• Guillaume Van Keirsbulck enjoyed a solo day in from of the Stage 4 peloton. (Getty)Source: Getty
Lost in the finishing drama of Stage 4 was the lonely 190km journey of Wanty-Groupe Gobert's Guillaume Van Keirsbulck.
By
Cycling Central

5 Jul 2017 - 9:10 AM  UPDATED 5 Jul 2017 - 12:07 PM

 Van Keirsbulck struck out from flag fall on the 207.5km stage from Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel, looked behind for a rider, any rider, to come across and join him in the breakaway but there were no takers on a flat stage destined to end in a sprint.

But the TV lights were on, he was committed and there was no going back for the intrepid 26-year-old Belgian. A long solitary day plowing into a headwind was his fate.

"I said this morning that I wanted to be part of the breakaway, and that was the case. Hilaire (Sports Director Van der Schueren) told me to continue my efforts, and that others would join me in the lead. But I have not seen anyone all day, that was not ideal," he said after the race.

"The wind was not ideal," he said. "I was waiting for the last climb to give full gas and then I did not have much energy anymore. I would rather have had some company, but it is the first Tour for Wanty-Groupe Gobert so that's great."

After building an initial lead of 13min 54sec, he was eventually caught 16km from the finish as the sprint trains geared up and after averaging 40.35km/h for the 190km.

His efforts did not go unrecognised, with the race jury awarding him the daily prize as the "most combative" rider of the day.

"I'm going to sleep well this night. I want to try again later, but now I'll do some slightly less intensive stages," he said.