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Tour de France 2016: Stage 6


Welcome to live coverage of stage six of the Tour de France. We're just 40 minutes away from the neutral start. The teams have arrived and the riders are beginning to make their way to the sign on podium. 

After yesterday's thrilling finish in Le Lioran, there has been a big shake up in the general classification. Greg Van Avermaet is in yellow today with a 5:11 lead over Julian Alaphilippe. This is how the overall classification look this morning.


1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 25:34:46
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:05:11
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:13
4 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:05:14
5 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:05:17
6 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
7 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac
10 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step


You can catch up on yesterday's action here with our race report, results and stage highlights.


Looking forward to today, after taking a backseat yesterday the sprinters should get an opportunity to fight for victory today. With three smaller climbs to tackle before a flat run to the line.


Five stages. 1048km. The farthest the Tour de France has ever gone with no riders abandoning.

@irishpeloton Thu, 7th Jul 2016 10:18:22

Greg Van Avermaet has been showing off his new yellow jersey as he talks to the press this morning about his stage win yesterday and taking hold of that fabled leader's jersey.


"In my mind, I was still in with a chance for yellow because I was close in the GC after the first stages," he said. "I still had a chance. I knew that it would be hard to catch the break back, because it was also hard on the second day so I took my chance and I had good legs. It was a wonderful day yesterday."


How long can you keep it: "Today for sure and maybe tomorrow but first of all I want to recover from yesterday. It was a very hard day yesterday and I put in a lot of effort and it took some energy away for sure. We will see how it goes on Friday. I will try to survive."


What about today's stage: "I think it is a good stage if it’s not raining then it shouldn’t be too hectic. I was talking to Rohan Dennis who took the yellow and then had this stage with the rain and the wind. I think that it should be different today so I should have time to enjoy it and I will try to do it."


Thomas de Gendt also got himself a jersey yesterday, the polka dot jersey, after getting into yesterday's breakaway. Here he is at today's start sporting a new polka dot bike.



De Gendt is just two points ahead of Van Avermaet in the mountains classification, so will we see him attempt the break today? 


1 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 13 pts
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 11
3 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 5
4 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 5
5 Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 18 2
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 2
7 Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept 1
8 Vegard Breen (Nor) Fortuneo - Vital Concept 1
9 Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 1
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff Team 1


As well as action from stage 6 of the Tour de France the women's peloton is duking it out in stage 6 of the Giro Rosa. Two-time former champion Mara Abbott is in pink as a fast and furious start sees the peloton split in two. 


With a sprint likely at the finish today, control of the green points jersey is up for grabs. Peter Sagan is currently in the maillot vert but it's close at the top as it stands this morning.


1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 150 pts
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 146
3 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step 142
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie 89
5 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 87
6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 67
7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 56
8 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 50
9 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 48
10 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 45


The peloton has passed through KM 0 and we've got racing. Yet again, all 198 riders have signed on for this 190.5km stage.


186km remaining from 190km

The stage has started with a small rise and, for now, the peloton is grouped together.


Quiet start. Blue sky. Vive @LeTour #TDF2016

@sebpiquet Thu, 7th Jul 2016 10:57:33

We've got our first attack, Jan Barta and Yukia Arashiro have gone up the road and have a gap of 1:15. No initial response from the peloton. 


179km remaining from 190km

It appears that the peloton has decided not to chase this two-man break down and they now hold an advantage of 2:50.


Bora-Argon 18 has been very active in this Tour de France. Barta has already been in a breakaway this week and his teammate Bartoz Huzarski was part of the nine-man move that escaped yesterday, while Paul Voss spent a stint in the polka dot jersey after getting into the break on stage 1. 


The gap is growing quickly and now stands at 4:25 as the peloton settles in for the day. 


Today's finish town Montauban is making its second appearance as stage finish. Jacky Durand won there when it last featured in 1998, beating Andrea Tafi to the line. Durand was part of a six-man break that got away after 74 kilometres. Re-live that stage here in our extensive archive.


