By Brecht Decaluwé in Autun
The stage from the small town of Chablis through the Bourgogne wine region towards the bi-millennial city Autun caused many casualties in the peloton. There was the young climbing talent Rémy Di Gregorio who didn't start after yesterday's crash. The Française Des Jeux rider told Cyclingnews yesterday, "if tomorrow brings the same pain like today there's no way I can continue." There was no way the Marseille-born rider could continue as a medical check-up at the hospital revealed a broken elbow for the poor 21 year-old. Di Gregorio will be sad to realize that he can't ride the stage to his hometown on July 18.
Milram's Australian rider Brett Lancaster, who crashed in the prologue and wasn't spared from bad luck in the following days abandoned. His hurt on his right side, especially his upper leg and abandoned today.
The medical report after stage five revealed minor sores like a headache for Anthony Charteau, an insect bite for his team-mate and yesterday's star lead-out man Julian Dean. Former Spanish champion Juan Manuel Garate received treatment for backaches, and after 83 kilometres there was a crash caused by Belgian Leif Hoste. "I was the first to crash in a corner, it was my fault. It hurts everywhere," a suffering Hoste said to Cyclingnews in Autun. Also afflicted by that crash were his team-mate Johan Vansummeren and Iban Mayo, but all three riders are reported to have only several bruises and superficial wounds.
Andreas Klöden crashed after 108km and was hurt near his hip and received further treatment in Autun hospital. He did manage to finish in the first group.
Brave Geoffrey Lequatre earned the sympathy of all of the French press, and indeed the viewing world, as he arrived 44'04" after the finish. Having crashed dramatically in the feed zone, he was dripping with blood and covered with wounds on his right knee, elbow and both hands. Just like Klöden his was brought over to Autun hospital to suture his wounds and to undergo further investigation.
GC-contender Alexandre Vinokourov crashed after 158km in the descent of the Haut-Folin, and after his pursuit towards Autun - where he finished 1'20" down on the leaders - he was brought over to Dijon hospital to receive treatment on his right knee. He was covered with scrapes on his right hip and backside and had blood dripping from his knees when he passed the finish line in Autun.
On the descent of the ultimate climb with no more than eight kilometres to go, Benjamin Noval Gonzalez had an unfortunate run in with the team car of Bouygues Telecom. He managed to reach the finish line where he immediately received treatment in an ambulance. "Noval was distanced by the group of Vinokourov when he crashed into the back window of Bouygues' team car," said Discovery Channel's directeur sportif Dirk Demol. "It doesn't look good for him. The glass has caused a deep cut in his armpit, it has cut through his veins and muscle."