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".
Martin now lies in 21st position in the general classification ahead of today's stage - the longest of this year's Tour, with a total of 231km for the riders to cover. "It was good to finish second back then but this time I was coming for victory", Martin said.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, last year's Giro champion, suffered a puncture with five kilometres to go and ended the day 53 seconds behind the victor.
Bardet was already trailing Froome, and after losing 28 seconds is now 1:45 off the leader's pace after he broke his back wheel and had to change bikes with Tony Gallopin.
While this was bad news for the rider himself, his team and France's hopes of a first win since 1985, it was a boon to Bardet's rivals, as a Tour de France victor generally relies on the support of a full team.
"Then I had to chase and that effort was fatal".
"It was very hard", he said shortly after the finish. "There are a lot of twists on the Tour and this time luck was not on our side".
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 midway through the stage during a straightaway that was exposed to crosswinds.
Belgian Philippe Gilbert sparked the hostilities early on the uphill finish of the 204.5km ride from Lorient, but the Quick-Step rider failed to open up a significant gap on the chasing bunch.
With a nervous day expected on Sunday's cobbled stage nine to Roubaix before the race even moves to the Alps, Thomas said it was too soon for anything to be decisive.
After a somewhat inauspicious start to the season with his new UAE Emirates team, Martin showed a timely return to form last month when he won a stage and finished fourth overall at the week-long Criterium du Dauphine, the final pre-Tour tune-up for most of the pre-race favourites.
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