Italian sprinter wins 1st career Tour stage | Professional


Elia Viviani triumphed in a sprint finish in Nancy to claim his maiden stage win at the Tour de France as Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey.

Italy's Elia Viviani celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the fourth stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France in Nancy, France, on July 9, 2019.

"I won on the Giro, I won on the Vuelta, and now I have come full circle", Viviani, who has five Giro d'Italia and three Vuelta stage wins to his name, told reporters.

The Italian crossed the finish line ahead of Alexander Kristoff and Caleb Ewan after Deceuninck-Quick-Step did a ideal work in the last kilometre. It was a big goal of the year.

'I enjoyed every kilometre today and at the end we got a attractive victory, ' Alaphilippe said of Viviani's win.

"I was really up for it today, so when I saw the chance I went all in", said a red-faced Alaphilippe after his third ever stage win and his first yellow jersey.

Viviani dedicated his first Tour de France victory to his partner and fellow pro rider Elena Cecchini and his parents who were in Nancy to see their son win. Probably, I can't believe it.

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Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) both finished safely within the peloton, 31 seconds down on Alaphilippe.

"My lead-out men Michael Morkov and Max Richeze did a ideal job". Kristoff opened up the sprint in the final stretch, but could not hold off Viviani on the left side of the road. After several dozen fans greeted him at his team hotel in the morning, supporters lining streets across the small villages of eastern France wildly cheered him on, shouting "Loulou, Loulou!" - the Frenchman's nickname. "I was just looking in front, making sure I stayed upright", said Thomas, who had a scare on stage 1 when he flew over barriers but avoided injury.

"The team has been unbelievable".

'We really had to bust a gut, ' said Thomas afterwards. I haven't had to do anything, just follow the wheels, and everyone has done their job perfectly.

Under bright sunshine in Reims, three riders attacked from the off.

A three-man breakaway featuring Frenchman Yoann Offredo, Swiss Michael Schaer and Belgian Frederik Backaert was kept on a tight leash by the peloton and they were all reined in 16 kilometres from the finish as Deceuninck-Quick Step worked to set up Viviani's victorious sprint.