Sam Bennett stretched his lead over Peter Sagan to 12 points in the race for the Green jersey following today's sixth stage of the Tour de France.

Alexey Lutsenko took his first career stage win with victory from the breakaway on the mountainous trip to Mont Aigoual.

The eight-man break included Nicolas Roche, who scored two King of the Mountain points before the gruelling finish, which saw the group splinter on the main climb of the day, the Col de la Lusette, late in the 191km stage from Le Teil.

Roche is third in the climbing rankings overall, on 11 points, behind Benoit Cosnefroy (23pts) and Michael Gogl (12 pts).

EF Education First's Neilson Powless struck out in search of glory on his 24th birthday but Astana's Lutsenko followed and then left the others behind on the steepest sections of the climb before soloing to victory.

"We talked about it in the team bus this morning and we agreed that it was a stage that suited me," said Lutsenko, who broke clear in the punishing ascent to the Col de la Lusette, a 11.7km climb at an average gradient of 7.3%.

Earlier in the stage, Bennett scored six points on an intermediate sprint to stretch his lead over Sagan in the points classification to 12.

On Wednesday the 29-year-old became the first Irishman since fellow Carrick-on-Suir native Sean Kelly to wear the Green jersey.

Britain's Adam Yates retained the yellow jersey as the peloton finished a little under three minutes later.

Yates, who became the ninth Briton to wear yellow on Wednesday after Bennett's Deceuninck-QuickStep team-mate Julian Alaphilippe was hit with a time penalty, sat near the back of the peloton for much of the day but moved to the fore on the final climbs to mark his rivals.

Alaphilippe, stung by the mistake of taking an illegal late feed 24 hours earlier, tried a late dig to claim back a second or two, but Yates crossed the line in 10th to retain his three-second advantage over Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma.

Roche eventually finished in 56th place, seven minutes and seven seconds down on the hugely impressive Lutsenko. 

Dan Martin - who is struggling with injury - was 71st, a further 9'40" back.

Roche sits in 44th place overall, 11'59" behind Yates, with Martin in 76th, almost 40 minutes down ahead of
Friday's seventh stage - a 168-km ride from Millau to Lavaur.