France: Tony Martin felt nothing but joy as he finally got his hands on the yellow jersey that had eluded him by a matter of seconds on the previous three days at the Tour de France.
Germany’s Tony Martin celebrates his yellow jersey after stage four of the Tour de France, between Seraing and Cambrai yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
The 30-year-old three-time world time-trial champion made a daring solo attack from a reduced peloton with 3.3km left of yesterday’s 223.5km cobbled fourth stage and held off the charging pack to win by three seconds.
That on its own would have been enough to snatch the yellow jersey from 2013 champion Chris Froome’s shoulders but he also took a 10sec time bonus on the line that gives him a 12sec buffer to Froome in the overall standings.
Yellow after three misses
“Pure happiness! All the pressure and all the sadness from the last days has come off now,” said the German Etixx-Quick Step rider. “It’s a really emotional day and stage for me, I’m super happy for that. They supported me so much, they always believed in me even after missing out these last days and fortunately I could pay it back.”
John Degenkolb, the winner of the Paris-Roubaix race whose cobbles were borrowed for this stage, took second with Peter Sagan 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 time-trial.
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.