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Deadly Dan Martin lights up Tour de France with stylish victory

Posted on: July 12th, 2018

Video Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage 6

He’s done it: Dan Martin has just taken his second career stage win at the Tour de France.

 

Video Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage 6

 

By Graham Gillespie

Dan Martin said he fancied winning a stage in the opening week of the Tour de France and he’s been true to his word.

At the end of the 181km stage 6 today from Brest to Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan he was by far the strongest.

The racing split late in the day when the riders tackled the 2km Mûr-de-Bretagne twice.

It finished atop the climb the second time and when Ireland’s Martin pulled the trigger nobody could live with him.

He hit out early second time up the climbing; jumping hard with 1.1km remaining.

“I felt really good yesterday and that was a really good sign for today. I felt comfortable,” he said.

“I attacked as hard as I could. It was great to claw a few seconds back. But more importantly, it’s a stage victory.”

With the small gap he held on the line and the 10 second time bonus for winning he gained 13 seconds on the group of favourites.

That puts him up three places to 24th, some 1:27 off Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) who retains his yellow jersey.

On the line Dan Martin, a 31-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider, had one second on Pierre Latour of Ag2r-La Mondiale.

And another two seconds back was Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) who led home the group of favourites; report continues below videos.

 

 

 

After coming so close to winning on the same climb in 2015, today’s victory on the Mûr-de-Bretagne is Martin’s second stage win at the Tour and the 12th ever by an Irishman.

Martin launched his winning attack and immediately built a threatening lead. But in the final few hundred metres it briefly looked as if he had gone too soon.

 

How the stage unfolded

Following yesterday’s stage win for Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), the Tour stayed in Brittany starting in Brest and finishing in a circuit of Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan.

The hilly stage was decided by this final category three ascent; climbed by the riders twice in the last 18 kilometres of the race.

Before that, however, there were two categorised climbs and an intermediate sprint.

The opening kilometre of the stage saw a group of five break away – brave men not deterred by the route ahead.

In this group was Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Samsic).

Also in this break was the Direct Energie duo of Damien Gaudin and Fabien Grellier.

 

Video Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage 6

Video Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage 6

Video Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage 6

Top down: Latour looks wiped taking 2d, QuickStep lead the chase earlier on the stage, Van Avermaet in yellow, which he retained.

 

The group maintained a lead of around two minutes over the peloton for much of the day’s racing.

The escape allowed Dion Smith to take maximum points on both the cat 3 Cote de Ploudiry and the cat 4 Cote de Roc’h Trevezel.

With those points, Smith drew level with Toms Skujinš (Trek-Segafredo) in the climbers’ standings.

Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Samsic) then took the intermediate sprint in Plouguernevel with 46 kilometres remaining.

Back in the peloton QuickStep was pushing hard in the peloton to close the gap to the break.

Meanwhile, Astana team leader Jakob Fuglsang suffered a crash just before the Mûr-de-Bretagne.

Fuglsang and his teammates were forced to dig deep to get back in the peloton. But a strong effort meant they got there before the major climbing began.

Despite the brave efforts of Dion Smith and Fabien Grellier, all of the break were subsumed before the top of the first passage of the final climb.

Toms Skujinš reached the summit first to reclaim his lead in the mountains classification.

Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-Scott) then raced out in front and quickly built a decent 25 second lead.

In doing so Bauer also picked up three bonus seconds at the sprint point in Saint-Mayeux.

With 5.5 km to go, disaster struck for Tom Dumoulin as he had to change a wheel following a puncture.

As a result, the Sunweb rider quickly found himself 40 seconds behind the peloton which had caught Bauer before the start of the final climb.

It didn’t get any better for the Dutchman as he finished the stage 51 seconds behind eventual winner Martin.

Roman Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) also struggled today and lost 31 seconds on the final climb.

This was all before Martin showed remarkable strength to attack with 1,200 metres to go. The Irish man looked indestructible as some of the best climbers in the world couldn’t even hold their place in the select group behind.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) faltered a little; finishing some 5 seconds behind the select group. And Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) was another three seconds adrift.

But it was all about Dan Martin today; he dominated the finale with a ride that says he is up for the fight on this Tour.

 

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