Groenewegen prevails in longest Tour stage

Mark Cavendish

That increased his lead over Froome's teammate Geraint Thomas in second to 7 seconds and his own BMC teammate Tejay Van Garderen to 9 seconds.

Martin later crossed the line as part of a group 75 seconds down.

The stage continued on placidly with the time gap slowly eroding until the bonus sprint in Loeuilly at kilometre 20, which was won by race leader Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and where the peloton animated.

All the other favourites spent a quiet day in another slow ride.

That challenge will be followed by a rest day on Monday before the race shifts to its first mountain stages in the Alps.

Last year's runner-up Rigoberto Uran was 11 seconds behind Martin but it was worse for French hope Romain Bardet, who ended up 31 seconds off the pace after having to swap bikes with a teammate following a mechanical problem just before the last climb.

Great French hope Romain Bardet (Ag2r) and last year's Giro d'Italia victor Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) were the biggest losers among the overall favourites, losing 31 seconds and 53 seconds respectively.

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Dumoulin and his Sunweb team compounded the mechanical mishap by getting a 20-second penalty when Dumoulin stayed too close to the team auto while trying to catch the pack, thereby benefiting from its draft that pulled him along.

On the same long straight uphill three years ago, Martin finished second and he has been hinting for the past few days that he had fireworks planned this year. "I had really good legs and when I went my legs kept coming and coming", Martin said. "I've had so many second places at the Tour since the last one".

"It was hard because there was a headwind, so going solo was risky".

Ireland's Dan Martin has won Tour de France Stage Six.

It was a well-timed move from Groenewegen - victor on the Champs-Elysees at last year's Tour - as he peeled off the wheel of Alexander Kristoff and surged past Gaviria before the Colombian had a chance to respond in a finish that included a slight ascent.

On that occasion Australian Cadel Evans laid down a marker on his rivals as he claimed the stage on his way to the overall win in Paris.

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