of Calais, by Blériot Plage.
There's a roundabout, where the riders take a right turn onto rue du Verdun (still the D940). Then it's left at a roundabout on avenue de Pierre Coubertin. (De Coubertin was the founder of the modern Olympics).
The finish is on the avenue Pierre de Coubertin near the Citadelle de Calais.
Calais is opposite Dover at the narrowest point in the English Channel.
It fell to the English under Edward III in 1347, during the One Hundred Years war. It was only re-captured by France in 1558. The town was largely destroyed by German bombing in 1940.
Charles de Gaulle got married in the Notre-Dame church in Calais.
Rodin's Burghers of Calais sculpture stands in front of Calais town hall. It depicts six leaders who surrendered to Edward III in 1347, and who expected to be executed but who were spared.
The winner of Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2022 will have to be both strong and fast. It could be a day for a breakaway, or a long-range attack.
One rider who springs to mind is Magnus Cort (EF Education - EasyPost). Other possible winners could include Rémi Cavagna and Peter Sagan.
Mathieu van der Poel is going for stage wins from breakaways this year - perhaps he will target Stage 4 of the 2022 Tour de France.
Who do you think will win Stage 4?
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