All. Tony Martin of course, going solo 3 km to go, stage and Yellow. Vincenzo Nibali, attacking on each strech of pavé, fearless and effective. Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana - but also Romain Bardet and Bauke Mollema - brilliant on the cobbles, the Sky man especially.
Boomer Sep Vanmarcke, unlucky as usual, got a mechanical in a crucial moment. But the impression is that the GC guys never let the race to the Roubaix specialists.
Froome defended the Jersey all the day but lost it to Martin in the finale. That's probably a calculated choice: less stress in the next days and full control on his GC opponents.
Pinot had a mechanical problem, was dropped, got furious. Tour ambitions over. Nice to see Vansumeren stopping and coming back to escort Vuillermoz who had a flat tyre. Basicly today nothing happened. And it was the longest stage in the Tour.
"Taking the yellow jersey after all the bad luck I've in the last three days, and also today with the flat tyre towards the end, it's a super nice story and it makes me super happy. Matteo Trentin gave me his bike straight away after I punctured, then I had to be focused because it wasn't my bike, I had some difficulties to brake and I had lost a lot of energy in the chase. Michal Golas did a great job bringing me back to the front group. This morning Tom Boonen gave me a call to talk about the cobblestones and Eddy Merckx motivated me on the start line but I'm definitely surprised to win this stage and take the yellow jersey, especially after the puncture. Everybody in the group thought I was at the limit and I was! Nobody expected such an early attack but with 4km to go, all riders were on their knees. It was the right moment for me to attack. I found some extra power. I came here for training for two days, so I knew that I had a chance if I could make it to the last kilometer, then it was more technical. My goal was the last corner. My emotions of the past four days have been a roller-coaster. I've missed the yellow jersey by seconds. My goal was to get it on the first day. I was super upset that I didn't. The pressure was getting higher every day. I really wanted the yellow jersey for myself and for the team. Physically, yesterday was the hardest with the climb at the end and the heat. I'm more of a rider for the classics than a climber. It wasn't a stage for me yesterday but today's race suited me much more. It couldn't be a better start of the Tour for German cycling with the race being broadcasted live on ARD for the first time since a few years. It put pressure on us to show something nice to German fans and I hope it attracts more and more fans to cycling. My goal now is to keep the yellow jersey till the first rest day. There are a few hard finales but normally, I should be able to stay at the front and we're also one of the favorites for the team time trial. I'm pretty sure I have a fair chance to remain in the lead until the Pyrenees."
"We haven't changed anything compared to last year, only the weather has changed. On the last slightly uphill pavé section, I've tried to break the group hoping that someone would get dropped. It was a very difficult race. At the end we were all the favorites together and we managed to handle the stress of such a specific stage. I've received a great support from the team. But it was dry, so it was less dangerous than last year and it wasn't possible to create difference because we were riding in only one direction. So the maximum effect of the accelerations at the front was to put the whole group in one lane. After those first few stages, I feel physically well. I have a deficit to recover and I'll try every time there'll be an occasion."
“I wasn’t trying to show how strong I was on the cobbles today, it was about staying out of trouble. When it got over 200km it was more about who had the legs, and after the last section I had Geraint ahead of me so we thought ‘why not?’, and I had a little attack. My legs felt good but unfortunately it all came back together.
Congratulations to Tony [Martin] for his late attack. He’s been really close to the yellow jersey for a few days now and he deserves this after all the hard work he’s put in.
I’m not concerned about losing the yellow jersey. There’s a long way to go, and while Tony’s a great time triallist, he’s not going to be there in the mountains, so I’m happy to see the jersey go to him rather than any of the big overall rivals.
This is the perfect situation for us and it will hopefully mean my guys can have a bit of a rest over the next few days now.
I have to thank my team mates. They did a great job today, and even Richie Porte was getting stuck in on that first section of cobbles.
We can all let off a big sigh of relief after today. It was a stressful stage and sketchy on the cobbles, and I know we’ll all be sleeping a lot better tonight.”
"Thanks 4 all the support on Twitter! Some say I was tough as nails today. Truth is I cried like a child at one point.. It cant get worse.."
"Gutted to miss helping the boys in the final, got squeezed off the road with 50k to go, no ones fault, just stressful bike racing. Thanks for the concern, I'm all ok now, 6 stitches in my arm and it's as good as new, I won't post a photo, it's not for the faint hearted!"
“I am happy to finish in the first group with most of the GC guys. It was a really hard day, and really stressful again, and I was happy that I survived like this.
