Groenewegen's show of power silences Tour de France critics

Groenewegen's show of power silences Tour de France critics

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 previous year. Once they're through that, the riders will swoop down and across the Eure river with 1K to go.

Greg Van Avermaet took advantage of an intermediate bonus sprint to add two seconds to his overall lead, ahead of BMC teammate Tejay van Garderen. "I thought, why not have a try?"

Thursday's sixth stage is expected to shake up the peloton as it culminates in the double ascension of the feared Mur de Bretagne climb, a 2km long and 6.9 per cent gradient affair.

"I talked to everyone", Sagan said when asked how he passed the time after finishing third in the mass sprint which, with its uphill finish, suited him.

Today he certainly made good on his threat. He thanked Greg Van Avermaet, the overnight leader from BMC Racing, for his early move at the final turn.

Chris Froome went headfirst into a grass verge and ended nearly two minutes off yellow but could call Sunday a success as he survived a chaotic day on the Tour de France when others were not so lucky.

"I hope there's more".

The Lotto NL-Jumbo rider, who won the final stage to Paris previous year, had by his own admission suffered a disappointing start to the 2018 Tour before his show of power to beat Gaviria into second and Peter Sagan into third.

It was in 2011 when the Tour first finished a stage on the steep, two-kilometre climb to Mur-de-Bretagne.

This was the fourth sprint stage of this year's Tour, and the fourth in which Cavendish failed to feature, rolling home to a 10th place which is his best of the race so far.

The Dutch cyclist, who rides for Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, clocked almost six hours over the 231-kilometer (143.5-mile) trek from Fougeres, home to the best-preserved and largest medieval fortress in Europe, to Chartres, site of a vast cathedral known for its stained-glass windows.

"Yellow jersey wearer Van Avermaet described the climax as 'an awesome finish". "It was good to finish second back then but this time I was coming for victory", said Martin.

Meanwhile, Geraint Thomas of Team Sky inched closer to the race leader's yellow jersey as the race turned east to begin a series of long flat stages across northern France.

The upcoming seventh stage runs from Fougeres to Chartres.

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