Ireland’s Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) won the queen stage of Brittany ahead of another AG2R-La Mondiale, Pierre Latour, to score his second Tour de France stage win, five years after the first one in the Pyrenees.
170 riders started stage 6 in Brest, with five of them going clear from the off: Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Samsic), Damien Gaudin and Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) and Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).
It’s been a long time coming
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) 12 Iúil 2018
Grellier was the last man caught at 165km, before the first passage on the finishing line at Mûr-de-Bretagne. Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-Scott) countered and went solo, with the New Zealander taking the three seconds bonus at the bonus point while Sky’s Geraint Thomas claiming two seconds.
Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin and Romain Bardet of AG2R-La Mondiale both had a mechanical in the last 5km. The Frenchman made it across but not the Dutchman. Bardet lost contact with the first part of the peloton after Dan Martin attacked with 1.2km to go, following an acceleration by BMC’s Richie Porte.
The UAE Team Emirates rider accelerated from 19 to 30km/hour on a 10% gradient when he went for the decisive move of the stage. With an average speed of 31km/hr on the climb, Martin dominated Mûr-de-Bretagne to join Seán Kelly and Stephen Roche as only the third Irish rider to have two or more stage wins in the Tour de France.
— letourdata (@letourdata) 12 Iúil 2018
Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) countered but failed to catch the Irishman, who became the first UAE Team Emirates rider to claim a Tour de France stage. Latour finished one second behind the stage winner, while Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde settled for third, a further two seconds behind, but crucially, in front of his arch-rival in the uphill finishes Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step).
Having won his second stage of the world’s greatest tour, the Irishman said:
“I was nervous because of the head wind and I didn’t think it was going to happen. Then the race went hard over the first part of the climb so I thought ‘why not have a try?’ My legs were there all the time. I felt good yesterday and didn’t quite get an opening in the finale to have a go. I was really relaxed all day (today), not confident, but looking forward to having a crack.”