Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo) has scored his first ever professional win in a very wet and dramatic finish of the sixth stage of the Tour de France. As the peloton raced into Nancy, intent on catching lone breakaway Christophe Mengin (Francaise des Jeux), Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile) set off to bridge the gap alone just before the final kilometre, taking Bernucci with him. The pair caught Mengin, who then slid out into a barrier on the final corner, almost taking Vinokourov with him, and then the front part of the peloton with most of the sprinters. Bernucci avoided the disaster and went on to win the stage, with Vino recovering well to take second, effectively gaining 16 seconds on Lance Armstrong in the general classification.
It was doubly tragic for Mengin, who is from the area and had ridden a great race to stay away from the bunch for so long. He had attacked after 24 km and was joined by Mauro Gerosa (Liquigas), Karsten Kroon (Rabobank), Jaan Kirsipuu (Credit Agricole), and Stéphane Augé (Cofidis) after 47 km. The group rode out to a maximum lead of 8'15 at halfway, before Quick.Step and Davitamon-Lotto combined to chase them down. On the Cote de Maron with 14 km to go, Mengin rode away from his breakaway companions and held a diminishing gap right until the final kilometres, when he was caught by Vinokourov and Bernucci and then ended his day in the barriers with a big black eye.
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