TDF Stage 6: The Longest Ride, A New Winner

At the beginning of today’s longest 226.5 km stage from Dinan to Lisieux everyone was guessing Mark Cavendish would win.

That’s because last year’s longest stage in the Tour, 227.5 km from Montargis to Gueugnon, was won by the Manxman.

But on the rain streaked, uphill finish and with a lead out from his Team Sky teammate Geraint Thomas, Edvald Boasson Hagen managed to hold off some of the fastest sprinters in the world over 800 meters to the finish line.

It was the first stage win in the Tour de France for the 24-year-old Norwegian.

“I felt really good today and I’m so pleased to win the sprint,” said Boasson Hagen after the stage.

“Geraint Thomas did a great lead out and it’s just fantastic it’s all worked out.,” he added. “To get my first stage at the Tour de France is so special.”

Norwegian fans will be partying it up in the towns of Normandy tonight because Thor Hushovd came in third in the stage, and still wears the Yellow Jersey.

Cadel Evans still holds the second position overall, with Frank Schleck third in the General Classification.

Matt Goss (AUS) of HTC Highroads was second in the stage sprint, while his teammate Cavendish was dropped in this grueling, over-140 mile stage that had riders stuck in their wet saddles for over five hours.



Things looked promising for Cavendish at the 131 km mark, today’s intermediate sprint point at Vassay when he won handily and apparently without penalty points. A team set up with two other HTC Highroad members gave him a clean lead out to beat Phillipe Gilbert and Joaquin Rojas to the line.

But somewhere in the race the battery of the fastest man on earth wound down, and he could not finish the stage with the pack.

The disappointment was also to be had for Matt Goss who wrote on his Twitter less than an hour later, “NEARLY! Not often u wish for 10 more meters in a bike race!”

It was a spectacular coup for Boasson Hagen who managed to eclipse some of the best sprinters in the tour so far, including Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) MOV and Philippe Gilbert (BEL) OLO. Gilbert was also considered one of the favorites for a win today.

As the riders entered the 2 km to the finish Vanendert attacked and was chased down by Thomas Voeckler. They were ahead by 100 meters, but were soon followed quickly by David Millar, Cadel Evans and Phillipe Gilbert.

Then Alexandre Vinokourov gained on Millar’s right, but he was caught by Mollema who established a gap but not enough to hold off the steam roller of sprinter legs behind him: Geraint Thomas accelerated quickly past him with Edvald Boasson Hagen on his wheel, who stayed in front to the finish and won the stage.

Tyler Farrar said at the beginning of the day that he didn’t have the legs for a sprint at today’s finish, and would leave it to his Garmin Cervelo teammate Hushovd.

On a day that alternated between rain and sun, Levi Leipheimer of Team RadioShack lost more than one minute when he crashed on slick wet pavement and hit a road guard.  The time loss means that Leipheimer is out of the top 20, slipping to 31st position, one minute and 23 seconds behind the leader.

A Bad Day for All, Including a Bjarne Riis Bike Toss

It must have been a difficult day for many riders. David Zabriskie of Team Garmin Cervelo wrote on Twitter after the race, “One time while self administering a colonic I think I saw Jesus…that is how I feel right now at this very moment…”

It’s hard for the normal Joe or Joette to understand just how difficult riding the Tour must be, but when champions like Zabriskie complain, or like Cavendish fall behind, it’s gotta be bad.

Alberto Contador also had problems today when a mechanical problem had him looking for a new bicycle, but he didn’t lose much time.

Robert Gesink also appeared to have a temper tantrum on the side of the road, throwing his bike and looking for a replacement in the second half of the stage.

It was almost a Bjarne Riis moment–harking back to the 1997 Tour when then on and off Yellow Jersey rider threw his bike in a tantrum along the side of the road. (Riis is now team manager of Alberto Contador’s SaxoBank-Sungard team.)

The stage featured three climbs: a category 3 climb at Cote de Saint-Michel-de-Montjoie (at 99.5km), another category 3 at Cote du Bourg-d’Oilly (at 156.5km), and a category 4 at Cote du Billot (at 197km). The intermediate sprint was in Vassy at 131km. Those climbs may have taken the strength out of many sprint riders’ legs.

Because of its length, this stage was also a good opportunity for a breakaway: And indeed, an early break at 5 km from the start was established by Anthony Roux (FRA) FDJ, Leonardo Duque (COL) COF, Johnny Hoogerland (NED) VCD,  Adriano Malori (ITA) LAM and Lieuwe Westra (NED) VCD .

A chase group formed behind them consisting of Jerome Pineau (QST) and Izagirre (EUS). If you recall, Pineau had a long break in last year’s Tour as well.

The breakaway riders were the first through the intermediate sprint point, with Roux (FDJ) gaining 20pts, Duque (COF) 17 points, Westra (VCD) 15 points, Malori (LAM) 13 points, and Hoogerland (VCD) 11 points.

Coming in to the intermediate sprint, the first rider in the peloton was Cavendish (THR) who gained 10 points with Rojas (MOV) second gaining 9 points, and Farrar (GRM) third gaining 8 points. Renshaw (THR), Gilbert (OLO), Petacchi (LAM), Delage (FDJ), Ventoso (MOV), Eisel (THR) and Moinard (BMC) also got points.

