Unbelievable scenes as Ireland's Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage

Robert Kiserlovski

Robert Kiserlovski

Tom Dumoulin suffered another blow having already lost time following a late mechanical on stage six of the 2018 Tour de France, after being slapped with a 20-second time penalty for drafting.

The Dutchman needed no help from his team mates in the final straight as he slalomed through his rivals to beat German Andre Greipel by nearly a bike length after 181 kms from Dreux, with Colombian Fernando Gaviria crossing the line third.

But the peloton slowed and hostilities began with a "faux plat" incline to the final 150m, with Sagan's Bora, Gaviria's Quick-Step and the winner's Lotto outfit prominent into the final stretch. Gaviria had been boxed in by Greipel in the final 200 metres and the Colombian appeared to headbutt his rival's lower back in retaliation.

The loss of points in the sprint finish further consolidates the position of Peter Sagan in the Green Jersey standings, with the Slovakian extending his lead out to 63 points over Gaviria.

"The legs have been better every day", Groenewegen said, adding that "the team did an incredible job and put me in a great position". I'm really grateful. I was behind Kristoff and he was going, I stayed in is wheel and thought now is the moment.

Four-time victor Chris Froome remained over a minute behind Van Avermaet, a support rider for BMC leading hope Richie Porte.

The stage comes before the three-week race faces one of its most hard legs when it hits the tricky and occasionally treacherous cobblestones.

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Van Avermaet picked up a one-second bonus overall during an intermediate bonus sprint at 20K from the finish.

While his team once again showed cracks when finishing 15th of 22 squads in the stage three team time trial in Cholet last Monday, Martin's victory yesterday sees him move into 21st place overall, a minute and 27 seconds behind current race leader Greg Van Avermaet of BMC.

"We will try to do both", the Belgian said. But I keep improving since. After the relatively flat first nine days, the race will head south and into the Alps and then the Pyrenees Mountains.

The result was another mostly calm ride.

The only incident to interrupt the leg was a pile-up with just under 20K to go.

UAE Emirates leader Daniel Martin, the victor of Stage 6, bloodied his left elbow and tore the back of his shirt.

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