Dylan Groenewegen wins longest stage of Tour de France in sprint

Dylan Groenewegen wins longest stage of Tour de France in sprint

Netherlands' Dylan Groenewegen celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of Colombia's Fernando Gaviria, left, to win 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.

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.

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas remains in second place, with Van Avermaet's team-mate Tejay Van Garderen in third, now eight seconds back.

It was Sagan's second stage win of this Tour following stage two into La Roche-sur-Yon on Sunday, and the 10th of his career.

"I came to this team to be the leader, and the pressure at the beginning of being the leader is why I didn't do so well in Spring", said Martin afterwards, "But there's a great feeling in the bus now, laughing and joking and this win is for them, they really looked after me".

AG2R's Romain Bardet cracked in the heat of the final ascent and lost 31secs, while fellow contender Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), the 2017 Giro d'Italia champion, lost almost a minute after suffering a mechanical problem. "I thought the corner was closer to the finish than it really was". Then Greg went early which was good for me as it meant I could follow.

Bardet was already trailing Froome, and after losing 28 seconds is now 1:45 off the leader's pace after he broke his back wheel and had to change bikes with Tony Gallopin.

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Groenewegen grew up in a cycling environment as his grandfather was a bike manufacturer and his boyhood coach was Jean-Paul van Poppel, victor of nine sprint finishes at the Tour de France.

"I don't know if he did it on goal or if he wanted to drop everybody but I have to say thanks", Sagan said.

The general classification contenders all crossed the line safely in the main group, but BMC's Greg Van Avermaet doubled his slender advantage in yellow to six seconds by winning the bonus sprint 31km from home.

A group of around 40 riders including Froome opened up a gap of over a minute, but Martin and the rest hustled back.

This was the first summit finish of this Tour. After the relatively flat first nine days, the race will head south and into the Alps and then the Pyrenees Mountains.

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.