Lampre-Merida has been much less active in the breakaways than Bora-Argon 18 this year. This is the first time that they've braved the wind and made it into the break. Their main rider Louis Meintjes is currently in 19th position at 5:28 down on Van Avermaet. 


159km remaining from 190km

The leaders are onto a small descent after a lumpy start to the stage. They'll have a flat run from the bottom to the foot of the first climb, the third category Col des Estaques. The gap has come down a touch to 3:55.


UKAD hands three-and-half-year ban to teenager Gabriel Evans for EPO use

@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 7th Jul 2016 11:39:55

Van Avermaet is well protected by his BMC teammates in the peloton. His victory yesterday not only put him into yellow but given him a big boost ahead of the Olympic Games. Van Avermaet has still yet to receive confirmation on whether or not he will go to Rio.


"I have a good chance to go to the Olympics," Van Avermaet told reporters before the stage start. "It was a good stage for me yesterday, it was hard and maybe the Olympic will be even harder. I’m a Classics rider and as a Classics rider you are able to go all in on one day and that is what I was able to do yesterday. The Olympics will be the same. I know that I can fight pretty well and hopefully I’ll be able to do something there.


"The Olympics are something special for every athlete and for me it is the same. To be there as an athlete is already something special. Aiming for the podium would be something nice there but we will see, first I will enjoy this and then I will think about that afterwards."


146km remaining from 190km

BMC is getting a lot of help from the sprinters' teams this afternoon. Dimension Data, Etixx-QuickStep and Lotto-Soudal are all working to manage the gap. After an hour of racing, the average speed of racing has been 40.5kph.


The gap between the escapees and the peloton continues to hover around the 4-minute mark as it has done for much of the stage. The peloton has this well under control at the moment. 


Tony Martin may be rumoured to leave the Etixx-QuickStep team at the end of this season but he has played a key part of the team's performance at the Tour de France and throughout the seasons. Our own Josh Evans got up close and personal with the German's Specialized S-Works Tarmac. Take a look at Martin's steed here.


Both of our escapees are experienced hands in the peloton. Jan Barta turned professional with the Austrian ELK Haus-Simplon Pro Continental squad in 2006. He spent the next few seasons back down at continental level before joining NetApp in 2010 and followed them up to Pro Continental level when they stepped up the following season. 


Barta has won the Czech TT title on four occassions but was beaten to the title by former teammate Leopold Konig last month. This is Barta's third Tour de France in 2014. 


Yukiya Arashiro made his professional debut with Bbox Bouygues Telecom at the 2009 Tour de Langkawi. He spent the next six seasons with them until he signed for Lampre-Merida this winter. Arashiro made his Tour de France debut in 2009. While he wasn't the first Japanese rider to take the start, he was the first to complete the three-week Grand Tour. By completing the 2015 Vuelta a Espana, he became the first Japanese rider to finish all three Grand Tours. 


This year is his sixth time at the Tour de France. 


A statistic courtesy of the organisers ASO. Greg Van Avermaet currently holds the yellow jersey by a lead of 5:11. The last time that a rider had a lead of more than five minutes after stage 5 was in 1949. That rider was Jacques Marinelli and he had a lead of 14:58. 


126km remaining from 190km

The leaders have completed the first climb of the day and their lead has gone up to 4:37. Barta led the pair over the crest to earn himself two points. 


While he was in the break on stage 1, Barta didn't pick up any mountains points and with only five available during today's stage he is not a threat to Thomas de Gendt's lead. 


Meanwhile, there seems to be a storm brewing in the Tinkoff camp. While Alberto Contador struggles with injuries following two crashes in the opening two days, Roman Kreuziger reportedly broke ranks during yesterday's stage and failed to wait for his struggling team leader. The Russian squad, which is set to close at the end of this season, has also had problems with their team bus. Read the full extent of their issues here


119km remaining from 190km

With all of that in mind, this coming weekend will be very important for the Tinkoff team. Contador lost yet more time on yesterday's stage and sits over six minutes down in the general classification, over a minute behind most of the main GC riders. With Majka losing a lot of time earlier on in the week, his performance yesterday made only a small dent in his deficit, meaning that Kreuziger is actually their best placed rider in the GC. What will the team do if Contador continues to lose time as they enter the Pyrenees?


