Morning everyone! Welcome to our live coverage of stage 4 at the Tour de France. Today's route is a 25-kilometer team time trial through Nice. Have a look at the stage preview above, courtesy of our friends at Global Cycling Network.
A couple things to know heading into this stage: It's a very flat course with only a few turns. This is all about reaching top speed and maintaining it.
Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Leopard) holds a 1-second advantage in the GC over a number of riders; Julien Simon (Sojasun) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) are second and third.
The 22 teams today will start every 4 minutes. Argos-Shimano was first, followed by Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Lotto-Belisol, and Cannondale.
The remaining startlist: Cofidis, FDJ.fr, Belkin, Garmin-Sharp, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Sky, Katusha, Sojasun, Astana, Movistar, Saxo-Tinkoff, Europcar, Ag2r-La Mondiale, Orica-GreenEdge, Lampre-Merida, Vacansoleil-DCM, BMC Racing, and RadioShack-Leopard.
Jeff from MD: Good question. We'll try to find out.
Omega-Pharma Quick Step is blazing through this flat course. Over a minute faster than Argos-Shimano at the halfway point.
Omega Pharma is another team that could easily win this stage. Assuming they earn the fastest time, it will be a long wait to see if they earn the victory, with 20 other squads behind them.
Lee: The chats generally start at 8 a.m. ET every day. Today was later because the stage started later in France.
Omega really railing it despite injuries to Martin, Steegmans - impressive so far
Mr. Andrew Hood, our European correspondent, has joined the party. Andy, how was the overnight ferry from Corsica?
Sky's chances are handicapped by injury to Geraint Thomas, one of the big engines on the team
Ferry was fab, even though I couldn't remember where my car was this morning ... luckily for us, the car parked right in front of us couldn't, either, so we were not the only ones
Omega is fastest on course right now
Craig: So far, four teams have crossed the 13km mark. Omega Pharma-Quick Step is fastest, followed by Lotto-Belisol, Cannondale, and Argos-Shimano.
Garmin on the start ramp - favorites to win today
Argos-Shimano has finished the course.
It will be interesting to see how Lotto can handle the TTT; not their strongest point, but important for Van den Broeck to not give up too much time
Argos-Shimano's finishing time is 27:43. That's the benchmark for the other squads. Omega Pharma-Quick Step will surely lower the mark.
Top Omega rider is Michal Kwiatkowski, the promising Pole who now has the white jersey
Omega Pharma-Quick Step crosses the line in 25:57.
Euskaltel on the course, consistently one of the worst in TTTs
Team Sky is up next. As Andy said earlier, the injury that Gerraint Thomas is dealing with (fractured pelvis) could hurt the team's chances in this TTT.
There is some wind off the Med, but not blowing too hard
Boasson Hagen is best-placed for the Sky boys; press corps is not looking forward to a week of yellow for Eddy B - he's not the most exciting of quotes!
It will be interesting to see how Sky handles this ride. If Thomas starts to fall behind, will his teammates drop him or ease off the gas and keep him with the group?
BMC will have an advantage starting second-last because they will have time references on all their main rivals
Andy: What's the temperature in Nice today?
King is not with these leading Cannondales
Four teams have now finished. The leaderboard: Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Lotto-Belisol, Cannondale, Argos-Shimano.
Warm, sunny, pleasant in mid-80s ... hot, but not too hot; warmer temperatures forecasted for the coming days
Waiting for time splits on Garmin ... looking smooth, consistent so far
4:47 slower than Omega at first time check
Lee: Yes, the time of the fifth rider to cross the finish line is the official time for each team.
According to Caley Fretz: Tony Martin and the rest of OPQS have ditched the TT clincher experiment. Back to tubulars.
Today's distance is 25 kilometers, or 15.5 miles.
Sojasun in start house; my pick to be slowest today ...