Tour de France Report: Stage 6
Another flat day, but the mountains are looming.
By Larysa Pachulski, 2:20PM, Thu. Jul. 10
The 101st Tour de France continues through July 27. Click through to read our report of Stages 6.
Location: Arras to Reims
Duration: 194km/ 120.54mi
Terrain: A flat stage (two category 4 climbs)
Weather: 19C/ 66F – 15km/hr winds
Why you should care: What looks like a ride in the park after yesterday’s pavé stage, may turn out to be a race to gain back lost time the day before. This year the Tour is paying homage to the First World War marking its centennial. Stage 6 will pass by areas of battle in World War I, which took the lives of many French men, including three past Tour de France winners. French president Francois Hollande will be watching the stage from a team car today, for added pressure.
It was any rider’s stage today. Though typically a flat stage like this is a guaranteed sprint stage, many of the riders were exhausted from the previous day’s efforts, and the strong winds which kept splitting the peloton caused even more crashes in stage 6.
In the end the sprinters persevered. The breakaway group was caught, with Luis Maté as the last rider to be consumed by the peloton at 12 kilometers from the finish. Team Omega-Pharma-Quickstep were among the sprinter teams at the front of the peloton, hoping to lead out Mark Renshaw for the sprint finish, having thwarted the head winds which split the peloton into two groups. OPQ has used these head winds to their advantage before; however, although a tactically sound team, Renshaw and OPQ missed another opportunity to make amends for the loss of sprinter, and arguable team leader, Mark Cavendish in stage 1 of this year’s Tour. Instead, the stage went to André Greipel of team Lotto-Belisol, one of Cavendish’s toughest rivals.
A final flat stage before we head into the mountains this weekend. Hopefully riders can use this opportunity to rest up before the GC attacks in the hills. However, it will be the last time for a while that the sprinters get an opportunity to win a stage (or even finish one!); we’ll see who wants it most in stage 7.
Who do you think will win the next stage? Sound off in the comments board below.