“If the opportunity arises, we will seize it”, warns Ineos Grenadiers before the arrival at the top of stage 4 – VeloNews.com

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Michał Kwiatkowski is set to take the lead with his team Ineos Grenadiers in the fourth stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday.

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With the first finish at the top of the race inviting Kwiatkowski and his team manager Egan Bernal to Orcières-Merlette, Ineos Grenadiers is ready to roll the dice in what could be the first big battle between them and the rival Dutch team, Jumbo-Visma.

“It’s not the hardest day if you look at the whole three weeks. I wouldn’t expect big moves on GC, with runners blasting the race pretty early on, but obviously you never really know, ”Kwiatkowski said Tuesday morning.

“I hope if the opportunity arises we will take it, but we have to be careful to watch out for the main rivals.

Jumbo-Visma also spoke on Tuesday ahead of the Merclette ski resort stage in the Southern Alps, declaring his intention to control and defend rather than start the race so early in three weeks. Their leading duo of Primož Roglič and Tom Dumoulin currently sits at the same time in the GC as Bernal and his winger, Richard Carapaz.

Although defending Tour champion Bernal is Ineos’ declared leader for the race, Jumbo-Visma will need to watch the British team’s attacks from different angles.

“Let’s not forget that Richard won the Giro, let’s not forget that Pavel Sivakov is in incredible shape, which he showed at the Critérium du Dauphiné,” said Kwiatkowski. “Riding for a leader doesn’t mean we won’t play our cards with other riders. It also means there isn’t as much pressure on Egan.

“We came here to win again and we will adjust what other people are doing and who feels strong enough, who doesn’t waste time in week one and is able to win in weeks two and three. You can’t win the Tour the first week, but you can definitely lose it there.

One rider who certainly lost the Tour in week one is Tour Ineos rookie Pavel Sivakov, who crashed twice in the treacherous first stage and is now dead 47 minutes behind yellow jersey Julian Alaphillipe. While the Russian poses no threat to GC, his waste of time could throw a escaped wild card into the peloton and give his team a strategic card to play as Jumbo-Visma and Ineos go head-to-head.

“He’s mentally prepared to survive,” Kwiatkowski said of his young teammate. “The Tour de France lasts three weeks and he knows it. Every day he knows that he just needs to get through this moment of pain and it will definitely get better.

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