Unbelievable scenes as Ireland's Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage

Unbelievable scenes as Ireland's Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage

Unbelievable scenes as Ireland's Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage

It was the second victory in the race for Groenewegen, who also won a sprint in last year's concluding stage on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Thomas's teammate Chris Froome slipped a few seconds behind the front group in the closing metres, but worse luck befell the 2017 Giro d'Italia champion, Tom Dumoulin, who lost the best part of a minute, after puncturing 5km from the finish.

Other riders chatted as they admired the rolling countryside.

Van Avermaet actually extended his lead in the overall standings over Geraint Thomas to six seconds when he raced ahead of the pack to win a three-second bonus sprint.

He had accelerated from 19 to 30km/h on a 10 per cent gradient and he went for it with a kilometre to go to the finish line.

"The fact he wasn't in the sprint was good for me", Sagan, who now leads Gaviria by 33 points, said.

"I'm glad I made the legs do the talking today".

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Greg Van Avermaet retains the yellow jersey and remains first in the general classification for the fourth consecutive stage. The Dutchman was seventh going into this stage, only 13 seconds behind Van Avermaet, but will now be a minute behind. After the relatively flat first nine days, the race will head south and into the Alps and then the Pyrenees Mountains.

Froome is 14th, 1:05 behind Van Avermaet. "People said I was not good enough after the first sprints but that's not true", he said.

The LottoNL-Jumbo rider was too fast for double stage victor Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep Floors) in the final sprint, while green jersey Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) was third.

Martin becomes just the third Irish rider to win two or more stages on the Tour alongside Ireland's cycling royalty Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche.

Having finished sixth on the previous day's uphill finish and remembering back to his second place behind another Ag2r rider, Alexis Vuillermoz, when the Tour was last on the Mur-de-Bretagne back in 2015, Martin gambled on an early attack yesterday.

The Dutch cyclist, who rides for Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, clocked almost six hours over the 231-kilometer (143.5-mile) trek from Fougeres, home to the best-preserved and largest medieval fortress in Europe, to Chartres, site of a vast cathedral known for its stained-glass windows.

The peloton set off amid good racing conditions for the longest stage on the race, with a finish line opposite the 800-year-old cathedral of Chartres, a UNESCO world heritage site.

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