Belgium's Greg van Avermaet retained the yellow jersey, but the BMC Racing rider's lead has dropped to three seconds with Thomas moving up to second. "It was good to finish second back then but this time I was coming for victory", said Martin.
The pack leaves Fougeres, rear, during the seventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 231 kilometers (143.5 miles) with start in Fougeres and finish in Chartres, France, France, Friday, July 13, 2018. "With 200 meters (yards) to go I saw the gap and I was going to the finish line".
"This win was fantastic for my self confidence, I feel under less pressure now, a sprinter needs confidence".
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.
"I hope so", he said. "I needed to change wheel and chase to the finish as hard as possible but it was very difficult".
The likes of Vincenzo Nibali, Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa and even Peter Sagan were part of the group - although defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) found himself on the other side of a slight split to concede five seconds to many of his GC rivals, while Colombian Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) was a further three seconds in arrears.
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As the Australian started to put his foot down, Martin flew past everyone and swiftly opened up a gap with a full 500m to climb. Van Avermaet, a BMC support rider for Porte, kept the yellow jersey for a third straight day.
Tom Dumoulin, victor of the 2017 Giro D'Italia, suffered badly following a mechanical issue with only 5km to go, dropping 40 seconds on the leaders. "Third is okay, if I win what do I get except an extra point or two?"
Van Avermaet, a support rider for Porte, has held the yellow jersey since BMC won the team time trial on Stage 3.
He was then handed a 20-second penalty by the race jury for staying too long in his team car's slipstream.
"I have my own style", he said when asked about his similarity to the veteran Manxman with 39 stage wins under his belt.
After a somewhat inauspicious start to the season with his new UAE Emirates team, Martin showed a timely return to form last month when he won a stage and finished fourth overall at the week-long Criterium du Dauphine, the final pre-Tour tune-up for most of the pre-race favourites.
"He was in effect Romain's bodyguard, the one who would ride beside him and had been due to do so over the first nine stages", said Jurdie, who has been with the team for 12 years.