The two leaders have extended their advantage. with 116km to go they have 5:08 on the peloton. 


We are currently about ten minutes slower than the slowest schedule. Finish around 17.20-17.35 #TDF

@TourDeJose Thu, 7th Jul 2016 12:53:14

113km remaining from 190km

There are representatives from most of the key teams near the front. Daniel Teklehaimanot is up front for Dimension Data and Julian Vermote is in his usual position for Etixx-QuickStep. BMC, Astana and Tinkoff all have at least one rider there too. The peloton is spread across the road, showing that there is not much urgency in the bunch at the moment. 


Barta decides he wants to go for the points in the intermediate sprint. Arashiro is happy to let him go and he takes the full compliment. Behind, there is much more action in the peloton as they approach the sprint. Etixx-QuickStep are looking to lead this out but they've taken Sagan and Coquard with them. 


Coquard wins the sprint from the bunch with Matthews behind. Sagan is next up and despite a lead-out Kittel only manages sixth. Mark Cavendish was part of that little group but when the sprint took hold the Manxman decided to sit up and save some energy for the finish today. 


Coquard, Kittel, Matthews and Sagan are in a small group off the front of the peloton now. They're riding easy, chatting and laughing as they wait to be reabsorbed by the bunch. 


The flurry of action means that the gap to the escapees has come back down again to 3:48.



BMC is leading the way in the peloton for the first time in a long time. As well as having Van Avermaet in the yellow jersey, they have the yellow helmets of the leaders of the team classification. They are currently 3:36 ahead of Team Sky in that competition. 


1 BMC Racing Team 76:56:47
2 Team Sky 0:03:36
3 Movistar Team 0:04:12
4 Tinkoff Team 0:04:51
5 Astana Pro Team 0:07:17
6 AG2R La Mondiale 0:08:25
7 FDJ 0:08:55
8 Trek-Segafredo 0:12:32
9 Team Katusha 0:12:41
10 Etixx - Quick-Step 0:12:48


Giro Rosa stage 5 highlights - Video: Watch the best in the world contest Italy's Mortirolo:

@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 7th Jul 2016 13:14:41

97km remaining from 190km

The heat continues to beat down on the peloton. As they pass the 100km to go marker, the temperature is closing in on the 30 degree Celsius mark. That could account for the relatively slow pace with the riders around 20 minutes down on the schedule still. 


100km to go. Barta and Arashiro with 3m20s. Arashiro used to live the near finish when he was an amateur chasing a pro contract

@inrng Thu, 7th Jul 2016 13:23:27

Marcel Kittel won his first stage of this year's Tour de France on Tuesday's stage 4, beating Bryan Coquard by just the slimmest of margins. He'll be looking to double that tally when the race rolls into Montauban this afternoon.


"We will see at the end but I’m happy about my sensations at the moment," he told Eurosport at the start. "Yesterday was a hard day and I survived it in a good way. Today will be especially difficult in the beginning with an uphill start so riders will try to go into the breakaway there. That is going to be our first goal, to try and control the race to make it work for the sprint.


"It’s going to be a tricky final with lots of corners and really fast. We don’t have a real descent like the last two sprints so it really depends on the sprint, so that is good."


Daniel Teklehaimanot leads Lars Bak on the front of the peloton. Last year, Teklehaimanot spent a few days in the polka-dot jersey after an aggressive opening week. For now, he's using his form to help Dimension Data set things up for Mark Cavendish in the sprint. He may be let of the leash in coming days as Cavendish takes a backseat in the mountains. 


83km remaining from 190km

Arashiro and Barta's lead drops slightly to 2:30, but there is no particular urgency in the peloton for the time being.

