Dylan Groenewegen powers to victory on stage seven of Tour de France

Cycling – Tour de France 2012 – Stage 20 – Rambouillet – Paris

"I'd like to thank Greg (Van Avermaet) because he did me a favour when he went for it, I don't know if he did it on objective but he dropped a lot of people", said Sagan, who has tightened his grip on the points classification's green jersey.

The peloton set off amid good racing conditions for the longest stage on the race, with a finish line opposite the 800-year-old cathedral of Chartres, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Martin came home second the last time a Tour stage ended in Mur de Bretagne and he admitted he had been obsessed about winning here this time on a punchy climb that suited his abilities.

With almost six hours in the saddle and hardly any action until the finale, there was plenty of time to relax and fool around during the longest stage of the Tour de France on Friday.

"It's great to get a win after so many second places since the last one", Martin said.

"My first thought was, "I really hope my wife hasn't just gone into labor", Martin told Eurosport". I think I went too early in the sprint. When I kicked my power was pretty good but it wasn't enough.

"It was quite long - 230k".

Gaviria and Sagan have each won two stages in this year's Tour and were marking each other when Groenewegen surprised both and surged ahead on the final straight. Van Avermaet said. "But everyone kind of enjoyed it - the first day we could really relax".

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Ireland's Daniel Martin celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Mur-de-Bretagne Guerledan, France, Thursday, July 12.

The Dutchman of LottoNL-Jumbo defeated both Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan easily, as he finally showed what he is capable of in this race.

Laurent Pichon, another French rider with Fortuneo-Samsic, then also got away alone for a spell.

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.

Friday's 231-kilometer seventh stage will take the cyclists from Fougeres to Chartes.

The overall favourites should be tested again in the cobblestoned Stage 9 on Sunday to Roubaix, before heading down to the Alps next week.

"Having already lost 53 seconds on the stage - finishing 46th after a big effort from team-mate Soren Kragh Andersen, in the white jersey, to minimise their losses, he now drops to 19th - 1'23" behind yellow jersey Greg van Avermaet.

This was the first summit finish of this Tour.

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