Groenewegen wins longest stage of Tour de France in sprint

Tour de France 2018 stage six start – live updates

It was the second victory in the race for Groenewegen, who also won a sprint in last year's concluding stage on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Belgium's Greg van Avermaet retained the yellow jersey, but the BMC Racing rider's lead has dropped to three seconds with Thomas moving up to second. I didn't have good legs at the beginning of the Tour but it's going better every day.

The pace of the peleton quickened ahead of the category three climb to Mur de Bretagne, with the gap to the front shortening to under a minute with 20km to go. "Phil went early and he's still pretty close on GC [general classification] so I couldn't let him go". I think I went too early in the sprint. I felt good in the fourth stage but the good timing was missing.

"I'm happy with that", he said. "I had no legs to beat the first two guys".

Defending champion Chris Froome would lose eight seconds at the finish on rivals Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, Colombia's Nairo Quintana and Australia's Richie Porte.

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 100 kilometers into the stage during a straightaway that was exposed to crosswinds.

"I'm not sure the riders knew how to take advantage of it, the stage really could have been much more interesting", he said of the course some were describing as riddled with traps.

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Bardet would lose 31 seconds on the stage in a blow to the Frenchman's general classification hopes, while 2017 Giro d'Italia victor Dumoulin lost 53 seconds.

During his chase back to the peloton, Dumoulin took a long draft behind his team auto but race commissaires deemed it too long - and deducted a further 20 seconds from his time.

"The Mur de Bretagne is much harder than this", said Van Avermaet, who would not rule Sagan out of contention for the sixth stage.

A long day - it's the longest stage of the race - flat day with even the one solitary climb of the Côte de Buisson de Perseigne (Category 4, 1.5km at 3.9%) not really counting as Toms Skujiņš can't be dislodged from the polka dot jersey.

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.

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

This was the first summit finish of this Tour.

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