Chris Froome is placed comfortably towards the front of the peloton, surrounded by his Sky teammates. Although Wout Poels and Mikel Landa conceded large swathes of time yesterday, Froome had Sergio Henao, Mikel Nieve and Geraint Thomas for company in the finale. The objective, he said, was simply not to lose any time ahead of the Tour's entry into the Pyrenees.


80km remaining from 190km

There still hasn't been any particular injection of pace in the peloton as BMC lead the way, but the break's advantage has dipped a little further. The gap now stands at 2:05.


Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) has never made any secret of his dislike of extreme heat and the Frenchman betrayed signs of struggling amid the rising temperatures on yesterday’s leg in the Massif Central. In the finale, however, he was one of the first to follow Romain Bardet’s attack and he finished safely with the other podium contenders. Ahead of the long weekend in the Pyrenees, Pinot lies 21st overall, 5:28 off the lead but just 11 seconds down on Froome. “Yesterday was a complicated stage for me but also for everyone yesterday, sometimes the medium mountain stages are the most difficult to get through,” Pinot said at the start this morning. “I’m not concerned. I’m only a few seconds behind my GC rivals so everything has gone well so far. Today’s is for the sprinters and so it’s important that I focus on recovering and staying hydrated before the weekend in the Pyrenees.”


75km remaining from 190km

Arashiro and fellow countryman Fumiyuku Beppu became the first Japanese riders to finish the Tour de France in 2009 - previous starters Kisso Kawamuro (1926 and 1927) and Polti’s Daisuke Imanaka (1996) had both failed to reach Paris. We got an insight into Arashiro's immense popularity in his home country - and in the Vendee region of his former Europcar team - at the inaugural Saitama Criterium in 2013. 


The peloton still looks extremely relaxed, although it is stringing out a touch as this gap continues to come down. The latest time check has the two leaders just 1:51 ahead of the BMC-led bunch. The average speed after three hours of racing is 37.6kph.

It is Brent Bookwalter who is leading proceedings for BMC at the moment. Bookwalteris riding the Tour de France for the first time since 2013. The American was caught up in Alberto Contador's crash on stage one and is still suffering some ill effects but he has had a huge boost in motivation after Van Avermaet's win yesterday. 


"I am pretty tired from today's stage. But obviously we are pretty happy here at the BMC Racing Team. It is a pretty special day when you win. It was a hard start and a really tough stage. Greg fought hard to get in a good breakaway and showed he was the strongest by going to the end. It was a hard day no matter where you finished, or no matter what part of the race you were in. So seeing what Greg did in riding away by himself like that was really inspiring and exciting for us to have him take yellow.

"I am still trying to recover from the crash I had the first day. I hit pretty hard. I am feeling better each day, but still trying to be conscious of the healing my body needs to do and the energy that it takes and the long race we have ahead. The past few days, I have kind of been on teamwork duty a little bit earlier in the race. It was still a long day for me today, working up until about 180 kilometers, riding in the wind taking care of the guys – Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen – as best I could. From there, it is just a matter of finding a group of guys who are going at a good pace and going to make it to the finish without taking too much out of me that I need to. It is a balance between the spirit of taking care of the team and putting self-ambitions aside to give my body enough time to heal and take care of these injuries."


Over in Italy, stage 6 of the Giro Rosa has just finished with Evelyn Stevens riding to victory ahead of her teammate Megan Guarnier. We will have a full report and results very son. 


60km remaining from 190km

The leaders are approaching a short descent after which they will take on the final climb of the day the Côte de Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. Barta and Arashiro have 1:48 on the peloton. 


Mark Cavendish is, of course, one of the favourites for today's sprint. This is what he had to say about his chances this morning:


"I really like the stage, it’s a fast finish, with a long time out of the last corner. Ideally it suits a full lead out train but we’ve got a great set of guys here at Dimension Data for the sprint stages. The final 25km are on pretty narrow roads and so there’s going to be almost two finish lines: to get through there and then in the final sprint. We’ve got Edvald Boasson Hagen to help us too. I’m confident that the guys can do their job today."


