Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) conquered the much-anticipated ‘cobbles’ stage four of the 2015 Tour de France on Tuesday to take the overall race lead.
Martin had kept in touch with the fast-paced lead group despite suffering from an ill-timed puncture as the race progressed through the stage’s cobbled sections in the final 40km.
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Having missed out on the race lead by just one second the previous day, Martin left nothing to chance – attacking 3km from the line in Cambrai and keeping the chasing pack at bay to take the victory.
Chris Froome (Sky) may have lost the race lead to Martin, but he was happy with the day’s racing. It was the equivalent stage in 2014 that saw Froome crash out, but this year’s performance couldn’t have been more different for the British hope as he and team-mate Geraint Thomas kept themselves at the sharp edge of the action.
Just as he did in 2014, defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) wound up the pace over the cobbled sectors, but this time he simply could not shed his main rivals.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) all finished at the same time as Froome and Nibali, three seconds behind Martin.