Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Martin powers to stage victory

The Tour continues on Thursday with the 181km run from Brest to Mûr de Bretagne The Tour continues on today with the 181km run from Brest to Mûr-de-Bretagne Credit Getty Images
Cassandra Castillo | 14 July, 2018, 00:36

"If tomorrow is like that and all goes well on the cobbles on Sunday, it would be great to go into the rest day with the yellow", said Van Avermaet, who will be helping GC contender Richie Porte to keep out of trouble on the Roubaix stage. I didn't think it was going to happen. "Today the legs were good and everything was OK", said Groenewegen, who rides for Team Lotto NL-Jumbo.

"I was pretty disappointing in the first few stages but now I've got the power back in my legs", said the 25-year-old from Amsterdam who dislikes comparisons to Briton Mark Cavendish.

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Martin came home second the last time a Tour stage ended in Mur de Bretagne and he admitted he had been obsessed about winning here this time on a punchy climb that suited his abilities.

Belgium's Greg van Avermaet, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, arrives for the start of the seventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 231 kilometers (143.5 miles) with start in Fougeres and finish in Chartres, France, France, Friday, July 13, 2018. He's done really well so we want to support him.

But there were losses further back, with AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet hit by problems on the short two-kilometre climb and Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin also distanced after suffering a mechanical problem with six kilometres left.

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Dumoulin, the time trial world champion and 2017 Giro d'Italia victor, started the stage 44 seconds ahead of Froome, but finished just behind him.

Froome seemed unconcerned after the finish of stage six, which lived up to its billing as a key week-one marker for the overall hopes. "Then I had to chase and that effort was fatal", AG2R-La Mondiale rider Bardet told reporters. "Your team-mates can help you a bit but a lot of the time you'll find yourself on your own and need to do it yourself".

Gaviria and Sagan have each won two stages in this year's Tour and were marking each other when Groenewegen surprised both and surged ahead on the final straight.

Groenewegen grew up in a cycling environment as his grandfather was a bike manufacturer and his boyhood coach was Jean-Paul van Poppel, victor of nine sprint finishes at the Tour de France.

While no rider has won the Giro-Tour double since 1998, everyone will be wary of what the four-time Tour champion may have up his sleeve. After the relatively flat first nine days, the race will head south and into the Alps and then the Pyrenees Mountains.

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