He also responded to the concerns of some of the other sprinters that the fight for position is getting a bit too much in the final kilometres. "It’s my job you know. Two days ago I was a bit more reserved because when you are dodging around the climbers who think they can sprint, it makes it more technical. I think today we should just see a fast finish."


#GiroRosa: @evelyn_stevens wins stage 6 at Madonna della Guardia, @MeganGuarnier in pink:

@kirstenfrattini Thu, 7th Jul 2016 14:22:00

The peloton is happy to bring this gap down very gradually. The later they catch this duo the better, somewhere between the final 10-5km would be ideal. At the moment, this doesn't look like it's going to end any other way than a bunch sprint. With all 198 riders still in the bunch, there is a strong field of sprinters to contest the finish. Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel have both taken stage wins. Those without are Andre Greipel, Michael Matthews, Bryan Coquard and Alexander Kristoff. Eduard Theuns, Sam Bennett and Dylan Goenewegen are also win-less at the moment. 


The sprint finishes have been very close this year, particularly on stages 3 and 4. The stage 4 finish in Limoges was almost a dead heat with Kittel edging out Coquard by less than a tyre's width. Will we see another close one today?


Dan McLay has also shown that he can mix it with the big guys in the sprints on his first Tour de France. He has finished in the top 10 in all three bunch finishes so far. His team manager Emmanuel Hubert is happy with his performance so far but not at all surprised. 


“Dan is not a surprise for us. We knew he was fast but he hadn't sprinted against the world's best sprinters yet. So today we'll dare to challenge them. We don't have a train but we'll try to position him very well.”


42km remaining from 190km

Thomas Voeckler leads the chase now in the peloton and he has cut the advantage of Barta and Arashiro down to 53 seconds as they climb the Côte de Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.


Marcel Kittel failed to feature in the first two sprints but finally found his stride two days ago with victory on stage 4. He's hoping to build on that result in today's finish. 


"We just need to use the experience from last time. We need to stay calm again and then we just have go full gas again at the end. The most important thing is to stay in front when we go into the final. It sounds simple but that’s about it.”


38km remaining from 190km

Barta is doing his hardest to keep this break going. His efforts are pushing the advantage back up to almost a minute but it's a tough ask to stay out there.


One man that won't be mixing it in the finish will be Chris Froome. The defending champion's main target for today will be to finish in one piece without losing time. 


"For us so far it’s just been staying out front and out of trouble," he said at the start. "I think my guys have a done a great job for me and I have to thank them. Today is another stage for the sprinters and then were in the Pyrenees. We’ve got three pretty hard mountain stages coming up but that’s what we’re looking forward to, that’s what we’ve trained for and that’s what were here to do. I’m looking forward to it now."


Mountains classification leader Thomas de Gendt is on team duty today and is back at the cars picking up some drinks for the rest of the team. It's a hot day out there and the riders are getting through the drinks out there. 


31km remaining from 190km

Just 41 seconds now as the teams begin getting themselves in position for the finish. Still 31km to go, however.


Dylan Van Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) was waiting for the stage start in the shade. He was pleased to see how good he was going in the Tour de France: “I’ve been going better every time. I was surprised to go that well in the uphill sprint in Limoges. I tend to go better in high-speed sprints. This is the last bunch sprint for a while. If all pieces of the puzzle fall together than a win is possible,” Van Groenewegen told Cyclingnews at the start this morning in sunny Arpajon-Sur-Cère.


Dylan Van Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) was waiting for the stage start in the shade. He was pleased to see how good he was going in the Tour de France: “I’ve been going better every time. I was surprised to go that well in the uphill sprint in Limoges. I tend to go better in high-speed sprints. This is the last bunch sprint for a while. If all pieces of the puzzle fall together than a win is possible,” Van Groenewegen told Cyclingnews at the start this morning in sunny Arpajon-Sur-Cère.


