09/07/15 - 11:55
Finished
Abbeville - Le Havre
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Tour de France • Stage6
avant-match

Abbeville - Le Havre

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Highlights 
 
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0km 

Stybar finished two seconds ahead of the chasing riders, with Sagan taking second ahead of Coquard, Degenkolb, Van Avermart, Gallopin, Boasson Hagan, Cimolai, Simon and Izaguirre.

0km

Replays shows that Martin touched a wheel and went down into a Lampre rider - perhaps Cimolai - before landing heavily on his shoulder. He brought down Nibali and Quintana too. But the yellow jersey looks to be the only one who was badly hurt - and as the incident occurred within the last 3km (just 800m from the finish, to be precise) all the riders will be awarded the same time.

0km

Martin is now riding up the climb with three Etixx team-mates, including Kwiatkowski, the world champion. It's bittersweet because their man Stybar won the stage following the chaos caused by that crash - but Martin may well not be able to start tomorrow...

0km

But Tony Martin has still not got back on his bike. It looks like he's done his collarbone...

0km 

In the ensuing sprint Sagan takes second place - of course - ahead of Coquard and Degenkolb. To be confirmed.

0km

VICTORY TO ZDENEK STYBAR!

0.2km 

Stybar may take this - the sprinters have left it too late...

0.5km 

That's taken the wind out of the sprint... there's a lone leader... Stybar!

0.8km

CRASH: Martin, Nibali, Van Garderen all down - and others...

1km

Cofidis and Katusha taking it up under the flag on this climb...

1.5km 

Now Soupe comes to the front at the start of the climb...

2km 

Sagan is tucked in five back with his yellow helmet, Coquard in his wheel.

2.5km 

It's very strung out and many riders will struggle to get in with a shout. Giant take it up, and Tony Martin is right there on the front too.

3km

Kenneth Van Bilsen is caught. Etixx lead the pack.

4km 

So many riders want to win - need to win - today.

5km

The pace is ferocious now as BMC drive the peloton along the waterfront in pursuit of lone ranger Van Bilsen.

8km 

Katusha and Ag2R-La Mondiale are near the front now - and still Van Bilsen rides ahead of the pack, 22 seconds up the road.

9km 

Teklehaimanot and Quemeneur pat each other on the back as they are swallowed up by the peloton. Interestingly, the two riders were in a break together in the Dauphine when Teklehaimanot first picked up the polka dot jersey that he eventually won in last month's week-long Tour warm up race.

10km

The peloton splits after a large section picks the wrong line through a roundabout and are left further down the road.

12km

Van Bilsen has decided to have a pop - the Belgian sheds his fellow escapees and rides solo en route to Le Havre. He has 10 seconds over Quemeneur and Teklehaimanot, who have 35 seconds over the peloton.

15km 

It's down to 52 seconds now, with Movistar, Giant, Tinkoff and BMC all on the front of the pack alongside Lotto and Etixx.

18km

Rear puncture for Lars Boom, who will need a wheel change. The gap is still just over a minute for the leading trio.

20km 

The teams are forming on the front of the pack in anticipation of the finale today. Still 20km to go, so we're talking about half an hour of racing. Should be a fast finish - with an uphill sprint on the cards.

25km

The three leaders have one minute to play with so it won't be too long before they are swept up.

29km

Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) will be the first black African rider to wear a major tour jersey when he dons the polka dot jersey. Many people have said he was the first African - but Daryl Impey, the South African from MTN-Qhubeka, wore the yellow two years ago. Chris Froome, too...

29.5km

Teklehaimenot opens up the sprint and takes it with ease... over the top of the Cat.4 Cote d'Etretat he goes to make history.

30km 

Quemeneur has a dig but Teklehaimanot closes the gap. The Eritrean is now arguing with Van Bilsen, who is no doubt goading him about the approaching KOM sprint...

31km

The leaders have passed through the quaint fishing port of Etretat and have started the climb. Can Daniel Teklehaimanot make history and become the first African rider to wear the polka dot jersey?

33km

Believe it or not: The eye-catching white cliffs of Etretat are the last place in France from where the 1927 plane The White Bird could be seen before it disappeared on its attempted (and unprecedented) non-stop transatlantic flight from Paris to New York in one of the great unexplained mysteries of aviation.

35km

We're approaching the absolutely stunning white cliffs of Etretat - made famous by a series of Claude Monet paintings. Thomas Voeckler's stint in front of the peloton has come to an end - the French veteran has sat up after his baffling attack.

38km

Damiano Caruso of BMC just ploughs into a barrier covered by a hay bale. His jersey was stuffed with bidons as he exited a roundabout, bunny hopped onto a traffic island, then hit the barrier as if he didn't see it. Head over heels he went, landing on those water bottles, before getting up sheepishly and continuing on his way. Tejay et al will have to wait a little longer for their water...

