Peter Sagan thrust his arm and fist forward like Superman.
Other riders chatted as they admired the rolling countryside.
Stage seven of the Tour de France is tomorrow, so Saturday July 14, 2018. "You're happy it was a sunny day, no wind, without stress".
"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. "I was picking wheels and seemed to be a good position".
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 think I went too early in the sprint.
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Martin won the stage by one second from Frenchman Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) and 3s on a group of 13 riders that included Valverde (3rd) Yates (6th), Thomas (9th), Porte (11th), Quintana (13th), Nibali (14th) and Fuglsang (15th); as well as Porte's Belgian teammate and overall race leader, Greg Van Avermaet (12th) who kept the yellow jersey.
The only exception is the man they call "G", who sits three seconds off Van Avermaet in yellow and, as the victor of the traditional pre-Tour warm-up race the Criterium du Dauphine, has every right to be considered a serious contender himself. I was quite excited and when I kicked my power was pretty good actually, but it wasn't enough.
"He was also the one who lifted morale and created a good atmosphere on the team bus", said Jurdie, and in the hours following Domont's fall there was a palpable sense of sadness around the team.
"The first time up the climb, I saw everyone was at the limit".
Netherlands' Dylan Groenewegen celebrates as he crosses the finish line.
The 231-kilometer (143.5-mile) trek from Fougeres, home to the best-preserved and largest medieval fortress in Europe, concluded in Chartres, site of a vast cathedral known for its stained-glass windows.
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"It was quite long - 230k".
"The Mur de Bretagne is much harder than this", said Van Avermaet, who would not rule Sagan out of contention for the sixth stage.
"Gilbert attacked a bit early, trying to drop everybody". The French rider with the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team established an advantage of more than eight minutes - the biggest breakaway lead in this year's Tour - before being caught by the pack with 90 kilometers to go.
It's set up for a sprint, but watch out as there's a kick at the end - the finale is a 600 metres kick-up at 4% before the last 200 metres flatten out.
Sunday's key stage over the cobbled roads of the "Hell of the North", used in the spring classic Paris-Roubaix, is now looming on the horizon, and most teams are focusing on the sporting and logistical demands of racing on roads that are sure to create drama.
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.
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Greg Van Avermaet retains the yellow jersey and remains first in the general classification for the fourth consecutive stage.