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Ben Healy and today’s Tour de France yellow jersey, Richard Carapaz, finish together at the end of stage 4 into Valloire (Photo: Nico Vereecken-PN-Cor Vos)

Ben Healy said today’s stage 4 at the Tour de France was flat out from very early and when the field hit the final climb of the day, the Col du Galibier, his team mate and race leader Richard Carapaz could not hold on to the strongest riders.

Ireland’s Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) said the battle commenced today when the sprinters and their teams started to compete to get ahead for the first intermediate sprint of the day.

And from that point on, though the pace settled down for a time, it was a very hard day out as they tackled Sestrières, Col de Montgenèvre and Col du Galibier on the 139.6km stage from Pinerolo to Valloire.

When Carapaz lost the group on the Galibier – where eventual stage winner and new race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) attacked – Healy joined forces with him. They would eventually lose just over five minutes to finish 31st and 32nd on the stage.

“On the first climb it was full gas,” Healy said after the stage. “There was a bonus sprint pretty close to the start, so all the sprinters were going for that.

“And then after the bonus sprint, it was a bit more controlled and a good breakaway for us went, and then UAE took up the pace and kept real close.It was just a war of attrition today.

“We hit the proper start of the Galibier and Richard didn’t have the best legs, so we all stayed with him and supported him. That’s just what it was. We tried to limit our losses. We win together and we lose together.”

Carapaz said while it was a very challenging day out, he was delighted to have a stage in the yellow jersey at the Tour, the first Ecuadorian to do so.

“The truth is that it was a very, very hard day, an incredibly hard rhythm was set and once we got to the last climb it got too hard for me,” he said.

“I tried to keep with them until the end but my legs could not keep up with them. I was then with Ben in the downhill, and we were going pretty fast. I enjoyed the day which is the most important thing and it was a historic day for the team.”

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