• Race leader Vincenzo Nibali rides the wet cobbles during Stage 5 of the 2014 Tour de France (Getty Images)
Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali has completed a reconnaissance of the cobbled sectors to be included in Stage 4 of the Tour de France.
Cycling Central

19 Apr 2015 - 8:24 AM  UPDATED 19 Apr 2015 - 9:47 AM

Cobbles will make an appearance for the second consecutive year in the Tour with parts of the Paris-Roubaix pavé included in Stage 4 of this year's race.

Astana made the trip to Northen France with part of their Tour squad to ride the cobbles. The 221km stage features 13km of cobbles split over seven sectors.

"It was a good scout. It was important to ascertain the pressure in the tires and to see the material and the bike," Nibali told Sporza.

“The sectors are heavy, especially the first one, which is very narrow and bad. The stage is also very long. In the final, you will feel the fatigue."

Astana fared well on the pavé last year with Lars Boom winning the stage and race leader Nibali finishing third, extending his lead over his general classification rivals.

"Like last year, this will be a very important journey. Last year we knew we could do well, but perhaps not that we would catch so much time on direct competitors. We have the experience of last year, but we must always take into account other great riders like (Alberto) Contador, (Nairo) Quintana and (Chris) Froome. They are my biggest rivals."

SBS will broadcast every stage of the Tour de France live.