Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2022 is a 172km 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.
|Date||Tuesday 5th July 2022|
At the time of writing, the only map available is one of those annoying video ones:
Profile of Stage 4 Tour de France 2022 to follow.
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 route takes in Bergues, Cassel, Saint Omer, and Lumbres. It heads through the Parc Naturel Régional des Caps et Marais d'Opale.
The riders pass through Marquise, and near the coast at Audinghen. They go through Wissant before climbing by the Cap Blanc Nez.
The race approaches Calais from the WSW. The finish is on the Avenue Pierre de Coubertin.
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 favourites for Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2022 could be those who are both strong and fast.
One rider who springs to mind is Magnus Cort.
Who do you think will win Stage 4?
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