I like the kind of races where I really have to fight and everyone is fighting full gas, but today was just a big fight from start to finish to be in a good position for the cobbles, and then to stay there. It was a little much, but I think I had a good day.
After the [sixth] section we were a little too far in the back and that was not so good. But after that Gregory brought me to the front, and also after the third. He was with me for a long time and did a really good job. In the end, I lost him and I didn’t know he punctured, but you just have to keep fighting for your position and luckily it was still a fairly big group so it was quite easy to stay with them.”
Greg Van Avermaet:
"Going into every cobblestone section, there was a fight for positioning because everybody wanted to have their leader in frontWe kept it pretty good in the front. We were always there, always ahead of the situation. I think we did a good job. I would have preferred to have have won the stage, but Martin chose a good moment."
Tejay Van Garderen:
"I am just happy to have gotten through this stage unharmed. My team was incredible. They sat in the wind, on the front. They are just some hard-hitting head bangers. They paved the way for me all day. I barely had to lift a finger."
“I’m very satisfied with today because my sensations were very good. I also congratulate the team for their effort because they worked very well today including Peter Sagan, who did some excellent work for me. So I wish to thank them a lot. The objective today was to pass the day without problems and the only problem I had during the race was with my rear wheel in the last 25 kilometers. As we entered the last three kilometers I thought about the possibility of changing my bike but I decided to continue and fortunately I could. It would have been very risky to change bike in the last kilometers”
“I am in the team with Alberto and that is important to understand. I did my very best to help him and make sure that I did my part in keeping him in the first group. Then I was almost dropped from the first group after I had closed a gap but I was able to recover a bit for the final sprint. But I didn’t expect that I could finish 3 rd, as I had spent a lot of energy. I’m very happy with the result today, as I spent much energy and I’m glad that Alberto got through the stage in a nice way – this is the most important”, says Peter Sagan, who underlines that the situation on each day will decide whether he will go for the sprints.
No matter how hard the stage is, we all work for Alberto and if we can do something for him in the GC then I’m satisfied with the outcome. It’s difficult to both win stages and help Alberto, which is my main focus. We will see if I can take a stage win in one of the flat stage in the next days, but it’s very dangerous and it’s a bit like lottery. Maybe you win but you can also crash, so I have to be really careful"
Edvald Boasson Hagen:
"It was a very good stage today. The team did well to keep me in front at all the important moments. I was feeling fine all stage and pretty good over all the cobble sectors. I was able to always stay in the first group and I thought in the end Giant would ride to have a sprint for Degenkolb but that didn't happen. With Martin ahead I thought I would start the sprint early to have even the smallest chance of victory because my legs were still good, but we were not going to win the stage but I had to try. I am happy though and I am feeling really good at the moment."
“We rode as a team at the front and commanded respect that way. Racing collectively was key today. As a team, we showed a great fighting spirit. We knew it could be dangerous today, but fortunately I rolled through the day well. I’m satisfied with that. Unfortunately, Sep punctured twice in the final kilometres. That cost us a result.”
“I did everything I could to be good today and when it ends likes this, there’s obviously disappointment. After my first flat, I managed to return, but on the final pavé section, I needed to take risks to get back to the front. Because of the dust, I quickly couldn’t see a thing anymore. When I punctured again, I knew it was over.”
“My legs were so strong that I suddenly passed everyone. It was surprising to see that things were going so easily for me on the cobblestones. I haven’t ridden on cobbles a lot, but I like it. Perhaps that’s why it went this good."
Laurens ten Dam
“I was quickly dropped and was amongst the last five or six riders in the race, but I still managed to finish in a nice group. I feel a little stiff, but I’m glad that the worst is now behind me. Those 13 kilometres of cobblestones were a severe test.”
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step 5:28:58
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:03
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN - Qhubeka
6 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team Katusha
8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
9 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
10 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
11 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
12 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step
13 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step
14 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
15 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
16 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
17 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
18 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
19 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
20 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha
21 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
22 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
23 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
24 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
25 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
26 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
27 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
28 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
29 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
30 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step 12:40:26
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:25
4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:38
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:39
6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:40
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:46
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:48
9 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:15
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:16
11 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:01:19
12 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:44
13 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:50
14 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:51
15 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:02:03
16 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
17 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:02:08
18 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:02:12
19 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:19
20 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:02:51
21 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:06
22 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:36
23 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:04:01
24 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:04:07
25 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 0:04:10
26 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:04:40
27 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Bora-Argon 18 0:04:46
28 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:58
29 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:06:03
30 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:06:30
Polka Dot: Rodriguez