Perhaps more so than ever before, Columbia-HTC rider Tony Martin realised the rewards of hard work following his endeavours in the final 30km of stage three. He was part of the sensational break in the closing stages of the day's journey to La Grande Motte, tenacious in his efforts on the front of the 29-man group.
The young German, who has been tipped for big things in many quarters, lived up to his billing with a stunning performance that helped Mark Cavendish to another stage win to maintain his lead in the points classification. And there was also a reward of his own for the good work.
Martin now leads the best young rider classification and donned the white jersey on the podium, a definitive moment in his career thus far. "This is gigantic and the greatest triumph of my cycling career," Martin told reporters after the stage.
"I've said from the beginning, one day I will ride in white - now I have succeeded in this. It is an honour for me and maybe I stand for German hopes in cycling."
The result could be seen, especially by Martin. Not only that the 24-year-old all-rounder is now included in the ranking of the best young rider relatively comfortable 40 seconds on the hitherto leading Czechs Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) has. Martin also moved in the overall standings to second place before, 33 seconds behind the Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), but seven seconds before the third Lance Armstrong (Astana).