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BBC : Tour de France: Martin wins stage as Thomas climbs to second overall


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Dan Martin wins stage six of the Tour de France
Dan Martin had the strength to hold off the chasing pack after a short and sharp final climb

Ireland's Dan Martin produced a superb late attack on the Mur de Bretagne to win stage six of the Tour de France.

Birmingham-born Martin went with a kilometre to go on the final climb and held off the late challenge of Pierre Roger Latour by a second.

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas was part of a group three seconds behind but climbed to second overall after securing two bonus seconds during the stage.

Chris Froome was eight seconds back and Tom Dumoulin nearly a minute behind.

The Dutchman had to have a front wheel change just over 5km from the finish and chased desperately with the help of team-mates to try to limit the damage - only to be handed a 20-second penalty for drafting behind a team car.

Britain's Adam Yates finished sixth on the day in the pack three seconds back, and has vaulted above Froome in the overall standings.

The pair are 13th and 14th, one minute two seconds behind yellow jersey Greg van Avermaet, and 21 seconds ahead of Dumoulin.

Martin proves strongest on uphill finish

The stage, which finished with a second ascent of the category-three Mur de Bretagne, delivered the dramatic climax that the organisers had hoped for.

Martin's surge for the line was decisive as he secured his second stage win in the Tour, five years after his maiden success in the Pyreenes.

"It is great to get a win after so many second places since the last one," said the 31-year-old.

"I wasn't sure because of the crosswinds, but I had no team-mates and I thought I would have a go.

"The legs were there though - maybe it was adrenaline - and luckily it worked out."

Froome reveals weakness?

Chris Froome
Froome fought back from behind to claim the Giro d'Italia title earlier this year

As Martin rode clear, a host of general classification contenders endured the most testing examination of their credentials so far.

Froome, in pursuit of his fifth Tour de France title and fourth successive Grand Tour victory, let five seconds slip in the overall standings to encourage rivals, of whom Dumoulin was Thursday's biggest loser.

After securing two bonus seconds at the 'bonification' sprint​, Thomas said he went for them "because I saw the opportunity".

"I don't think they are going to let me get away with it again," said Thomas, who has been given licence to ride for himself for the first nine stages of the Tour at least.

The 181km (112-mile) stage had earlier been brought to life by New Zealander Dion Smith forming part of a five-man breakaway in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to wrestle the polka-dot jersey from Tom Skujins.

Stage six result

1. Daniel Martin (Ire/UAE Team Emirates) 4hrs 13mins 43secs

2. Pierre Latour (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +1 secs

3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +3 secs

4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Quick-Step Floors) same time

5. Rafal Majka (Pol/Bora - Hansgrohe)

6. Adam Yates (Gbr/Mitchelton - Scott)

7. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek - Segafredo)

8. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora - Hansgrohe)

9. Geraint Thomas (Gbr/Team Sky)

10. Primoz Roglic (Slo/LottoNL - Jumbo)

General classification after stage six

1. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/BMC Racing) 13hrs 33mins 56secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) +3secs

3. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing) +5secs

4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Quick-Step Floors) +6secs

5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel/Quick-Step Floors) +12secs

6. Bob Jungels (Lux/Quick-Step Floors) +18secs

7. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education First) +37secs

8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +51secs

9. Rafal Majka (Pol/Bora - Hansgrohe) +52secs

10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +53secs

Selected:

13. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +1min 2secs

14. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) same time

15. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Sunweb) +1min 23 secs

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