Surging Martin climbs 'the wall' to earn stage victory

Belgium's Greg van Avermaet wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey rides in the pack during the seventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 231 kilometers with start in Fougeres and finish in Chartres France Franc

"In the first two stages of the Tour, my legs were just not good enough to win but some people concluded that I wasn't able to win a Tour de France stage", said Groenewegen, who rides for Team LottoNL-Jumbo.

BMC captain Porte is 56sec off the lead, Adam Yates 1min 05sec, defending champion Chris Froome at 1min 06sec, with Thursday's stage winer Dan Martin at 1min 30. Once they're through that, the riders will swoop down and across the Eure river with 1K to go.

Van Avermaet still increased his overall lead over his BMC teammate Tejay van Garderen to two seconds by gaining precious time in an intermediate bonus sprint.

The finish itself is tricky, though, with a right-hand corner tighter than the one that brought down several riders at the end of Stage 2.

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 with start in Fougeres and finish

France's Romain Bardet Bardet trails the leader's pace by 1:45 after he broke his back wheel during the sixth stage of the Tour de France.

"I just keep trying, our backs are against the wall all the time here", said the 33-year-old, who is in a contract year but is expected to stay with Dimension Data.

Today he certainly made good on his threat.

It's his second career stage win in the biggest race in cycling.

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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.

"Then I had to chase and that effort was fatal", AG2R-La Mondiale rider Bardet told reporters.

The fifth stage is the first hilly stage in this year's race. "It was good to finish second back then but this time I was coming for victory", said Martin.

Martin was one of several team leaders along with former Tour victor Vincenzo Nibali and two-time runner-up Nairo Quintana who were caught off-guard by an attack by Quick-Step 100 kilometers into the stage during a straightaway that was exposed to crosswinds.

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Gaviria and Slovakia's world champion Peter Sagan would end second and third on the same time as the victor. He finished the hilly, 204.5 kilometer (127.1 miles) stage through Brittany - from Lorient to Quimper - in 4 hours, 48 minutes and 6 seconds.

Friday's flat 231-kilometre leg from Fougeres to Chartes is the longest stage of this Tour.

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