Tour de France: Stage 7 highlights

Sherman Parsons
July 16, 2018

Dan Martin, the Birmingham-born Irishman, won his second ever stage of the Tour de France today, surging up the Mûr de Bretagne to take the honours on the first significant climb of this year's race.

Martin broke away at the midway point of the straight two-kilometer ascent of the Mur de Bretagne, winning the 181-kilometer (112-mile) leg that started in the western port city of Brest in over four hours.

The 231 kilometre stage from Fougères, the longest of this year's race, was always expected to end in a bunch sprint. "I was going from a good position and the legs were good so it was a ideal day". I'm really grateful. I was behind Kristoff and he was going, I stayed in is wheel and thought now is the moment.

"I talked to everyone", Sagan said when asked how he passed the time after finishing third in the mass sprint which, with its uphill finish, suited him. "I had no legs to beat the first two guys".

"I have my own style", he said when asked about his similarity to the veteran Manxman with 39 stage wins under his belt. "It was good to finish second back then but this time I was coming for victory", Martin said.

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

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"We knew there would be some crosswinds and other teams were interested in trying something", said AG2R-La Mondiale manager Vincent Lavenu, whose leader Romain Bardet lost half a minute following a mechanical in the finale of Thursday's sixth stage.

Another Frenchman, Laurent Pichon, then tried his luck alone too, but the pace was controlled by the sprinters' teams, and the Fortuneo-Samsic rider was reined in about 40km from the finish.

The Grand Tour will continue tomorrow with a 181km stage from Dreux to Amiens Métropole.

The overall favourites should be tested again in the cobblestoned Stage 9 on Sunday to Roubaix, before heading down to the Alps next week. However, he secured his lead in the overall standings by 2 seconds over teammate Tejay Van Garderen to retain the yellow jersey.

The peloton set off amid good racing conditions for the longest stage on the race, with a finish line opposite the 800-year-old cathedral of Chartres, a UNESCO world heritage site.

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