Dutchman takes Tour stage - Martin in the bunch

Robert Kiserlovski

Yellow jersey wearer Van Avermaet described the climax as "an awesome finish".

Speed demon: Richie Porte warms up in France. "I don't know what happened - maybe adrenaline - but I wasn't going to let anyone beat me".

Joining Porte in those time gains was Irish stage victor Daniel Martin (UAE), Spaniards Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Mikel Landa (Movistar), Briton Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Welshman Geraint Thomas (Sky), Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), and Dane Jacob Fuglsang (Astana).

Porte sits in 11th spot on the general classification 53 seconds behind his teammate, Belgian Greg van Avermaet, who is clinging on to the yellow jersey, three seconds ahead of Team Sky's Thomas.

"(Porte) can be confident after this climb, " Van Avermaet said.

"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.

The Dutch rider, 25, was fastest in a competitive final finish, in which the tour's biggest sprinters were all involved.


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. It's never good to lose time, " said Bardet, who has finished on the podium in the past two Tours. The four-time defending Tour champion followed the comments up with laughter, indicating that he did not deem the losses to be substantial.

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.

While they fought back to join the chase group, a third group led by Lotto and their rider Primoz Roglic struggled to stay in touch.

Riders twice went up the Mur de Bretagne, or "Wall of Brittany, " which the local cycling-crazed Bretons affectionately refer to as their smaller version of the famous Alpe d'Huez.

The course route that took riders along the lovely rolling hills of northwestern France included a pass through the town of Carhaix, which boasts four Breton winners of the Tour, including the great Bernard Hinault. After the relatively flat first nine days, the race will head south and into the Alps and then the Pyrenees Mountains.

Cavendish's best finish so far has been 21st on stage 4, but he told Cyclingnews that he's feeling "all right" and ready to go again on the 231km seventh stage between Fougères and Chartres, which is also the longest stage of this year's Tour.

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