Having missed out on the yellow jersey on stage 1 by five seconds, stage 2 by three seconds and stage 3 by less than one second, Tony Martin powered away from a a select group in the final three kilometres of stage 4 to claim stage honours and move into the overall lead at the Tour de France. Martin becomes the fourth maillot jaune of the race, holding a 12 second advantage over Chris Froome (Team Sky).
There was no change to the points or young rider classifications with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) keeping their leads intact. Along with the general classification, Etixx-Quick Step also move into the team classification lead.
Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) who claimed the yellow jersey as well as his fifth career Tour de France stage win
"Having a flat tire and changing the bike, with the wrong position, I was just thinking to finish the stage and look forward to the next stages," Martin said. "Suddenly, five kilometres to the finish, we were all together and everyone was looking at each other, nobody really wanted to pull, so I just decided to give it a chance and to go for it, and somehow I found some power and I made it.
"I don’t know what happened in the back but I was so nervous, I was just pulling. I don’t know how many watts I pulled but it was more than I ever did. Now I am so happy, and a thousand thanks to my team for supporting me the whole week."
Chris Froome (Team Sky) who now sits second overall, 12 seconds down on Tony Martin
"Yeah I think at the end of the day it was more about the legs when it got to the last section after 200-odd kilometres. I think some guys started feeling it there and I started feeling comfortable. I had Thomas with me and he did a fantastic job. Really, really strong. I just said to him 'listen, let's try it. Let's just push it a little bit and see what happens'. We got a little bit of a split but I think Saxo closed it down pretty quickly.
"Congratulations to Tony, he’s been so close for a few days now so its good for him to be in yellow and it’s a perfect scenario for us. I think there are a lot of GC contenders who will have a big sigh of relief after today, it was a really stress stage. but I had my teammates to thank, they did a fantastic job today. Richie Porte was fighting on there for the first few sections keeping us at the front. It was a really good day for us."
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) who rode the final 25km of the stage with a broken wheel
"I indeed felt that something was wrong. But I really must thank my (Tinkoff-Saxo) teammates who kept me out of trouble until the end. I had good legs today, much better than yesterday. I'm above all glad to have made it out of it without a problem."
Thibaut Pinot, 30th on general classification 6:30 minutes down on Martin
"I had a mechanical and then it went full gas. When incidents pile up… It was the same in 2013 and it looks like it's going to be the same again. It's a shame. I could have received assistance but who from ? Mathieu [Ladagnous], who is much taller than me ? It's sure that when you have car number 13, you must expect to wait for your car a long time.
"Now I will try to recover with time. I'm going to finish the Tour and try to prove that my talent is still there."
Matteo Trentin, whose bike Tony Martin finished on after a late mechanical
"We decided already in the meeting to be fast to change the bikes because the car, for sure, we know from Paris-Roubaix after two or three sectors that the car is lost forever in the field.
"I changed my bike with Tony, and then they changed the wheel of Tony’s bike. I have to say the car was pretty much one minute behind, maybe more. So that was not the winning move, but a move that saved our … I can't say the word (laughs)."
"I wasn’t thinking too much about it because I was riding Tony’s bike and it was really uncomfortable," he said of how much of a chance he thought Martin had. "So I can’t imagine that he could be comfortable on my bike, but I just hope that he doesn’t want to ride my bike for the rest of the Tour."