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94th Tour de France - Stage 6 Live Coverage
 
By Staff
Date: 7/13/2007
94th Tour de France - Stage 6 Live Coverage
 

94th Tour de France - Stage 6 Live
Another day for the fast legs of the sprinters that is if they can catch the solo escapee down the road at the moment...

13. July Stage 6: Semur-en-Auxois - Bourg-en-Bresse, 199 km
Stage Map & Profile
The main obstacles come to day with the 2.4 km Cat 4 Côte de Grandmont at 55 km (5.1% gradient) and the 3.5 km climb of Cat 4 - Col de Brancion at 138 kilometers with an average 3.6 % gradient.

Brad Wiggins (Cofidis) is the early attacker of the day. Nobody tried to followed him and he got a maximum gap of 17 minutes. The gap is now down to 15.15 wth 135 km to go. Wiggins took the points on the first KOM and the first intermediate sprint. Andriy Grivko (Milram) went in the counter-attack but didn't succeed in bridging across.

Geoffroy Lequatre (Cofidis) didn't start today and is in the hospital after his crash yesterday. He completed the stage, 45 minutes down on Pozzato but was not allowed to start by the doctors this morning.

Also both Astana riders Andreas Klöden and Alexandre Vinokourov started the stage. Vinokourov has lots of stitches in his knee while Klöden has a broken coccygeal vertebra (tail bone).

Other news outside the Tour is that Kai Reus (Rabobank) crashed very hard on training yesterday. It's not clear yet if the crash is caused due to a car or because he became unwell. Anyway he has a broken collarbone, 3 broken ribs and a head trauma. The doctors have decided to keep him in an artificial coma for one day. He crashed in the French Alps near Tignes. Some of the riders of Rabobank are there to support guests of the team for the clinic. The clinic is there to follow the when it arrives in Tignes on Sunday.

So far the tour injury list includes among the abandons: Discovery's Thomas Vaitkus of Lithuania, Xabier Zandio of Caissed d'Epargne of Caisse d'Epargne, Rémy Di Grégorio of Française des Jeux, Eduardo Ramirez of Agributel and Geoffrey Lequatre of Cofidis.

127 km to go and the gap of Wiggins is up to 18.00. CSC doesn't care because they will want to get rid off the yellow jersey. Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) was 4th in the prologue of the Tour in his own London which is really good. But I don't think Brad is that satisfied with it as he really wanted to win there.

CSC, Quick Step, Milram and some other teams started to chase Wiggins to close the gap for a bunch sprint in Bourg-en-Bresse. The gap is down to 16.00 with 122 km as Cedric Vasseur leads the chase.


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Other News:  Team CSC Extends Contract With Arvesen
Team CSC has extended the contract with the only Norwegian rider in the team, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, for another two years, which will keep him on the team at least untill the end of 2009. That's good for Arvesen, he won a stage in the Giro earlier this year and does a great job for the team and especially Cancellara in the Tour thus far.

The gap is down to 15.00. the pace is faster now with Wiggins losing 3 minutes in about 10 kilometers.

1511 CET - The gap is down to 13 minutes with 112 km to go as Quick Step and Lampre are leading the chase for their sprinters Boonen and Benatti.

1517 CET - The gap is down to 11.48, it's coming down quickly at this point.

So how can you ride with a cracked Coccyx? That just sounds beyond painful. Yet Klöden is out there doing it. I guess that (if you believe Darwin) the coccyx is just the rudimentary tail that we no longer need since we don't swing from trees that much anymore. Clearly, homo cyclistus has no need for the rudimentary tail.

The good news for Astana is that their team is incredibly deep, and they still have guys like Kashechkin who can win stages and threaten the top of the GC if Klöden and Vinokourov can't due to their injuries. Mark my words. Vino is deeply pissed and will attack in the alps like a Lion who is hunting for his victims. The loss of 1.20 is a lot but one day in the mountains not that much either.

