Tour de France: Stage 4 reactions

Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step), stage winner

“I feel very emotional right now – it feels like my first stage win again. I’m super happy. I’m very proud because the team was really fighting for this win. Things went wrong in the last days and I’m so happy to be back in the Tour and to win a stage like this. I can’t believe it.”

Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie)

“I really believed in my chances. Jimmy (Engoulvent) yesterday reproached me not to have thrown my bike forward enough. I could see I was making it back but it was not enough. I’m very disappointed but I must not give up. There are still lots of chances left. I’m glad that we took things into our own hands. There is no mistake in the sprints, the strongest wins. I was never as close to victory but I haven’t won yet. I’m young but I’m a winner. I have temperament and I want to win this year on the Tour.”

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)

“I was kind of in the wrong position. It was a bit sketchy – with 5km to go I nearly crashed and I lost my leadout. Then I didn’t want to hit it too early. I thought I’d be on Kittel’s wheel, but the next thing it was about survival, trying to dodge people going backwards, all the leadout men. It wasn’t about concentrating on sprint but dodging riders.

“You have to get everything right, it’s not just you against one other person, but nearly 200. That’s what it is, and I didn’t get it right today.”

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), overall leader

“I can’t complain, I’m happy, I’m still in yellow, I was third, so more points for the green jersey, It’s good. It was nearly 250km with the neutral zone but it wasn’t difficult thanks to the tailwind – it was fine today.

“A sprint is like a lottery. I have to wait a bit more in the final because I start ed at the same time as Kittel. Coquard was more patient and he almost won. I’m happy for the points, for the yellow jersey, and for me things are going very well.”

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)

“We went a little bit early but compared to yesterday it was perfect. Jacopo did a very good job. In the end I was hoping the Etixx guy was going to do a little bit longer lead out, because in the end I came into the wind with 250 m to go, and that was just a little bit too far. The uphill was OK, usually I am quite good in this type of finish, but today I was not the strongest. Still, it was better than yesterday and with only Marco and Jacopo being my helpers in the sprint, we did a very good job. I wanted to win today on my birthday, but unfortunately I was not strong enough in the end”.

Chris Froome (Sky)

“I think it’s one for the UCI and the unions to discuss. Certainly there’s room for discussion around the point. My suggestion would be to do away with the one-second rule for the gaps, because that’s why all the GC guys are up there; we’re doing our jobs. If we’re not there racing for those splits we’re not doing our jobs properly, so of course we’re up there with the sprinters.

“It does make for a lot of stress. We don’t want to be up there. We want the sprinters to do their thing and not be up there in their way. But when Tour can be won or lost by seconds we’ve got to be up there fighting for those seconds. So my suggestion would be to maybe do away with the one-second rule. Make it a five second rule so that the splits aren’t so easy to come by and it’s a bit more relaxed coming into the final.”

Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)

“It was a good day. I was happy that the speed was a little higher than yesterday. It was a actually a race today with a good final. So not too hard. It was a good race day, nothing special, and a hectic final again.

“I think I won’t be here tomorrow. You never know, but it’s not my biggest goal to spend all my energy just to maybe keep it another day, because after is another hard day with a lot of points to get, so we’ll see. I have enjoyed the three days, with tomorrow, then we’ll see what will happen next in this Tour.

“I just hope to keep the good legs and chase a stage win. We’re getting close to it. It’s not easy but I’ll try.”

Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data)

“It was difficult to judge with the downhill. Cavendish lost us with a couple km to go in some of those fast corners, then he started probably too far back. But we’ve had a good start. We didn’t win today but there will be more opportunities.

“We’ve done a good job with just a few guys to help. It’s not like the past, so I think we’ve done a good job and it shows we’ve got confidence in each other.”