MUR DE BRETAGNE, France (Reuters) – Ireland’s Dan Martin claimed victory on the sixth stage of the Tour de France with a brutal attack in an uphill finish as several top riders lost time on Thursday.
The Team UAE Emirates rider jumped away from the main pack inside the final kilometer and never looked back, beating France’s Pierre Latour by one second and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde by three.
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Belgian Greg van Avermaet hung on for dear life on the 2-km climb at an average gradient of 6.9 percent to retain the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
While Australian Richie Porte, Italian Vincenzo Nibali and Britain’s Geraint Thomas all crossed the line three seconds off the pace after the 181-km ride from Brest, defending champion Chris Froome was five seconds further back.
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Last year’s runner-up Rigoberto Uran was 11 seconds behind Martin but it was worse for Frenchman Romain Bardet, who ended 31 seconds off the pace after having to swap bikes with a team mate following a mechanical problem just before the last climb.
“A spoke broke and I had to swap bikes with Tony (Gallopin). Then I had to chase and that effort was fatal,” AG2R-La Mondiale rider Bardet told reporters.
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“It’s never good to lose time. There are a lot of twists on the Tour and this time luck was not on our side.”
Bardet now trails Froome by 43 seconds while Team Sky will also be able to play the Geraint Thomas card as the Welshman, who won the Criterium du Dauphine last month, sits in third place overall 59 seconds...
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