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[en] We investigate the fermions of the standard model without a Higgs scalar. Instead, we consider a nonlocal four-quark interaction in the tensor channel which is characterized by a single dimensionless coupling f. Quantization leads to a consistent perturbative expansion for small f. The running of f is asymptotically free and therefore induces a nonperturbative scale Λch, in analogy to the strong interactions. We argue that spontaneous electroweak symmetry breaking is triggered at a scale where f grows large and find the top quark mass of the order of Λch. We also present a first estimate of the effective Yukawa coupling of a composite Higgs scalar to the top quark, as well as the associated mass ratio between the top quark and the W boson.