4 Jours de Dunkerque: Kooij wins again on stage 4
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Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) took his second victory at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, this time winning the stage 4 reduced-bunch sprint in Achicourt.
The Dutchman was part of a large, late-race group that split over the last climb and then caught the day's breakaway. His Jumbo-Visma teammates led the race into the closing kilometres, where Kooij won the sprint ahead of runner-up Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and third-placed Milan Fretin (Team Flanders-Baloise).
"I have to thank my teammates," Kooij said in a post-race interview on Wielerflits. “We raced hard today. Finally, we entered the last kilometre with a reduced peloton. After such a hard day, you had to have your legs, but the team was also very strong today. I have to thank them."
Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-QuickStep) moved into the overall lead and is now six seconds ahead of his teammate Ethan Vernon, with Kooij in third overall at seven seconds back.
Stage 3 time trial winner and overnight leader Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis) finished in a group at 1:36 down on the stage.
How it unfolded
The fourth stage at 4 Jours de Dunkerque was 173.8km from Maubeuge to Achicourt. The day included three intermediate sprints at Bermerain (33km), Iwuy (74.5km) and Willerval (122km), while there were also two categorised ascents - Saint-Python at 1km and 3.5% (at the 60km mark) and Mont-Saint-Eloi at 800m and 5.8% (at the 153km mark).
An early breakaway included Alex Colman (Flanders-Baloise), Ceriel Desal (Bingoal WB), Alan Banaszek (Human Powered Health), Morne van Niekerk (St Michel-Mavic-Auber93) and Paul Hennequin (Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur).
The breakaway lost one rider as Hennequin was distanced at 142km to go, and the five riders carried on, while Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ set a quick pace from the peloton behind.
Van Niekerk won the first intermediate sprint at Bermerain. However, Colman picked up full points over the climb at Saint-Python and then the points in the second sprint at Iwuy.
The breakaway pushed their lead out to 51 seconds, but with Soudal-QuickStep and Jumbo-Visma leading the charge behind, the move was unlikely to succeed at the finish line.
The peloton split in two, with the first part of the field catching the breakaway riders, but Colman hung on to take full points as they crested Mont-Saint-Eloi, and it was enough to take the lead in the mountain classification.
The riders in the winning split in the field included Kooij, Vernon, Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep), and Peter Sagan (Total Energies), while overnight leader Thomas was back in the second group on the road.
Jumbo-Visma pulled the front group into the final kilometre, with Kooij taking his second stage win at the race.
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