Dan Martin wins Tour de France stage 6; contenders lose time

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Ireland’s Dan Martin won the Tour de France’s sixth stage, while overall contenders Romain Bardet and Tom Dumoulin lost time in the final miles due to mechanical issues on Thursday.

Martin, who placed sixth in the 2017 Tour, held off Frenchman Pierre Latour for the stage victory by one second, with Spaniard Alejandro Valverde in third.

Belgian Greg Van Avermaet extended his overall race lead from two to three seconds, with Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas overtaking American Tejay van Garderen for second place.

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Van Avermaet, the Rio Olympic road race champion, is expected to cede the yellow jersey by the end of next week, when the three-week tour tackles cobblestones and the Alps.

He hopes BMC teammate Richie Porte will take it over. Porte finished with 2014 Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali on Thursday, three seconds behind Martin.

Four-time Tour winner Chris Froome lost five seconds to Porte and Nibali. Rigoberto Uran, runner-up last year, lost eight seconds to Porte and Nibali but remains the best-placed of the contenders to top the podium in Paris on July 29.

Dumoulin, the time trial world champion and 2017 Giro d’Italia winner, was slowed by a tire puncture at the foot of the final ascent and lost 53 seconds. He had entered the stage in seventh place and finished it 15th and one second behind Froome.

Bardet was left 1:45 back in 23rd overall after a spoke on his bike broke.

“Then I had to chase and that effort was fatal. It’s never good to lose time,” said Bardet, who has finished on the podium in the past two Tours. “There are a lot of twists on the Tour and this time luck was not on our side.”

The Tour de France continues Friday with stage seven, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold (full broadcast schedule here).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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New Zealand sweeps Rugby World Cup Sevens, celebrates with haka

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SAN FRANCISCO — New Zealand has won a World Cup Sevens double for the second time after the men’s team beat England 33-12 in San Francisco on Sunday to follow the Black Ferns’ win in the women’s tournament.

The New Zealand teams won the men’s and women’s titles in Russia in 2013 and again were dominant.

Sione Molia scored two of New Zealand’s five tries in the men’s final, and South Africa held off Olympic champion Fiji 24-19 to take bronze.

The weekend results mean New Zealanders are the men’s and women’s World Cup holders in the traditional 15-a-side rugby and the sevens.

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Tour de France rider expelled for punching cyclist

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CARCASSONNE, FRANCE (AP) — Team Sky rider Gianni Moscon was expelled from the Tour de France on Sunday after he appeared to deliberately hit a fellow cyclist during the race.

The Italian lashed out at French rider Elie Gesbert of Team Fortuneo while both were competing during Stage 15 from Millau to Carcassonne.

“I’m sorry for today’s incident, and I totally regret my actions,” Moscon said. “I would like to personally apologize to Elie Gesbert…. What happened was wrong and was a bad example coming from me to everyone, and I want to publicly apologize. … I make no excuse for it and accept the decision of the race organizers.”

Team Sky director Dave Brailsford said the team would consider taking further action against Moscon after the Tour concludes next weekend.

The 24-year-old Moscon was suspended by Sky for six weeks last year for using a racial slur against an opponent.

His expulsion leaves Sky with seven riders.

Sky’s Geraint Thomas is leading the race ahead of teammate Chris Froome after 15 of 21 stages.

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