Nelson's George Bennett continues to lead the Kiwi contingent through four days of the Tour de France, with all seemingly escaping the fourth stage carnage relatively unscathed.

Bennett, Jack Bauer, and rookies Patrick Begin and Dion Smith were caught, along with most of the general classification contenders, by a crash in the final kilometre, but all made it to the finish line with their standings marginally improved.

Bevin was officially the first Kiwi across the line in 24th spot, improving his overall standing from 112 to 107. Bennett limped home in 99th, jumping a place to 60th overall.

Veteran Bauer and debutant Smith were slower to pick themselves up, and were among the last to finish the stage, without losing ground on race leaders.

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Bauer climbed two GC spots to 88th, while Smith made up four placings to 101st overall.

"Live to fight another day," tweeted Smith later, along with video of the crash from a camera mounted on the bike of Italian Matteo Trentin.

Smith may be poised for a prominent role in stages to come, with his Wanty-Groupe Gobert outfit showing they were determined to stir up the race, taking their second combativity prize in three days.

Belgian teammate Guillaume Van Keirsbuick led for most of the stage and by as many as 13 minutes, before he was mowed down by the peleton with 16.5km remaining.