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Martin seizes opportunity as top guns lose ground

14 July 2018

He made a break in the last kilometre into Mur de Bretagne (pron: Brit-an-yah) to register his first stage victory at the event since 2013.

Martin is now 21st overall, one minute and 30 seconds off the lead which is still held by Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet.

"He was also the one who lifted morale and created a good atmosphere on the team bus", said Jurdie, and in the hours following Domont's fall there was a palpable sense of sadness around the team.

While this was very 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. I'll have to get through the Alps and see how I am, see how Froome is and go from there.

"This win was fantastic for my self confidence, I feel under less pressure now, a sprinter needs confidence".

"I was second here last time".

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"My first thoughts are that I hope my wife hasn't gone into labour", smiled Martin as he caught his breath.

"I'm happy with that, " Sagan said.

Defending champion Chris Froome was 18th, eight seconds back, while Tom Dumoulin and Romain Bardet suffered significant setbacks. "I had no legs to beat the first two guys".

"People had been saying I was not good enough to win a stage on this Tour, so I put my finger to my lips to tell them to shut up", said Groenewegen, explaining his gesture at the finish line.

Froome, who knows a thing or two about leadership battles in this race after his uncomfortable relationship with Bradley Wiggins at the 2012 Tour, said it was good to have Thomas near the top of the standings.

Jack Bauer of team Mitchelton-Scott finished the climb behind Skujins but then pushed on to build a gap of 20 seconds with 12 km remaining.

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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.

Overnight leader Greg Van Avermaet finished in the same time as Sagan to wear the yellow jersey for a third day, whereas title contenders Dumoulin and Bardet lost time due to mechanical issues.

"I have my own style", he said when asked about his similarity to the veteran Manxman with 39 stage wins under his belt.

However, Groenewegen - who won the final stage on the Champs Élysées a year ago - seemed fresher and more powerful and beat all of his rivals by a sizeable margin.

The pack rides during the seventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 231 kilometers (143.5 miles) with start in Fougeres and finish in Chartres, France, France, Friday, July 13, 2018.

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Martin seizes opportunity as top guns lose ground