SAN DIEGO, July 7, 2015 – Seven riders were unable to start Tuesday’s stage 4 of the Tour de France Tuesday after several crashes caused serious injuries. The list includes the current Tour leader, Fabian Cancellara, who suffered broken bones in his back. It hurts everyone to see the yellow jersey leave the race.
The shock to the peloton kept everyone on high alert through the six sections of cobblestones of stage 4. Fortunately, the forecast of rain turned out to be wrong, good news for everyone.
The best news of all came in the winning ride by Tony Martin of Etixx-Quickstep. Martin, former world champion and the world’s best time trial rider, sat in second for three days. Tuesday, he was determined to change the standings.
Martin did it with grit and a bit of luck, riding with panache as the French like to say. Staying with the leaders, he burst out of the pack using his time trial skills with a mile and a half to race and got over the finish line with a gap plus the time bonus to end up winning the stage and wearing the yellow jersey as the race overall leader.
Martin’s good luck charm turned out to be teammate Matteo Trentin of Italy. When Martin suffered a flat tire, the team car was out of reach, so Trentin quickly gave Martin his bike, and Martin was able to rejoin the leading group. Martin’s win is all the more remarkable because he rode Trentin’s bike to the finish. Later, Trentin laughed that Martin’s bike was uncomfortable for him, and he hoped Martin wouldn’t want to keep Trentin’s bike for the rest of the race after winning on it.
It is Martin’s first time wearing the yellow jersey as the overall Tour leader in his accomplished career.
The good news continued for the majority of Tour contenders, who all pushed hard to stay in a leading front group of 35 riders. No one had to work harder than Nairo Quintana of Colombia riding for Movistar. As one of the smaller riders at 120 pounds, he lacks the ballast of the heavier riders that makes riding the cobblestones much easier. Quintana was able to stay with his rivals and lost no significant time Tuesday.
Chris Froome of Sky Racing, Alberto Contador of Tinkoff Saxo and American Tejay Van Garderen of BMC held their positions; Tony Gallopin kept the French hopes alive moving into fourth place overall, and the surprising Peter Sagan held fifth place with an exceptionally good effort over the cobbles. His mountain biking background came in handy. Vincenzo Nibali of Astana and Quintana are within reach of the leaders. American Andrew Talansky moved into 20th place, 2:51 back.
Rodriguez keeps the King of the Mountains jersey, Andre Griepel keeps the green sprinters jersey and Peter Sagan remains in the best young rider’s white jersey.
Stage 5 offers a welcome bit of relief, the first full stage inside France. It is a perfectly flat ride through the site of several decisive battles during World War I in the Somme area, full of revered history. The only battle Wednesday should come among the sprinters, who will fight for a fast sprint finish.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is president/owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Follow the Tour de France daily in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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