Dan Martin picked up the second Tour de France stage win of his career, sprinting ahead of the main pack with less than a kilometer to go. Greg Van Avermaet retained the yellow jersey as several top contenders lost time.
Irish cyclist Dan Martin won the sixth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday, finishing the semi-mountainous 181-kilometer (112 miles) leg from the western port city of Brest to Mur-de-Bretagne in four hours and 13 minutes.
Martin, 31, left the peloton behind on the route's final ascent with just under a kilometer to go, beating France's Pierre Latour by one second and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde by three. This was his second career stage victory in the Tour de France, the first having come on the ninth stage of the 2013 race.
"I saw the moment. I had really good legs and when I went my legs kept coming and coming," Martin said. "I knew if I could get a gap it would be difficult to close from behind."
Van Avermaet still yellow
Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet held on in the final stretch to retain the overall lead and the coveted yellow jersey. He has a three-second lead over Briton Geraint Thomas of Team Sky and his BMC teammate Tejay Van Gardenan.
Defending champion Chris Froome fell further behind Van Avermaet for the overall lead after finishing the stage eight seconds behind Martin in 18th place. He now sits more than a minute behind the Belgian cyclist after six stages.
Additionally, Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, the 2017 Giro d’Italia champion, finished the stage 53 seconds behind the winner after suffering a puncture with five kilometers to go.
Friday's flat 231-kilometer seventh stage from Fougeres to Chartes is the longest stage of this Tour.
dv/pfd (AP, Reuters)