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Unbelievable scenes as Ireland's Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage
13 July 2018, 08:54 | Henrietta Morgan
Robert Kiserlovski hit the ground early in today's fifth stage at the Tour de France
Van Avermaet leads Britain's Geraint Thomas (Sky) by three seconds in the overall standings, with American Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and France's Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step) at five and six seconds respectively.
Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) has been handed a 20 second time penalty for drafting his team vehicle after puncturing in the final kilometres of Stage 6 at the Tour de France, finishing on the Mur de Bretagne.
As the climb wore on, a strong headwind and a dramatic last- minute chase by Pierre Latour of Ag2r saw Martin just hold on by a mere second to claim victory from the Frenchman on the line, with Alejandro Valverde of Movistar a further two seconds back in third. "From then on, it was just damage limitation".
"I came to this team to be the leader and the pressure at the beginning, of being the leader is why I didn't do so well in spring", said the UAE captain Martin.
Martin was one of several team leaders along with former Tour victor Vincenzo Nibali and two-time runner-up Nairo Quintana who were caught off-guard by an attack by Quick-Step 100 kilometers into the stage during a straightaway that was exposed to crosswinds.
Froome's teammate Geraint Thomas moved into second place overall at three seconds behind Van Avermaet after snatching two additional bonus in an intermediate bonus sprint.
"Unfortunately didn't get any seconds on the line but yeah there we go", Thomas said. "I was picking wheels and seemed to be a good position", the Manxman said.
Yellow jersey wearer Van Avermaet described the climax as "an awesome finish".
On the same long straight uphill three years ago, Martin finished second and he has been hinting for the past few days that he had fireworks planned this year.
But it could have been a bad day for the Spanish team.
"There's no reason I can't look at it [the Mûr de Bretagne], even though I'm contending for GC [the general classification]", Martin said earlier this week. Four Sky riders surged to the front of the peloton with 3km remaining, and domestique Michal Kwiatkowski pulled the peloton into the base of the final climb.
As the Australian started to put his foot down, Martin flew past everyone and swiftly opened up a gap with a full 500m to climb.
"I lost a bit of time, but it was very explosive there in the end", he said.
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