Marcel Kittel won stage four of the Tour de France in a photo-finish after the riders raced from Saumur to Limoges.
The 237.5 kilometer stage will be the longest that the cyclists will face this year. However, despite it’s considerable length it will not have taken too much out of the competitors as it was mostly flat.
A break-away quartet that initially consisted of Alexis Gougeard, Markel Irizar, Olivier Naesen and Andreas Schillinger was caught with seven kilometers to go by a raging peloton.
It was initially thought that the small rise to the finish line would be detrimental to the chances of the out-and-out sprinters however that was not the case.
In a nail-biting finish, elbows touched as Kittel beat Bryan Coquard by the smallest of margins. Speaking afterwards, Kittel struggled to keep a lid on his joy.
“I’m very emotional right now,” he admitted.
“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.
“Some things went wrong these last days and I’m so happy to be back in the Tour and to win a stage, especially like this, with this uphill. I can’t believe it.”
Britain’s Mark Cavendish, who won Monday’s third stage for his 28th stage victory, got boxed in in the final shake-up and finished eighth.
Slovak Peter Sagan retained the overall lead with a third-placed finish, while Britain’s Chris Froome came in safely in the peloton.