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Stage 4: Dunkerque to Calais

Roller Coaster

Riders familiar with the venerable Four Days of Dunkirk stage race will feel right at home on this 171.5-kilometer loop that takes in the infamous Mont Cassel in West Flanders before heading west though the Boulogne hills and ending the day along the English Channel coast.

It’s a stage that should put the puncheurs in the spotlight. The day’s six categorized climbs (including the Cat. 3 Côte de Harlette with 69 kilometers to go) aren’t that insurmountable, but positioning will be crucial because it’s always windy in the Pas-de-Calais region.

And the last part of the stage crosses the headlands of Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez—a Cat. 4 climb that comes just 10.8 kilometers from the finish in Calais. Depending on the wind direction, we could see a solo rider prevail; a small group contest the finish; or even a bunch sprint. Perhaps this will be the day French sprinter Bryan Coquard earns his first Tour stage win; he won the Dunkirk stage race in 2016 and now rides for Cofidis, which is based in northern France.