27km remaining from 190km

Thomas Voeckler continues to lead the peloton but he now has company in the form of the rest of his Direct Energie teammates. They're really working hard for Coquard here and that gap is tumbling. Up front, the leaders are panicking and Arashiro gives a big dig and Barta is forced to chase back on. 

The breakaway is breaking down under the pressure of the approaching peloton. Barta now tries to go it alone and Arashiro is chasing furiously. The upping in speed increases their lead but the peloton can see them on this long, straight road. 


Stephen Cummings moves towards the front for Dimension Data. We spoke to his DS Rolf Aldag this morning about how sprinting has changed over the years. 


"The Tour de France sprints have evolved again this year, we’ve seen that on one team can lead it out in the final kilometres and still have the legs to look after their sprinter and lead him to the finish. You have to stay flexible and have different scenario ready. You can go from the front if you are well placed but if you are the wheels, you have to be ready for different eventualities. Who is the sprinter to follow today, where are the key points to make an acceleration.


"I think this new, more hectic style of sprinting suits Mark. And I think he’s polished his sprinting skills by riding and racing more on the track in recent months as he prepares for the Olympics in Rio. There’s sports director on the track to help you and you have to make split second decisions. That sharpens your brain and helps you in these very hectic Tour sprints."


21km remaining from 190km

With just over 20km to go the two-man escape group has been caught and the jostling for position in the bunch really begins to take hold. 


19km remaining from 190km

The GC teams are also moving up with Movistar and Sky flanking the peloton. BMC, Tinkoff, Lotto-Soudal, Cofidis, LottoNL-Jumbo, Giant-Alpecin and Dimension Data are all also trying to find some space at the front. 


Some riders dangling at the end of the peloton, including Thomas de Gendt, who has done his job for the day. 


Etixx-QuickStep look like they are biding their time. They're about a quarter of the way back on the left-hand side for now. 


17km remaining from 190km

After putting in a lot of work, Direct Energie have moved back a bit. They need to keep a few riders to help navigate Coquard through the finish. 


Voeckler has joined de Gendt on the back of the bunch. 


Peter Sagan is brought through the middle of the peloton right up to the front, with a IAM Cycling rider in his wheel. He moves over to the side of the road where more of his teammates in and slots into third wheel in the Tinkoff train. 


Contador is just in front of Sagan, second in the Tinkoff line. He's had a tough few days and will want to make it safely through today with no upsets. 


13km remaining from 190km

The pace is really beginning to ramp up in this finale and almost all of the big teams are now represented on the front. There is a lot of movement in the bunch but it feels calmer than some of he previous sprint finishes for now. 


10km remaining from 190km

Michael Schar looks to calm things down a little bit and he has a word with the Direct Energie team. There has been a lot of comments in the last week about too many risks taken in fighting for position. 


9km remaining from 190km

Under the 10km to go banner and Ian Stannard has taken to the front for Team Sky. Direct Energie are still putting a big turn in too. 


Etixx are noticeably absent from the front still. If they have got this right them we should see them move to the front in the final three or four kilometres. 


6km remaining from 190km

Katusha are trying to fight their way to the front now. Kristoff has not delivered for them just yet. 


4km remaining from 190km

The team controlling the front is ever changing as they all fight for position. One team that has been ever-present though is Direct Energie. They're still up there. Have they burnt their matches too soon?


Less than four kilometres to go and Etixx-QuickStep begin their move to the front. 


The peloton is all stung out as they negotiate some sharp turns. Tinkoff are looking over their shoulders and they've lost Sagan. 


2km remaining from 190km

No sign of Sagan in the first 20-30 riders. 


Cofidis take it up with LottoNL in their wheels. 


Sagan coming into sight but he's a long way back. 


Now it's Katusha who leads the peloton under the flamme rouge


Etixx still fighting their way up. Have they got this wrong?


Trek lead out the sprint


Cavendish wins


Kittel came from a long way back to start that sprint but Cavendish overtook him with an impressive turn of speed with Dan McLay putting in a superb performance for third. McLay Looked like he might just catch Cavendish. 