39km

The three escapees has seen their advantage cut to just over a minute but now it's back up to 2:15. Voeckler rides in between. If he can join the leaders he may well reinvigorate the break and give them a second wind - especially with team-mate Quemeneur.

40km

Tour tipple: The herbal liqueur Benedictine was invented by the famous wine merchant Alexandre Le Grand in 1863 in the grounds of the Abbey of Fecamp, which the riders passed by just ahead of the intermediate sprint. Alexandre enlisted the help of a chemist to make his concoction, which about sums it up.

42km

Thomas Voeckler decides to have a punt after the intermediate sprint and bounds clear of the peloton. He had helped launch Coquard for the sprint, then looked around at the other sprinters, asked John Degenkolb if he was interested, then danced on the pedals. An odd move given the presence of his Europcar team-mate Quemeneur up the road - but there you go, perhaps he was just a bit bored.

46km

Teklehaimanot lets the other two escapees lead the way as they approach the intermediate sprint - and it's Quemeneur who edges ahead to take the 20 points ahead of Van Bilsen, in an uncontested affair. Back with the peloton, it's Degenkolb who takes it ahead of Coquard, Greipel, Sagan and Cavendish.

52km

There's a bit of animation now that the intermediate sprint is approaching. It's an uphill sprint and so should be a little different than the ones we're used to seeing. The break will mop up the points for first to third (20-17-15), but they'll be 13 points and counting from fourth place through to 15th.

56km

Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis) - one of the escapees - is having some spray applied to his left knee by one of the race doctors - he hasn't come down today but there are a few signs of old wounds there. The gap is down to 2:25 now.

60km

While you're waiting for some action, feast your eyes on some GoPro footage from yesterday's round of skittle cyclists 25km from the finish. Keep your eyes peeled for Thibaut Pinot...

62km

The pace is 20 minutes slower than the slowest schedule - which must be a reaction to the brutality of the race so far. We'll forgive them this recovery day - especially after all those crashes. The break has 2:50 over the pack.

67km

Lotto-Soudal have more men on the front now as the gap comes down to three minutes for the three leaders. They're inland at the moment but will be hitting the coast again soon. Then we'll have the intermediate sprint, that third Cat.4 climb then the run into the finish.

70km

One rider we haven't mentioned yet to day is Belgium's Greg van Avermaet - who one Belgian reporter has dubbed Greg Le Havremaet because of his chances of nicking a win today at Le Havre. He'll be in the reckoning, but Sagan looks much stronger at the moment. We shouldn't underestimate someone like Alejandro Valverde on this Caubert-esque finish, either.

72km

Mark Cavendish should not be ruled out today, according to Sean Kelly: "I think Mark's capable of getting up the final climb today - and after missing out yesterday he'll be very motivated. If he does hang in on the climb then he will stand a chance."

73km

Plat du Jour: The heart-shaped Neufchatel cheese is from these parts - a slightly crumbly, soft-rind cow's cheese with mushroomy mould-ripened undertones. Best enjoyed after a hearty fish stew from Dieppe.

75km

Alejandro Valverde has a tear in his shorts revealing a small gash. According to his Movistar directeur sportif he slipped over while/after taking a pee on the side of the road.

78km 

This is very much a recovery day for the riders - while it is by no means an easy parcours, the clement weather conditions, plus the addition of a non-threatening break, means many of the injured guys out there can get on top of their ailments. Try saying that to those with broken ribs and cracked collarbones, mind.

82km

The gap is back up to five minutes for the three leaders: Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar), Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka).

90km

De Gendt is back with the peloton - he must have stopped off to say hello to friends or something. Really stunning aerial views today - as you can see...

92km

Thomas De Gendt has edged ahead of the peloton in anticipation of the feed zone - he must have carte blanche to pick something up from his team car or something like that, because no one has reacted to his surge ahead.

95km

This is how close that sprint for KOM points at the second climb was...

100km 

Teklehaimanot seems to have momentarily disappeared from this break - perhaps he's off chatting to his MTN-Qhubeka team car. The gap is 4:30 for the leaders.

104km

Now the roads are a bit more exposed to the elements the wind has increased a little. The three leaders pass a field of cows, most of which are lying down. But don't worry - it doesn't look like it's going to rain today.

105km

Thomas De Gendt leads the peloton for Lotto-Soudal. The Belgian all-rounder has bandages on his right knee from when he came down yesterday - but he's obviously feeling ok, or at least disguising it well. Lotto-Soudal have been in the wars, with Adam Hansen riding with a dislocated shoulder and cracked collarbone, and Greg Henderson riding with two broken ribs that apparently make it hard for him to breathe. Tough cookies.

