Andre Greipel rued the length of a gruelling stage four at the Tour de France as he ran out of power in the final sprint for the line.
Greipel was given a perfect lead out by his Lotto-Soudal team in the final kilometre from Saumur to Limoges, but he was unable to convert it as Marcel Kittel edged out Bryan Coquard by 2.8 centimetres on the line.
For the German not to be involved in the sprint came as a surprise, but he revealed the 237.5-kilometre stage - the longest on this year's Tour - had sapped him of all his energy.
after a long day in the saddle with lots of big support by the @Lotto_Soudal team i just can say that there was no power left in my legs.-- Andre Greipel (@AndreGreipel) July 5, 2016
"Everything went good until 250 metres to go," said Greipel. "I'm just sorry for my team-mates. I think they did a really good job. I stepped on the pedals and had no power left. That's all.
"I tried my best. The team tried their best. I don't know why, how. I felt good during the stage. Maybe the final was too hard. That can be. Normally a final like this suits me quite well but I don't know, I just had no power.
"We were the whole time controlling, taking the responsibility during the finale as well. It was just on me that I had not the legs."