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July 7, 2015 – Tony Martin finally got his hands on the race leader’s yellow jersey with a brilliant solo victory on the Tour de France cobbled fourth stage on Tuesday.
The German three-time world timetrial champion broke clear of a reduced peloton with 3.3km left and held off the charging pack to win by 3sec from John Degenkolb and Peter Sagan at the end of the 223.5km stage from Seraing to Cambrai. Having missed out on the yellow jersey by a matter of seconds on each of the first three stages, Martin overhauled 2013 Tour champion Chris Froome, who now sits second with American Tejay Van Garderen third.
Martin, 30, had spent the first three days in second place having lost out to Australian Rohan Dennis by five seconds in the opening stage timetrial.
He ended the second stage 3sec behind Fabian Cancellara, who had taken a 4sec bonus on the line for finishing third. Froome then finished second on the third stage to earn a 6sec bonus that left him just 1sec ahead of Martin. But the daring German was not to be denied on Tuesday and made a typically brazen attack to secure a memorable victory that left him 12sec ahead of Froome and 25sec clear of Van Garderen.
After a hectic last 50km, including 11.5km of cobbles across six sectors, the ‘fantastic four’ favorites of Froome, reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali, two-time winner Alberto Contador and Colombian Nairo Quintana all finished in the lead group of around 25 riders. The big loser on the day, though, was French hope Thibaut Pinot, third overall last year.
He suffered a mechanical problem on the penultimate cobbled sector, had a tantrum and eventually lost around 3min, leaving him 6min back in total and with an uphill struggle to compete for a podium finish.
Final 10 Kilometers of Stage 4
Results Stage 4:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step 5:28:58
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:03
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN – Qhubeka
6. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team Katusha
8. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
9. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step 12:40:26
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:25
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:38
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:39
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:40
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:46
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:48
9. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:15
10. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:01:16