108km 

The riders are riding on roads along the stunning cliffs that overlook the English Channel - it's quite a spectacular sight, and with the sun out the fans are out in their droves. It's constantly up and down today - with around 13 climbs, including three categorised offerings, ahead of the uphill drag to the finish.

112km

Puncture for the yellow jersey, who needs to have a wheel change. He's got the rainbow jersey there to help nurse him back. Martin and Kwiatkowski won't be too long off the front of the pack.

114km

Kenneth Van Bilsen leads out the sprint for the KOM points and Teklehaimanot has his work cut out to catch him. It looks like the Eritrean just pipped the Belgian for the point over the top - and they have a few words after. Things are getting heated in the break! With those two points in the bag, Teklehaimanot has now joined Joaquim Rodriguez at the top of the polka dot standings.

116km

The gap is down to 4:35 for the three leaders who are already onto the next Cat.4 climb, the Cote de Pourville-sur-Mer.

118km

The opening Cat.4 climb of the Cote de Dieppe went to script: Daniel Teklehaimanot zipped clear to take the solitary point. Can he take two more and seize the polka dot jersey? We'll soon find out.

120km

Speaking to letour.fr, Cannondale-Garmin's directeur sportif Charly Wegelius has tipped John Degenkolb for the win today - "but he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders with a German sponsor and the Germans being so successful but not yet a rider from Giant-Alpecin." Wegelius named his rider Ramunas Navardauskas as a dark horse for the win in Le Havre. "It's not a foregone conclusion we'll have a sprint," he said.

125km 

We're approaching the first climb of the day so we can expect a little bit of action soon. After all the drama of the last few days, I'm sure the peloton is quite content to have a quieter day in the sun out there in Normandie.

130km

Daniel Teklehaimanot, 26, became the first Eritrean to ride in the Vuelta in 2012 when he finished 146th overall. He returned to Spain in 2014 when he finished 47th. This July he is one of two Eritreans to ride the Tour alongside team-mate Merhawl Kudus - but by dint of rolling down the time trial ramp in Utrecht before Kudus he became the first Eritrean (and the first black African) to start the Tour de France. Indeed, he was the first of the 198 riders to start this Tour.

135km

Kenneth Van Bilsen is riding his debut Grand Tour for Codifis, who he joined from Topsport Vlaanderen over the winter. The 25-year-old Belgian has twice raced Paris-Roubaix but failed to finish on both occasions. He finished 72 in the Tour of Flanders in 2014 while his only professional win came in last year's Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise.

137km 

It's still Giant and Lotto-Soudal on the front of the pack, with the Etixx-QuickStep team of yellow jersey Tony Martin and British sprinter Mark Cavendish tucked just behind. Their Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski, the world champion, could be one to watch in today's final in Le Havre. The lead is down to 8:15 for the trio out ahead.

140km

Did you know: The race soon passes through the coastal town of Dieppe where the footballer Emmanuel Petit was born. Petit's ponytail is rivalled in professional cycling only by Laurent Brochard's.

142km

The three leaders have 9:25 over the pack so it's looking good for them with regards to staying out over those three Cat.4 climbs. But it remains to be seen if they can contest the victory in Le Havre - you'd think that as soon as the teams of the big sprinters combine in the peloton, the lead will come tumbling down quicker than Thibaut Pinot on a slippery surface.

143km

We also spoke to Norway's Alexander Kristoff of Katusha, whose form has tailed off since his stellar start to the season: "I hope I will be there. Yesterday I lost all my team in the crash 25km from the finish and so I was on my own. Today it will be hard to beat guys like Sagan so I will need really good legs.

145km

We spoke to John Degenkolb of Giant-Alpecin at the start this morning and asked him if he can join in with the German success of this Tour so far: "I hope so. I think it's a really good chance today and the team is really motivated to fight for today's victory. The final suits me well but the whole day is hard - up and down along the coast - so it will be hard. It's an uphill sprint - I hope I have good legs and then I can be there."

148km 

Greg LeMond has picked Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) as outsiders for today's win - but reckons it will be a ding dong battle between Degenkolb and Sagan.

150km

The gap peaked out at 12:30 but is now coming down slightly thanks to the work of Lotto-Soudal on the front of the pack. The average speed over the rolling terrain for the first hour today was 38.4km/h.

152km

Today's finish is preceded by an 850m climb at 7% before a slight uphill drag to the line. It's not one for the pure sprinters so we can perhaps discount the likes of Greipel and Cavendish. It's the kind of finish that will have Peter Sagan and John Degenkolb salivate over - while Alexander Kristoff could get his race back on track. Another potential winner is Bryan Coquard, who is said to have highlighted this one in his roadbook.

