Dan Martin wins 6th stage of Tour de France for UAE

Tom Skujins puts on the polka dot jersey after stage 5 at the Tour de France

Peter Sagan thrust his arm and fist forward like Superman.

As riders swerved slightly, a wave went through the pack that brought down 15 or 20 of them, ending Domont's Tour with a trip to the local emergency ward.

"It was nice to relax because over this first week we have had very little chance to do that, believe me", said the BMC man. "You're happy it was a sunny day, no wind, without stress". "I had no legs to beat the first two guys". "It's never good to lose time", said Bardet, who has finished on the podium in the past two Tours. I didn't think it was going to happen, but the legs just were there.

Martin won the stage by one second from Frenchman Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) and 3s on a group of 13 riders that included Valverde (3rd) Yates (6th), Thomas (9th), Porte (11th), Quintana (13th), Nibali (14th) and Fuglsang (15th); as well as Porte's Belgian teammate and overall race leader, Greg Van Avermaet (12th) who kept the yellow jersey.

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.

"The first days were not good enough, the legs were not good. It was good to finish second back then but this time I was coming for victory", Martin said.

"I went to go but Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrone just seem to have another level".

After crossing the line, Groenewegen placed his finger to his lips in a gesture of silence.

Racing will continue tomorrow with a 231km stage from Fougères to Chartres.

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"It was quite long - 230k".

"I have my own style", he said when asked about his similarity to the veteran Manxman with 39 stage wins under his belt.

"Gilbert attacked a bit early, trying to drop everybody".

Laurent Pichon, another French rider with Fortuneo-Samsic, then also got away alone for a spell. But, in the end, it came down to a bunch sprint as expected.

The overall favourites should be tested again in the cobblestoned Stage 9 on Sunday to Roubaix, before heading down to the Alps next week.

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.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo's Groenewegen pulled clear of Fernando Gaviria to win comfortably and deny the Colombian a third stage win at this year's Tour.

Riders twice went up the Mur de Bretagne, or "Wall of Brittany", which the local cycling-crazed Bretons affectionately refer to as their smaller version of the famous Alpe d'Huez.

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