Groenewegen too strong on longest day on Tour de France

Groenewegen too strong on longest day on Tour de France

Groenewegen too strong on longest day on Tour de France

Martin came home second the last time a Tour stage ended in Mur de Bretagne and he admitted he had been obsessed about winning here this time on a punchy climb that suited his abilities.

Thomas's teammate Chris Froome slipped a few seconds behind the front group in the closing metres, but worse luck befell the 2017 Giro d'Italia champion, Tom Dumoulin, who lost the best part of a minute, after puncturing 5km from the finish.

He had accelerated from 19 to 30km/h on a 10 per cent gradient and he went for it with a kilometre to go to the finish line.

The Tour hadn't returned to the Brest to Mûr-de-Bretagne since.

"I just keep trying, our backs are against the wall all the time here", said the 33-year-old, who is in a contract year but is expected to stay with Dimension Data. I didn't think it was going to happen, but the legs just were there.

Bardet now trails Froome by 43 seconds while Team Sky will also be able to play the Geraint Thomas card as the Welshman, who won the Criterium du Dauphine last month, sits in third place overall 59 seconds ahead of the four-times Tour champion.

Both title hopefuls were left behind by the rest of the top riders as they increased the pace hunting for the win that finally went to Daniel Martin of Ireland.

It's not a day that should affect the General Classification, as overall leader Greg Van Avermaet should have no trouble with the finish. After the relatively flat first nine days, the race will head south and into the Alps and then the Pyrenees Mountains.

Asked if it would be a battle all the way to Paris with Fernando Gaviria for the green jersey prize, Sagan said: "I hope not!"

Bardet was already trailing Froome, and after losing 28 seconds is now 1:45 off the leader's pace after he broke his back wheel and had to change bikes with Tony Gallopin. The French rider with the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team established an advantage of more than eight minutes - the biggest breakaway lead in this year's Tour - before being caught by the pack with 90 kilometers to go.

The Lotto NL-Jumbo rider, who won the final stage to Paris a year ago, had by his own admission suffered a disappointing start to the 2018 Tour before his show of power to beat Gaviria into second and Peter Sagan into third.

The upcoming seventh stage runs from Fougeres to Chartres.

Related news