TDF 2013: Stage 6: Wind, Heat, Crashes Deliver Greipel into Montpellier

Montpellier, France–July 4, 2013–By Jen Benepe

German Andre Greipel took the win into Montpellier, France today, overcoming any contests from Mark Cavendish or Peter Sagan to the line.

Andre Greipel of Lotto Belisol wins stage 6 of the TDF 2013 into Montpellier (ASO)

Daryl Impey, teammate of Team Orica GreenEdge’s Simon Gerrans, will be the new race leader and holder of the Yellow Jersey.

Impey was ahead of Gerrans when the field split near the end of the stage.

It is the first time that a South African is leading the Tour. Receiving his new Yellow Jersey, Gerran’s teammate looked a little bit like he wasn’t sure where he was or what he should do.

Everyone might have thought it would be Mark Cavendish who would make it to the sprint finish line first today, because he was first over the line to Montpellier in 2011.  But it was not to be.

Yesterday Greipel noted that his lead out Greg Henderson wasn’t where he needed him to be: today he was.

Cavendish also crashed within 30 km of the finish, and struggled to get back. Then he lost a large part of his lead out team as they rounded the corners into Montpellier. As he freelanced his way through the sprint, the Cav’ just couldn’t beat the legs and team power of Andre Greipel.

You could not expect anything less from this stage than an attempt at a breakaway, followed by a mass sprint into Montpellier. This 176.5 km stage starting in Aix-les-Provence was perhaps the flattest in the 100th Tour de France.

Passing through the Baux de France, heat and wind would be the only factors likely to greatly affect the riders as they have in the past. In 2009 Contador got stuck behind a field split and lost valuable time due to crosswinds.

At least it gave something for the reporters to talk about. The word “wind” was mentioned over 10 times by announcers for NBC sports before the riders had even gotten to the halfway mark, or even been affected by wind.

Few of us who were around and watching the Tour in 2009 can forget the finish in La Grande Motte. That day the HTC team of Mark Cavendish put eight riders on the front before turning into a fierce crosswind. It split the bunch and only 27 riders made the front group.

Contador wouldn’t allow another split this year, as occurred in 2009 on the way to the Grand Motte. TDF 2013, Stage 6 (ASO)

Lance Armstrong went with the leaders, Contador was left behind with a number of other GC contenders, coming in 41 seconds behind.

That is a humiliation that the Spaniard did not forget, as he and his Saxo-Tinkoff team stayed as close to the front of the peloton as possible through today’s stage.

This is the problem with the Tour de France: it’s perhaps most exciting for the riders, and even on a day like today, when no one is really doing any racing until the end, maybe not even that exciting for the competitors until they get to the final 5 kilometers.

Still in addition to the wind, the heat is always a factor in the South of France, and was considered so great that Tour organizers announced early on that riders could fall back and take water bottles from the team support cars at any time.

Stage 6 at the 2013 TDF featured the beauty of the South of France (ASO)

The last time that a Tour de France stage finished outside the Yves du Manoir Stadium here was in 2011.  Cavendish won the bunch sprint at the end of  the stage that began in Limoux in his final season on the HTC-Highroad team. The last of the break riders to be caught that day was Niki Terpstra who is now a teammate of Cavendish at Omega Pharma-Quickstep.

That day Cavendish beat Tyler Farrar, Alessandro Petacchi and Daniel Oss. Of these four sprinters only the Manx Missile is still in the race.

That was the final year of the HTC-Highroad team that also had John Degenkolb on the roster. He is now one of the protected sprinters at the Argos-Shimano team and he’s making his Tour debut this year.

Other changes since the last gallop into Montpellier include the retirement of Petacchi, non-selection of Oss and Farrar for their teams and the arrival of Marcel Kittel and Alexander Kristoff and Matt Goss as protected sprinters for their respective teams.

Race Action: Wind and Heat Prevailed, Crashes Punctuated 

Luis Maté of the Cofidis team made an attempt at a break early on in the race, but no one joined him.

At the 19km mark, the peloton was 5’15” behind Maté, and after 40 km, he was caught by the peloton.

At the internmediate sprint Andre Greipel came in first winning 20 points, with Cavendish second (17 pts), followed by Kristoff (KAT) 15pts, Sagan (CAN) 13pts, Steegmans (OPQ) 11pts, and Flecha (VCD) 10pts.

A side wind DID start to blow from the East (from the left) at 40 km per hour. At one of the roundabouts, Joaquim Rodriguez went down

Team RadioShack’s Andy Schleck in the pack, stage 6, TDF 2013

but made it back into the race with minor injuries.

Suffering from stomach problems and injuries sustained in the crash in yesterday’s stage, Nacer Bouhanni, the sprinter for the Francais des Jeux team, was dropped by the peloton but continued to ride while hiding from the wind by sitting in behind team cars.

“He’s not going well,” team director,Thierry Bricaud told reporters.

With less than 100 km to go, Bouhanni was already 4 minutes behind, and soon gave up the race. That left 192 riders in the Tour after Jurgen van den Broeck and Maxime Bouet failed to start this morning.

Sylvain Chavanel came to the head of the peloton and pushed the pace: the peloton was flying at an average 50 km per hour, about 10 km per hour faster than the average speeds in the last third of stage 5.

Then Frederik Kesiakoff (AST) quit the Tour: the 60 km per hour “mistral” and the heat had combined already to push two riders off the peloton.

After 101 km of racing the riders rode in echelon style to buffet the sidewinds. The Garmin team sent a group of riders to the front; then the black and blue jerseys of Team Sky;  the white jerseys of Orica GreenEdge, the red and black of BMC; the white of Omega Pharma-Quickstep; and the blue and yellow of Saxo-Tinkoff.

