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TOUR’18 Stage 6: Dan Martin Brings Back Memories!
Stage Report: UAE Team Emirates' Dan Martin hammered up the Breton Alpe d'Huez, better known as the Mur de Bretagne, for the stage 6 win in fine style, which brought the memories flooding back for Gordan Cameron. 2011 and 2018; both vintage years on the Mur.



The last time I stood on the Mur de Bretagne, we were waiting for the clouds to disperse and for the rain to stop. And just in time … our wishes came true. The riders came flying into town as Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador went toe-to-toe. No such weather worries today though!





2011
The giants of the Tour were there in both real-life and painted in super-size on the facades of shops and garages making for a very effective and affecting reminder of days gone by. It made me feel quite Lilliputian in their presence.





The giants of family life were there on the roadside: ageing matriarchs propped in fragile chairs, spindly of limb but still mighty of spirit, having watched many Tours go by. Families catching up, communities coming alive. A memory of Brittany and her people.



2018
It was your average early stage of the Tour until Quick-Step obviously got a radio message at about half-distance. The wind direction was favourable for them to try something. Suddenly, the BMC-controlled chase which had sedately monitored the breakaway evaporated and was replaced by a pedal-pumping tide of blue. With predictable consequences …





… The unwary were caught napping as the peloton split into three large groups. This necessitated a huge chase from Movistar in group two, and a desperate LottoNL-Jumbo in group three before they were able to bring the likes of Nairo Quintana and Primoz Roglic back into the fold.





2011
The area is beautiful, not unlike parts of Scotland or Wales in fact, and full of little, twisty roads. And the Bretons do a nice line in regional identity, too. Kids with their faces painted in the colors of the Breton flag, chanting in their own resilient language.





You can see the riders coming from a long way off when you stand near the foot of the Mur. That’s one of the clearest memories I had from last time. Some places you get a gnawing sense of anticipation … then you hear the helicopters, the motorbikes … and the race explodes. Back in 2011, big George Hincapie was towing the whole field in his wake, and a posse of arm-warmer-clad riders primed themselves for a full-on assault of the climb. Like a multi-colored, high-speed raiding party.







2018
16 kilometers to go: almost all together, the escapees (Grellier and Gaudin for Direct Energie; Turgis from Cofidis; home favorite Pichon for Fortuneo-Samsic and Wanty Groupe-Gobert’s Dion Smith) had been swept up, and all of Smith’s efforts were for nothing as Toms Skuijns nipped off the front to snaffle more mountains points and keep his polka-dot jersey. Going with him, Michelton-Scott’s Kiwi hardman rolled past and pushed clear alone in a brave but doomed bid for glory.







Behind, Geraint Thomas pinched a couple of bonus seconds at the late intermediate sprint, with an eye to exploiting even the smallest gap at the stage finish. On my visit to this Mur, the margins were photo-finish tight, with Evans getting the win despite Contador’s initial celebration.



5.7kms left, and Bauer is still flailing away. So, too, is Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) for a completely different reason. He’s punctured and needs a new front wheel. Sky and LottoNL-Jumbo helping Bora-Hansgrohe to drive the pace.



Then it was Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) in trouble, having to get on a team-mate’s bike after a mechanical.



Last kilometer: Porte and Thomas are leading it and then Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) bolts clear. He screwed it up in 2015, going at the wrong moment and failing to catch Alexis Vuillermoz; no mistakes this time. A brilliant reminder for me of a great day out. Now to go and find some fine Breton cider!



Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) held the overall lead, but Sky's Geraint Thomas has closed to 3 seconds.

Tour de France Stage 6 Result:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates in 4:13:43
2. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:01
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:03
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
10. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
11. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC
12. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
13. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
14. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
15. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
16. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar
17. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:06
18. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 0:08
19. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:11
20. Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic at 0:12
21. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
22. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
23. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
24. Arthur Vichot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
25. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 6:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 22:35:46
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:03
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:05
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 0:06
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:12
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 0:18
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:45
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:51
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:52
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:53
11. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC
12. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 0:55
13. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:02
14. Chris Froome (GB) Sky
15. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 1:03
16. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:08
17. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:17
18. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:18
19. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 1:23
20. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:26
21. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 1:27
22. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 1:30
23. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:45
24. Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic at 1:57
25. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 2:02.

 

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