Viet Nam News
MÛR-DE-BRETAGNE, France — Ireland’s Dan Martin capped a daring, late attack on the steep Mur de Bretagne to snatch victory on the sixth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday, as several yellow jersey contenders lost precious seconds.
Overnight leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) finished just three seconds behind in the main peloton to retain the yellow jersey ahead of Friday’s seventh stage.
Van Avermaet leads Britain’s Geraint Thomas (Sky) by three seconds in the overall standings, with American Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and France’s Julian Alaphilippe(Quick Step) at five and six seconds respectively.
In a frantic finale that saw Martin of the UAE Emirates Team break free of the pack 1km from the line to finish ahead of AG2R’s Pierre Latour, defending champion Chris Froome of Team Sky lost eight seconds to key rivals.
Froome was not alone.
AG2R’s Romain Bardet cracked in the heat of the final ascent and lost 31secs, while fellow contender Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), the 2017 Giro d’Italia champion, lost nearly a minute after suffering a mechanical problem.
"It was sheer bad luck," said Dumoulin. "From then on, it was just damage limitation."
Martin dedicated his win to his new team, who he joined from Quick Step after overtures from Sky and BMC in the close season.
"I came to this team to be the leader and the pressure at the beginning, of being the leader is why I didn’t do so well in spring," said the UAE captain Martin.
"But there’s a great feeling in the bus now, laughing and joking and this win is for them, they really looked after me.
"It was an early break but it was my only opportunity for the stage win as I’d never have got it in a sprint," explained Martin.
"When you get an opportunity, if you think about it, it’s gone. You just go.
"So I set off, kept my head down, kept going and my legs felt good." — AFP