Dutchman takes Tour stage - Martin in the bunch

Kragh Andersen leads Tom Dumoulin across the line

Kragh Andersen leads Tom Dumoulin across the line

Chris Froome calmly dropped back to his team vehicle to get his seat adjusted by a mechanic.

While they fought back to join the chase group, a third group led by Lotto and their rider Primoz Roglic struggled to stay in touch. "You're happy it was a sunny day, no wind, without stress".

"I'm happy with that, " Sagan said.

"I'm happy with that, " he said.

Dan Martin won the stage, meanwhile, surging clear on the lower slopes of the Mur de Bretagne to claim the second Tour de France stage win of his career.

Sensing the danger, overall contenders Richie Porte of BMC and Sky's Geraint Thomas were the first of many to unsuccessfully try to close Martin down.

Behind him, Team Sky's Geraint Thomas took two seconds to move three seconds behind Greg Van Avermaet in general classification.

Five years after his first stage win and the last Irish victory on the Tour, at Bagneres-du-Bigorres in the Pyrenees, Martin took glory on the shorter but equally steep slopes of the aptly named Mur de Bretagne, or "Wall of Brittany". After the relatively flat first nine days, the race will head south and into the Alps and then the Pyrenees Mountains.

Today he certainly made good on his threat.

He had accelerated from 19 to 30km/h on a 10 per cent gradient and he went for it with a kilometre to go to the finish line.

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After crossing the line, Groenewegen placed his finger to his lips in a gesture of silence. "I was picking wheels and seemed to be a good position", the Manxman said.

Watch the stage 7 highlight video from the Tour de France above.

"It was quite long - 230k".

The real intrigue came off the road when French cyclinglegend, Bernard Hinault, victor of five Tours, yet again criticised ChrisFroome's presence on the race.

"I was really relaxed all day - not over-confident, but looking forward to having a crack, looking forward to racing hard on the last climb".

After a few early attacks failed, Yoann Offredo launched a solo effort 35 kilometers in.

A breakaway group of five riders - Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Samsic), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Damien Gaudin and Fabien Grellier (both Direct Energie) - hit the front from the off and built a gap of nearly seven minutes before it stabalised.

Once the peleton was together again, Laurent Pichon of Team Fortuneo-Samsic broke from the pack and built up a lead of two minutes. But, in the end, it came down to a bunch sprint as expected.

Stage eight on Saturday (Sunday NZ time) covers a slightly more challenging terrain over 181km from Dreux to Amiens but again should set up well for sprinters.

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