Friday 6 July 2012

Tour de France 2012: Stage 6 Épernay to Metz

So yesterday there was another crash inside the 3km banner. This time is was Tyler Farrar (GAR) who brought down several other riders including the leader in the points classification Peter Sagan (LIQ). The peleton had yet to capture all of the 4 man breakaway at this point who had left something in reserve for the final km and had made the capture difficult.

Difficult though not impossible, especially with the Sky train working to keep Bradley Wiggins safe on one side of the road, the BMC train on the other working for the same purpose for Cadel Evans plus other chains such as Lampré, Argos and Orica-Greenedge all working to bring it back for their sprinters.

 The crash meant that Sagan missed out to all his main rivals André Greiple (GER) took his second stage in a row, Matt Goss (OGE)  took another second, Juan José Haedo (ARG) third and after his lead out train leaving him with just Edvald Boasson Hagen over 1km from the finish and in second Mark Cavendish did salvage 4th having returned back to the front after slipping back down. It was Cavenndish who had taken most points available at the intermediate once again, from Mr Second Goss, Mark Renshaw (RAB) and Sagan. Overall the Green Jersey contest (the only one to change yesterday looks like this:
  • Peter Sagan 155pts
  • Matt Goss 137
  • André Greipel 132
  • Mark Cavendish 119
  • Allesandro Pettacchi LAM 91
With another supposed sprinters stage today at the end of 207.5km of racing and the 45 points on offer plus whatever they can salvage in intermediate expect the sprinter to be scrapping it out again.

First up for them is the intermediate sprint at Saint-Mihiel 135km into the stage. We've seen already that it seems hard to beat Cavendish to these, he may only pick up a signle point advantage over his nearest rivals but with Goss and Renshaw taking the two places behind him and possibly others it means that Sagan will lose a few points here once again.

We do have one climb today just 10km after the sprint at Côte de Buxières so the signle point will go to whichever member of the breakaway wants it. But it is only 2.2 km long with a gradient of 3.8% so it is only a category four. After resting a day will King of the Mountains Michael Morkov (STB) find himself out in front again? With just a single point on offer I would doubt it.

That leaves us with the final km and as we have seen already it isn't just on the corners that crashes can happen. With so many teams looking to get their man the win either to help in the green jersey of to take that illusive first stage win wheels may collide. One sprinter who will take no further part in this tour is Marcel Kittel of Argos who was was at or off the back for most of the Tour so far, so for whatever reason he was struggling. He withdrew yesterday bringing the number of riders left down to 194.

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