Then Cavendish crashed a little more than 30 km to the finish, and he struggled to get back to the peloton: he was 37 seconds back.

Teammate Peter Velits paced Cavendish up the right-hand side of the peloton at the time that Saxo-Tinkoff took command of the head of the peloton.

Then Astana rider Janez Brajkovič crashed out, and he will likely be leaving the Tour because he has missed the time marks.

As they got closer to the final, Team Lotto-Belisol was at the front, trying to lead out Andre Greipel: Sagan was locked onto Greipel’s wheel, and Cavendish was locked onto Sagan’s wheel. But it was too late for the Manx Missile.

More beautiful countryside, TDF 2013, Stage 6 (ASO)

Greipel had the advantage of the lead out train and was able to make it first across the line.

Other news of the day started when Jurgen van den Broeck quit the Tour.   Maxime Bouet (ALM) also did not start.

Belgian van den Broeck was fourth overall in both the 2010 and the 2012 Tours de France. He crashed inside the final kilometer of the stage to Marseille yesterday and his knee is giving him significant pain, according to the Amaury Sports Organization.

Bouet has a fractured wrist which he sustained in the same crash yesterday.

It is the second time in three years that van den Broeck has been forced out of the race because of a crash.

In stage nine of the Tour in 2011, he crashed in the same incident that claimed Alexandre Vinokourov – on a sweeping left turn on the descent of the Puy Mary at the 102km mark.

Overall individual time classification

Total distance covered: 944.5 KM

1. RSAIMPEY Daryl 185 ORICA GREENEDGE 22h 18′ 17”
2. NORBOASSON HAGEN Edvald 2 SKY PROCYCLING 22h 18′ 20” + 00′ 03”
3. AUSGERRANS Simon 181 ORICA GREENEDGE 22h 18′ 22” + 00′ 05”
4. SUIALBASINI Michael 182 ORICA GREENEDGE 22h 18′ 22” + 00′ 05”
5. POLKWIATKOWSKI Michal 153 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 22h 18′ 23” + 00′ 06”
6. FRACHAVANEL Sylvain 152 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 22h 18′ 23” + 00′ 06”
7. GBRFROOME Christopher 1 SKY PROCYCLING 22h 18′ 25” + 00′ 08”
8. AUSPORTE Richie 6 SKY PROCYCLING 22h 18′ 25” + 00′ 08”
9. IRLROCHE Nicolas 97 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 22h 18′ 31” + 00′ 14”
10. CZEKREUZIGER Roman 94 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 22h 18′ 31” + 00′ 14”
11. ESPCONTADOR Alberto 91 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 22h 18′ 31” + 00′ 14”
12. AUSROGERS Michael 98 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 22h 18′ 31” + 00′ 14”
13. USATALANSKY Andrew 178 GARMIN – SHARP 22h 18′ 39” + 00′ 22”
14. CANHESJEDAL Ryder 171 GARMIN – SHARP 22h 18′ 39” + 00′ 22”
15. AUSHANSEN Adam 25 LOTTO-BELISOL 22h 18′ 39” + 00′ 22”
16. IRLMARTIN Daniel 175 GARMIN – SHARP 22h 18′ 39” + 00′ 22”
17. USADANIELSON Thomas 173 GARMIN – SHARP 22h 18′ 39” + 00′ 22”
18. ESPVALVERDE Alejandro 121 MOVISTAR TEAM 22h 18′ 42” + 00′ 25”
19. PORCOSTA Rui Alberto 124 MOVISTAR TEAM 22h 18′ 42” + 00′ 25”
20. COLQUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander 128 MOVISTAR TEAM 22h 18′ 42” + 00′ 25”
21. CRCAMADOR Andrey 122 MOVISTAR TEAM 22h 18′ 42” + 00′ 25”
22. AUSEVANS Cadel 31 BMC RACING TEAM 22h 18′ 48” + 00′ 31”
23. BELGILBERT Philippe 34 BMC RACING TEAM 22h 18′ 48” + 00′ 31”
24. USAVAN GARDEREN Tejay 39 BMC RACING TEAM 22h 18′ 48” + 00′ 31”
25. FRAMOINARD Amaël 35 BMC RACING TEAM 22h 18′ 48” + 00′ 31”
26. BELBAKELANTS Jan 42 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 22h 18′ 50” + 00′ 33”
27. RUSVORGANOV Eduard 109 KATUSHA TEAM 22h 18′ 50” + 00′ 33”
28. ESPRODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin 101 KATUSHA TEAM 22h 18′ 50” + 00′ 33”
29. ESPFLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio 204 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 22h 18′ 50” + 00′ 33”
30. ESPMORENO FERNANDEZ Daniel 106 KATUSHA TEAM 22h 18′ 50” + 00′ 33”
31. SVKSAGAN Peter 11 CANNONDALE 22h 18′ 51” + 00′ 34”
32. BELMONFORT Maxime 47 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 22h 18′ 51” + 00′ 34”
33. LUXSCHLECK Andy 41 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 22h 18′ 51” + 00′ 34”
34. ESPZUBELDIA Haimar 49 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 22h 18′ 51” + 00′ 34”
35. GERKLÖDEN Andreas 46 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 22h 18′ 51” + 00′ 34”
36. NEDPOELS Wouter 201 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 22h 18′ 55” + 00′ 38”
37. NEDMOLLEMA Bauke 164 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 22h 18′ 59” + 00′ 42”
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