Martin wins Tour de Frances 6th stage, Van Avermaet keeps yellow jersey

Cycling – Tour de France 2012 – Stage 20 – Rambouillet – Paris

Peter Sagan thrust his arm and fist forward like Superman.

Chris Froome lost a little ground to finish another five seconds back.

Other riders chatted as they admired the rolling countryside.

The U-A-E Team Emirates rider has closed the gap on leader Greg van Avermaet by 13 seconds and is up to 21st place overall.

"Maybe they should just have the stages at less than 200km in Grand Tours, it would be more exciting for everyone".

What time does the stage start?

"You're happy it was a sunny day, no wind, without stress".

"It's great to get a win after so many second places since the last one", Martin said.

"I'm happy with that, " Sagan said. "I was picking wheels and seemed to be a good position". I wanted to give it some time to see if the good legs would get there.

Behind him, Team Sky's Geraint Thomas took two seconds to move three seconds behind Greg Van Avermaet in general classification.

The only exception is the man they call "G", who sits three seconds off Van Avermaet in yellow and, as the victor of the traditional pre-Tour warm-up race the Criterium du Dauphine, has every right to be considered a serious contender himself.

It was a first stage win of this Tour for the LottoNL-Jumbo rider and the second of his career after victory on the final stage in Paris a year ago. When I kicked my power was pretty good but it wasn't enough.

"My first thought was, "I really hope my wife hasn't just gone into labor", Martin told Eurosport".

"I'd like to thank Greg (Van Avermaet) because he did me a favour when he went for it, I don't know if he did it on objective but he dropped a lot of people", said Sagan, who has tightened his grip on the points classification's green jersey.

After crossing the line, Groenewegen placed his finger to his lips in a gesture of silence.

"It was quite long - 230k".

"(Porte) can be confident after this climb", Van Avermaet said.

After a few early attacks failed, Yoann Offredo launched a solo effort 35 kilometers in.

A four-man breakaway earned a seven-minute advantage before being swallowed up late. But, in the end, it came down to a bunch sprint as expected.

The overall favorites should be tested again in Roubaix, before heading down to the Alps next week.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo's Groenewegen pulled clear of Fernando Gaviria to win comfortably and deny the Colombian a third stage win at this year's Tour.

Irish cyclist Daniel Martin won Thursday's sixth stage of the Tour de France.

Friday is the longest stage of the race at 218km, from Fougeres to Chartres.

Mur de Bretagne, France (AP) - Sometimes in cycling the bike can be the rider's biggest enemy.

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