With 40 km to go, there were still two leaders including Malori (LAM) in a break and they were ahead of the peloton by more than 4 minutes, with a chase group a little more than a minute behind them.

Malori (LAM) soon was out in front by himself, and he was 35 seconds ahead of the peloton at 15 km to go. At the final five km, the peloton had him in their sights, with only a 12 second advantage for the break rider.

Because of his aggressive riding, Malori will get a red dossard for the seventh stage “and a few kisses from the podium girls,” according to ASO.

Ivan Velasco (EUS) did not start today, as he has quit the Tour because of a broken collarbone sustained in a crash.

 

OVERALL STANDINGS AT THE END OF STAGE 6 : Source: ASO

1. HUSHOVD Thor 51 TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO 22h 50′ 34″
2. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 22h 50′ 35″ + 00′ 01″
3. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 22h 50′ 38″ + 00′ 04″
4. MILLAR David 56 TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO 22h 50′ 42″ + 00′ 08″
5. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 22h 50′ 44″ + 00′ 10″
6. WIGGINS Bradley 111 SKY PROCYCLING 22h 50′ 44″ + 00′ 10″
7. THOMAS Geraint 117 SKY PROCYCLING 22h 50′ 46″ + 00′ 12″
8. HAGEN Edvald Boasson 114 SKY PROCYCLING 22h 50′ 46″ + 00′ 12″
9. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 22h 50′ 46″ + 00′ 12″
10. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 22h 50′ 46″ + 00′ 12″
11. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC – HIGHROAD 22h 50′ 47″ + 00′ 13″
12. VELITS Peter 179 HTC – HIGHROAD 22h 50′ 47″ + 00′ 13″
13. HORNER Christopher 72 TEAM RADIOSHACK 22h 50′ 52″ + 00′ 18″
14. GESINK Robert 41 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 22h 50′ 54″ + 00′ 20″
15. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 61 PRO TEAM ASTANA 22h 51′ 06″ + 00′ 32″
16. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 22h 51′ 07″ + 00′ 33″
17. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 31 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 22h 51′ 13″ + 00′ 39″
18. BARREDO Carlos 42 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 22h 51′ 14″ + 00′ 40″
19. GAUTIER Cyril 183 TEAM EUROPCAR 22h 51′ 32″ + 00′ 58″
20. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 22h 51′ 37″ + 01′ 03″
21. DE WEERT Kevin 124 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 22h 51′ 38″ + 01′ 04″
22. GERDEMANN Linus 14 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 22h 51′ 40″ + 01′ 06″
23. ROCHE Nicolas 101 AG2R LA MONDIALE 22h 51′ 46″ + 01′ 12″
24. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE – ISD 22h 51′ 46″ + 01′ 12″
25. SILIN Egor 198 KATUSHA TEAM 22h 51′ 46″ + 01′ 12″
26. ROJAS Jose Joaquin 88 MOVISTAR TEAM 22h 51′ 49″ + 01′ 15″
27. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 22h 51′ 49″ + 01′ 15″
28. URAN Rigoberto 118 SKY PROCYCLING 22h 51′ 52″ + 01′ 18″
29. PINEAU Jérôme 127 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 22h 51′ 55″ + 01′ 21″
30. HESJEDAL Ryder 55 TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO 22h 51′ 56″ + 01′ 22″
31. LEIPHEIMER Levi 75 TEAM RADIOSHACK 22h 51′ 57″ + 01′ 23″
32. KARPETS Vladimir 191 KATUSHA TEAM 22h 52′ 03″ + 01′ 29″
33. MOLLEMA Bauke 45 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 22h 52′ 08″ + 01′ 34″

 

STAGE STANDING AT THE END OF STAGE 6

1. HAGEN Edvald Boasson 114 SKY PROCYCLING 5h 13′ 37″
2. GOSS Matthew Harley 174 HTC – HIGHROAD 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
3. HUSHOVD Thor 51 TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
4. FEILLU Romain 201 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
5. ROJAS Jose Joaquin 88 MOVISTAR TEAM 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
6. VICHOT Arthur 139 FDJ 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
7. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
8. CIOLEK Gerald 123 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
9. MARCATO Marco 206 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
10. JEANNESSON Arnold 134 FDJ 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
11. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
12. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
13. EL FARES Julien 155 COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
14. HINAULT Sébastien 105 AG2R LA MONDIALE 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
15. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
16. THOMAS Geraint 117 SKY PROCYCLING 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
17. BOZIC Borut 202 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
18. DUMOULIN Samuel 153 COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
19. GAUTIER Cyril 183 TEAM EUROPCAR 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
20. GERDEMANN Linus 14 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
21. ROCHE Nicolas 101 AG2R LA MONDIALE 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
22. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 61 PRO TEAM ASTANA 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
23. RUIJGH Rob 208 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
24. MARTINEZ Egoi 23 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
25. BOUET Maxime 102 AG2R LA MONDIALE 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
26. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC – HIGHROAD 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
27. HORNER Christopher 72 TEAM RADIOSHACK 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
28. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
29. PERAUD Jean-Christophe 108 AG2R LA MONDIALE 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
30. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 31 OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
31. BOLE Grega 163 LAMPRE – ISD 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
32. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″
33. DANIELSON Tom 52 TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO 5h 13′ 37″ + 00′ 00″