Martin wins Stage 6 of Tour de France, Van Avermaet keeps lead

Mark Cavendish

Ireland's Dan Martin has won the sixth stage of the Tour de France, with Australia's Richie Porte closing on the top 10 after a day where several top names lost time on the leaders.

Three years after finishing second to Alexis Vuillermoz at Mûr-de-Bretagne, the UAE Team Emirates rider won the queen stage of Brittany ahead of another AG2R-La Mondiale, Pierre Latour, to score his second Tour de France stage win five years.

170 riders started Stage 6 but it was Martin who triumphed despite taking an almighty gamble to sprint for the front.

Pierre Latour crossed the line second followed by Alejandro Valverde in third.

Tom Dumoulin, victor of the 2017 Giro D'Italia, suffered badly following a mechanical issue with only 5km to go, dropping 40 seconds on the leaders.

"This is such an wonderful feeling for me after so many second places at the Tour since my last one victory in the Grande Boucle", said Martin.

Thomas picked up two bonus seconds during the stage, and left Froome in his wake on the final climb as he rode away from the reigning champion with a group of the other favourites.

Ireland's Daniel Martin is all smiles as he takes out stage six of the Tour de France.

Van Avermaet, a BMC support rider for Porte, kept the yellow jersey for a third straight day.

Sometimes in cycling the bike can be the rider's biggest enemy. The Dutchman was seventh going into this stage only 13 seconds behind Van Avermaet but will now be a minute behind.

At the end of the stage, BMC's Greg Van Avermaet retained the yellow jersey, with Team Sky's Geraint Thomas moving up to second, three seconds back. He was one of eight top Tour contenders to gain some handy time that may prove vital come the Tour finish in Paris on July 29. Bardet, who suffered a broken wheel, was forced to swap bikes with a teammate and lost over half a minute to the stage victor Martin.

A breakaway group of five riders - Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Samsic), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Damien Gaudin and Fabien Grellier (both Direct Energie) - hit the front from the off and built a gap of nearly seven minutes before it stabalised.

Friday will see the riders take on the longest stage of the race at 218km when they take off from Fougeres and finish in Chartres.

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