If something seems too good to be true, then it usually is, especially at this Tour de France. Stage 6 from Abbeville to Le Havre had been the calmest of the race so far for the overall contenders, with the peloton enjoying mercifully still conditions as it hugged the Norman coast, but a late crash saw stress levels return to normal by day’s end.
Yellow jersey Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) was the first rider to fall in the incident that took place with 600 metres remaining and though he crossed the finish line, he abandoned the race on Thursday evening due to a broken collarbone. The knock-on effect from his crash saw Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) hit the ground in turn, though none reported serious injury.
The initial crash took place directly in front of Quintana and van Garderen, and neither could avoid riding into the back of it. Both men remounted quickly, however, and soft-pedalled across the line, safe in the knowledge that they would be awarded the same time as the main peloton.
“I went down in the fall, I was about three places back and I got caught up in it,” Quintana said. “I have some superficial blows but I hope tomorrow that my elbow is ok. I feel good and I hope that it’s nothing. Right now in the heat of the moment, I don’t notice anything wrong but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to be sure.”