155km

For the first time in this year's Tour a break gets double figures when it comes to a lead. Quemeneur, Teklehaimanot and Van Bilsen now have 11:30 over the pack. The Lotto-Soudal team of Greipel are coming to the front of the pack to start leading the chase.

160km

Andre Greipel has been the stand-out performer so far in this year's race. The German now has two sprint wins in two attempts - and what's more, he's done it without two key Lotto-Soudal team-mates in Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson, both of whom are badly injured from earlier crashes. Greipel picked up a flurry of points yesterday to extend his lead in the green jersey competition. He has 151 points with nearest rival, Peter Sagan, on 119.

165km 

The gap is nearing nine minutes now as the riders leave the Picardy region of France and enter Normandy. They have tackled the first of two climbs - neither categorised - ahead of the town of Dieppe.

170km

The lead is up to seven minutes for the three escapees. Teklehaimanot is the best placed on GC of the trio - but he's almost 27 minutes down on Tony Martin and so no threat to the German's yellow jersey today.

175km

History: Today will maek the peloton's 19th finish in Le Havre, with Italy's Mario Cipollini - the Lion King - winning the last time round, back in 1995.

178km

The gap has grown to 4:20 for the four escapees. Perhaps it was the three Cat.4 climbs on today's agenda that tickled Teklehaimanot's fancy: the Eritrean won the polka-dot jersey in the Criterium du Dauphine last month - and were he to take maximum points over each of these climbs he would wear another one. Joaquim Rodriguez is the current king of the mountain with two points from his winning ascent on the Mur de Huy on Monday.

180km

Quemeneur is really riding an offensive race. This is his third break in five days - and even before today's stage the 31-year-old was leading the classification for the number of kilometres ridden in a breakaway. The Frenchman had notched 260km by this morning - 56 ahead of his nearest rival, Jan Barta of Bora-Argon 18. Such attacking riding has not served him so well in the past: Quemeneur is still without a pro win to his name in eight years riding for Jean-Rene Bernaudeau's outfit.

184km

The gap is up to 2:30 for the three leaders - so this will be the day's main break. Cofidis got their man in it, while for Quemeneur it's the third time the Frenchman has featured in a break since the start of the race.

185km

Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar) has tried his luck, taking Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) with him. The three riders have managed to open up a small gap over the pack.

188km

Luis Angel Maté has been caught by the pack. He was clearly trying to give Cofidis a much needed morale boost after yesterday's setback - and has form at long solo breakaways - but the peloton was having nothing of it.

190km 

Puncture for Edvald Boasson Hagen of MTN-Qhubeka. The Norwegian is one of the riders who has been tipped for victory in today's uphill finish in Le Havre... and ominous start.

191km

ATTACK: Luis Angel Maté of Cofidis bounds clear of the peloton pretty much at the outset. His team-mate Nicolas Edet did the same yesterday, before all hell broke loose when Bouhanni went down with three fellow Cofidis riders.

191.5km

They're off! Stage six of the 102nd Tour de France is under way...

11:55

Following Albasini's withdrawal last night, Orica-GreenEdge were down to six riders. The Australian team already lost Daryl Impey and Simon Gerrans after that high-speed crash in stage three - and with Michael Matthews soldiering on despite cuts, bruises and two broken ribs, things are looking tricky for GreenEdge ahead of Sunday's team time trial. To make matters worse, they were tipped as favourites for that TTT too...

11:55

Two riders withdrew yesterday after a flurry of accidents in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France. Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) broke a wrist in a fall 12km from the start while New Zealander Jack Bauer (Cannondale-Garmin) broke a femur after 32km. Both riders were taken to hospital. Switzerland's Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) crashed and completed the stage with a broken arm. He will not take to the start this morning.

11:50

The remaining 188 riders are rolling through the neutral section ahead of today's start at Abbeville. After a couple of days of rain and drizzle the sun is back out. The temperature is currently 18 degrees Celsius so we should - in theory - have a cleaner day of racing. That said, winds are expected to buffet the riders when they hit the Normandy coast at Dieppe...

11:45

There was no change in the overall standings as another German, Tony Martin of Etixx-QuickStep, retained his yellow jersey. Martin leads Britain's Chris Froome (Team Sky) by 12 seconds and Amercian Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) by 25 seconds.

11:42

Yesterday, jolly green giant Andre Greipel - the Gorilla from Rostock - picked up his second win of the race with a commanding victory in stage five at Amiens. The Lotto-Soudal rider extended his lead in the green jersey competition in a day marred by crashes galore and large splits in the peloton after crosswinds caused chaos.

11:40

Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage six of the Tour de France - a 191.5km rolling ride along the Normandy coast from Abbeville to Le Havre.