09 July 2015

Stage 6 TDF: Gorgeous scenery, crashes and surprise

Well done Zdenek Stybar!

"Don't feel bad for me, enjoy the moment," a fractured Tony Martin instructed Zdenek Stybar after today's Stage 6. We are all feeling good for Zdenek Stybar because he just won a stage in his first ever Tour de France. Way to go! Although we should feel bad for his team Etixx-Quickstep because they will be facing Sunday's team time trial without one of the best time trial specialists in this race, and the best on their team.

Tony Martin's low speed escort to the line. So sad to bid farewell to a gracious leader. Photo via Twitter
It took well-known cyclocross racer Zdenek Stybar 6 days to win a stage at his first Tour de France

The surprising crash that happened inside the 3km marker meant riders in the maillot jaune group at 3km to go were credited with the same time as 2nd place in the stage (2 sec back). The crash was actually at 1 kilometer to the line on the hill when the pack was traveling 28.19km/h. Slow falls hurt.

Tony Martin (Etixx) suffered a compound broken clavicle. Chris Froome (graze to knee), Vincenzo Nibali (hurt his leg and shoulder), Nairo Quintana (hurt is elbow) and Tejay van Garderen were also involved in the crash. Cycling News reported, "That is two yellow jerseys out of the Tour. It's the first time its happened in 102nd editions of the Tour de France." Tony Martin is the 15th rider to abandon while wearing the yellow jersey in Tour de France history. But didn't he wear it well.

Dreams come true

Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot [tɐklɐhajmanot] is the 1st African to wear the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour de France and the first black African to start the Tour de France.  "...That was my childhood dream to get the polka dot jersey at the Tour de France. ... After I scored two points, I was nervous that I wouldn't take one more, otherwise I would be left with nothing," said Daniel Teklehaimanot. Daniel has been a pro since 2008 but had heart surgery in 2009 for tachycardia, he rode as a stagiaire with Cervelo-Test Team in 2010, participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics in cycling, and rode for Orica-GreenEdge during the 2012-2013 season before joining MTN-Qhubeka in 2014. He is a big deal in Africa.

Daniel Teklehaimanot.  Photo Doug Pensinger via CNN Sport Twitter
It's not easy

I am going to stop expecting Peter Sagan to win a stage so he can win a stage. "I lost today because everyone told me that I would win! But it's not easy to win a stage at the Tour de France." `~ Peter Sagan.

Tracking the riders

No those are not butt guards on the back of the rider's saddles, they are transponder tracking devices measuring speed and beaming location. Read more about the Dimension Data GPS transponders in a report from Bike Radar: Big data comes to the Tour de France, Live GPS tracking and analysis for all riders, plus GoPro cameras on certain bikes, By Ben Delaney. For data freaks - you will enjoy following along at @letourdata.

Dimensions Data transmitting the Tour de France. Photo from Cycling Tips TDF Tech

Mellow day of spectacular scenery

Before the big crash at the end of the stage, the day had been pretty mellow. It was the kind of day one wished to be up in the helicopter with the cameramen, or on a sailboat at sea. The coastal scenery was gorgeous, the towns and gentle climbs spectacular. We were treated to clear views down the Alabaster coast (Côte d'Albâtre).

Today's stage made me remember that it is far preferred to see a stage of the Tour de France in a smaller town with festive activity, or ride to a beautiful location, and see the peloton pass by than it is to attempt to see a crowded finish where VIP fences block out access or riders are quickly whisked away. I say, relax and enjoy the beauty that is France.

Les falaises d'Etretat
We have reached northern Normandy: tourism, beaches, World War II D-Day landings, and the English Channel.

A map of D-Day. La Havre sits in the middle of all the action. La Havre is a major port in France (second only to Marseille). The city of La Havre was rebuilt after the war by Auguste Perret, “the poet of reinforced concrete”.

Little Facts
  • Chris Froome is now leader of General Classification but will not appear in the yellow jersey at the opening of tomorrow's stage. This makes sense since Tony was awarded the jersey the evening before. Froome will need to earn it. 
  • The peloton rode for a period of 4:53:46 today at an average speed of 39.113 km/h (24.30 mph).
  • Phil Liggett's quote of the day: "I don't drink alcohol, I only drink grapes and hops."
Elation, heartbreak - it was Stage 6 of the 2015 Tour de France

Results Stage 6

Stage Win
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step4:53:46
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:02
3Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar

Classification after Stage 6
1Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step22:13:14
2Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:00:12
3Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:25
4Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:27
5Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:00:38
6Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:40
7Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:46
8Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:48
9Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:04
10Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:01:15
  • Yellow Jersey: Tony Martin    ... [Chris Froome]
  • Green Jersey: André Greipel
  • Polka-dot Jersey: Daniel Teklehaimanot
  • White Jersey: Peter Sagan
  • Combative: Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team Europcar
  • Best Team: BMC
  • Lanterne Rouge: Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
  • 188 riders started the stage (of 198)

Stage 7 Preview

At a distance of 190.5, with only one Category 4 climb on route but plenty of ups and downs, the finish is a slight downhill on the rocade around the city of FOUGÈRES. Caravan arrival is expected at 15h35 (that's important to most). This is the land of fromages, cattle and cider. You can bet we'll see more chateaus and castles. Now that we have seen crashes on cobbles, across rain, and up a hill, I plan to close my eyes for the last 10km of tomorrow's stage. No more crashing!

Who will win? It'll be about team work tomorrow, catching the break and a last minute gutsy push down the final climb with a break to the line. Okay, it's another Greg Van Avermaet kind of day, but I'm hoping a break will stick although the peloton will be roaring to the line once again.

Tejay Van Garderen is sitting 13" behind Chris Froome. Daniel Teklehaimanot will have to go for his KOM point very early in the stage, then he can relax. Peter Sagan could likely be wearing the White and the Green jersey after Stage 7.

Stage 7 route map

Stage 7 TDF Stage Map
Stage 7 route profile

Stage 7 TDF Stage Profile

Estimated finish time of Stage 7 on Friday, July 10th: 17:22 CET (7:22 AM EDT, 9:22 AM MDT)

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