Early morning thunder storms greeted the riders in France, but the inclement weather moved clear as the peloton readied to depart Montargis for the Tour's sixth stage, the 227.5km journey to Gueugnon. Today will likely be a day for the sprinters who are looking for another chance to shine prior to the weekend's entry into the Alps, decidedly un-friendly terrain to the Tour's fast men.
After a rocky start to the Tour, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) won for the first time at the Tour yesterday, out-sprinting Gerald Ciolek (Milram) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) for stage honours in Montargis. While the Manxman is well behind the eight ball regarding his green jersey aspirations, Cavendish and his lead-out train should once again be back in action today, trying to make it two-in-a-row.
The Tour's green jersey holder, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam), as well as double stage winner Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) will have something to say about that, however, so expect another spirited finale to the longest day on the road at the 2010 Tour.
The teams of the sprinter will have to be vigilant as there's a category 4 climb, Côte de la Croix de l'Arbre, 23km from the finish which may provide an opportunity for those with breakaway aspirations.
It's a day to keep the powder dry for the GC contenders, and maillot jaune Fabian Cancellara should expect to add another yellow jersey to his collection.
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