Dan Martin blasts past his rivals the Mur-de-Bretagne finale on Stage 6
Daniel Martin put in a brave attack on the second ascent of the Mûr-de-Bretagne to take a solo victory. Greg Van Avermaet retains the Yellow Jersey, as the race edges closer to the Roubaix cobbles on Sunday
Daniel Martin made a brave attack on the second climb of the Mûr-de-Bretagne to take a solo victory in Stage 6 of the 2018 Tour de France. Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale) was second and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) third.
Stage 6 of the 2018 Tour de France was 181kms from the coastal town of Brest to the Mûr-de-Bretagne, taking in two passes over what the locals call the “Breton Alpe d’Huez”. A stage that demanded the best efforts of the climbers, puncheurs and GC contenders.
Five riders established the breakaway early on; Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Samsic), Damien Gaudin and Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) and Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). The peloton granted Groupama-FDJ’s Olivier Le Gac a brief escape at km 11 to pass in front of his family home in Plouvien.
The breakaway's lead went up to over 5 minutes lead, behind Quick-Step Floors accelerated and the peloton slpit into three groups.
The splita caused some panic behind and with 75km of racing remaining, all came back together, whilst the breakaway held on a two minute lead.
Pichon took the intermediate sprint at km 135, and Damien Gaudin counter attacked and opened up a small gap on his breakaway companions
With the speed increasing and the road narrowing, a crash brought down Lampaert, Fuglsang and Molard.
Gaudin was caught by his breakaway companions, leaving Smith, Grellier, Turgis and Pichon with a 1 minute lead with a little over 20km to go.
Grellier went on the attack trying to go solo over the first pass of the Mûr-de-Bretagne, bit with the peloton bearing donw on him, he was caught with less than 1km to the top and as polda-dot jersey Tom Skujins mopped up the KOM points. Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-SCOTT) took the second place points, then flew off on a solo attack.
Bauer was holding the peloton at bay by 20 seconds, but with 8km to go, the peloton, led by BORA-hansgrohe, cranked up the the pace.
Team Sky and Dimension Data took up the pace making with BORA and Bauer was reeled in for the finale with all the favorites coming to the front.
The second climb up the Mûr-de-Bretagne to the finish line saw a flurry of attacks including Richie Ports,with a little over 1km to go, it was Dan Martin do went on the attack and distanced his rivals.
In the closing battle, only Pierre Latour (Ag2R-La Mondiale) could put together a decent response, not good enough to catch Dan Martin who soloed across the line, Valverde in third.
Van Avermaet leads Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) by three seconds in the overall standings, with Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step) at five and six seconds respectively.
Chris Froome of Team Sky lost eight seconds to his key rivals, nut he was not alone. AG2R’s Romain Bardet cracked in the heat of the final ascent and lost 31secs, while fellow contender Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) lost nearly a minute after suffering a mechanical problem.
“I was a bit nervous because of the headwind,” Martin said afterwards. “Maybe it was adrenaline but I felt really good yesterday and didn’t quite get a chance to have a go but it happened today. I was really relaxed and was looking forward to having a crack. It makes this Tour de France a success for us already and anything else is a bonus now.”
Friday's stage 7 is a very flat 181 kms from Dreux to Amiens that is surely going to culminate in a fats and furious finish and a bunch sprint.
VIDEO: 2018 Tour de France Stage 6 Finale
2018 Tour de France Stage 6 Top 10
1 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 4:13:43
2 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:01
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:03
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
9 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
10 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
2018 Tour de France GC after Stage 6 Top 20
1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 22:35:46
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:03
3 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:05
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:06
5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:12
6 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:18
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:45
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:51
9 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:52
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:53
11 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
12 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:55
13 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:02
14 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
15 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 0:01:03
16 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:08
17 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:17
18 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:18
19 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:23
20 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:26