Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Dylan Groenewegen wins longest stage of Tour de France in sprint

Tour de France 2018 stage five – live updates The Breton flag flies in the background during the early part of Tuesday's fifth stage Credit Getty Images
Shannon Reynolds | 14 July, 2018, 11:14

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.

"The first days were not good enough, the legs were not good".

'Also, if those cycling journalists talked about some really choppy riders rather than me, trying to get clicks, then we'd see who they really are'.

Greg Van Avermaet held on to the yellow jersey he grabbed on Stage 3 and doubled his lead over Geraint Thomas to six seconds by winning an intermediate bonus sprint.

It was a first stage win of this Tour for the LottoNL-Jumbo rider and the second of his career after victory on the final stage in Paris past year. Today the legs were good and everything was OK, " said Groenewegen, who rides for Team Lotto NL-Jumbo.

"I was a bit nervous because of the headwind, I didn't think it was going to happen", Martin, 31, said.

"The race went so hard on the first part of the climb, I saw everyone was on the limit and there were no teammates left, so why not have a try?"

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After crossing the line, Groenewegen placed his finger to his lips in a gesture of silence.

The 231-kilometer (143.5-mile) trek from Fougeres, home to the best-preserved and largest medieval fortress in Europe, concluded in Chartres, site of a vast cathedral known for its stained-glass windows. "I was picking wheels and seemed to be a good position", the Manxman said.

Dumoulin then ran into mechanical issues that could badly hurt his Tour de France hopes.

"It was quite long - 230k".

In a quiet stage, separate solo breaks from Yoann Offredo and Laurent Pichon - as well as a brief split in the peloton amid high winds - had all come to nothing by the time 23 miles remained, when the latter was caught by the bunch.

A breakaway group of five riders - Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Samsic), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Damien Gaudin and Fabien Grellier (both Direct Energie) - hit the front from the off and built a gap of nearly seven minutes before it stabalised.

For 13 miles of Sunday's stage, the pack of more than 170 cyclists will shake, rumble and chatter their way across the lumpy cobbles of northern France between Arras and Roubaix.

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