That is 29 Tour de France career victories and his third at the 2016 race. He is now second in the all-time list of stage winners behind Eddy Merckx. 


It seems that all that track training has really done helped Cavendish re-find the finishing speed he once had. He appeared to pass Kittel with relative ease. The German almost came back at him but Cavendish held on. 


What am I seeing?! @McLAYDan what a man. Jumping up and down with @bannahharnes. And @MarkCavendish winning yet again, unreal impressive.

Confirmation of the results on stage 6. 


1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 04:43:48
2 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step
3 Daniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
5 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
6 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team
7 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
8 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
10 Shane Archbold (NZl) Bora-Argon 18


Mark Cavendish was all smiles in his pre-podium interview. He had this to say: 

"Oh my God, that was terrifying. That was like the old days just wheel surfing. Honestly, I said this morning, there is two finish lines there’s one with 12 to go when we got onto the small road. We were a little too far back, Bernie and I, going into that. It was just carnage in the final with guys coming left and right. I wanted Kittel’s wheel. I was fighting and fighting for Kittel’s wheel. Etixx weren’t that organised but I knew that they would get it on the final long, fast run-in. I knew it would be the right thing to go early.


Because it was slightly downhill, I put on a bigger gear again and I just went. Actually, I maxed out, I should have put a bigger gear on. I kept going to the line, I really wanted it. I felt Kittel coming up on my side again but I just did what he’s done to me over the last three years and just held him at it. I’m very happy with that.



When it was pointed out that he had one more than Hinault now, he said: "I didn’t really think about that. I’m just thinking about my little brother, he had a little baby girl yesterday. So I’d like to dedicate this to my little niece Darcy who was born yesterday."


Gren Van Avermaet keeps hold of the yellow jersey after that sprint finish. 


1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 30:18:39
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:05:11
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:05:13
4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 00:05:17
5 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
7 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step
10 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team


Cavendish celebrating at the finish


Marcel Kittel was a little subdued outside his team bus, saying that it was hard to organise a sprint train in the chaotic finish. 


"He knew where he needed to be and when. I tried everything to hold him off but I couldn’t, it was really close in the end.


"To be very honest, in the finals this year, there is no tactic. It’s impossible to ride with a team here. I don’t know why the organisers do it like this with downhills in the city, we have all those small roads and corners. It goes wide, narrow, wide again and every team is struggling at this stage to be at the front. The GC teams are also holding their wheels until the finish line. It’s pure chaos and that’s why you can win here with really smart positioning. The team only has to bring you forward at a certain moment and that’s it and then you have to go out of the wheel of someone at a certain point. That is it but you don’t know when it is going to happen."


Chris Froome finished safely in the bunch, and he's now warming down outside his team bus. 



That victory from Cavendish puts him back in the green jersey with 204 points. Kittel is second with 182, and Sagan third with 175. 


Here is the top 10 in the points classification


1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 204 pts
2 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step 182
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 175
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie 112
5 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 89
6 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 74
7 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 67
8 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 64
9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange 57
10 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 50


#TDF2016 the day isn't done just yet for @GregVanAvermaet ! #yellowjersey

@BMCProTeam Thu, 7th Jul 2016 16:18:12

Greg Van Avermaet made it through his first day in yellow with flying colours.


"It could not have gone better. It was a beautiful day, it wasn’t too hilly and we had beautiful weather. It wasn’t too stressful, it was just a hard final. In the end it was really good, there was a lot of Belgian people on the road with the Belgian flags and they supported me really well."


We've got full results, a gallery and a report from today's stage here


All 198 riders will be ready for the Pyrenées. That must be a record? All GC favorites on time (minus Contador, who crashed twice) #TDF2016

@veloropa Thu, 7th Jul 2016 16:35:43

You can find a selection of quotes from the finish of today's stage, here


That's it from us today. Tune in for stage 7 tomorrow. 


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