Those crashes yesterday were the worst thing to happen to Astana since the Borat movie. After the finish Valverde commented,  “I believe that the most significant thing today is Alexandre Vinokourov’s crash”, concluded Valverde, “the Kazakh rider lost one minute and twenty seconds. That’s bad luck and as for me I hope that he will recover very well.” Valverde was not amused either that CSC started to ride like hell when Vino crashed. Lampre and Rabobank were driving it more than CSC but it's a good show of sportsmanship by Valverde and a show of respect for Vino as a rival.

You know, Horner (Predictor-Lotto) was right up there yesterday. He's going well. I wonder if he'll attack any time soon. Chris is in 44th place only 1:13 down.

Discovery Channel's Benjamin Noval started today, but was visiting the race doctor's car earlier in the stage. Noval was hit by the Bouygues Telecom car yesterday... you can read Johan Bruyneel's comments here.

1530 CET - The gap is down to 9.00 still 105 km to go,  Wiggins lost already 9.00 in about 30 km. But if you look at Wiggins it's more like a training ride than a stage in the Tour. Just like we saw a few days ago as well with Ladagnous and Vogondy on their day long break.

Of course he had problems due to the Bouygues Telecom team director talking to a film crew and not paying attention to his driving. Then he slammed on the brakes suddenly and Noval went through the back of his window on that last descent yesterday. He apparently had some serious cuts in his armpit from the window glass.

1532 CET - Crash for Barloworld. Happened in the feed zone. Enrico Degano down. The peloton rolls along, eating and stashing water bottles. Astana is massed near the back still nursing along Vinokourov and Klöden. Degano appears to be holding his left elbow; Degano is back on the bike again and started to chase.

100 km to go - the gap is down to 8.30, two kilometers later at 98 km the peloton has taken another 30 seconds off Wiggins. Quick Step and Lampre/Fondital lead the chase but CSC's Vandevelde came to the front and apparently asked Vasseur to slow down a bit; either way the pace did drop a bit. I'm sure that CSC would like to time the catch for the sprinters more near the finish to discourage breaks; and truth be told after yesterdays crashes the peloton is in the mood for a more restful and calm stage without incident.

The current leader in the points ranking Erik Zabel (Team Milram) has been asked by ASO to turn in his green jersey from the Tour 1996 after his doping confession at the end of may. Zabel has won 6 green jerseys at the tour during his career. The other five he can keep, perhaps Zabel will win this year and keep his record of intact.

1554 CET - Enrico Degano (Team Barloworld) abandons the race after his crash in the feed zone earlier, he made a brave attempt to continue but alas he has to abandon. We would like to send out our best wishes from the staff and readers of the Daily Peloton to the riders who have been injured and a wish for a complete recovery and return to racing in the near future. (correction: apparently Degano did not abandon today, and finished with the main group.)

1557 CET - 90 km to go, Bradley Wiggins bravely continues up the road on his solo attack with his gap at 7.51. It's really hot out there on the tarmac, the temperature rises as the riders are head southwards. Wiggins has about 35 kilometers to the final climb of the day on the Cat 4 - Col de Brancion.

There are transfer rumors that Fred Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto) is going to T-Mobile next year. T-Mobile has also rumored to be interested in Bram Tankink (Quick Step). Tankink has also an offer from Rabobank. Also Sebastien Rosseler (Quick Step) has offers from other teams. He may  join La FDJ and Predictor-Lotto.

1604 CET -  The lead of Brad Wiggins is down to 6.15 with 84 km to go as Daniele Righi (Lampre) sets the pace at the front.

In this lapse of action in the stage we will have plenty time to look at other cycling news as well. Matthias Kessler (Astana) was fired by his team after it became known that the b-sample was positive as well. Kessler tested positive on testosterone a day before the Fleche Wallonne (he was 4th in that race) and has been on suspension since shortly after the first a-sample report.

Looking up the road here at this point we have two Intermediate sprints one at Cormatin with 72.5 km to go, and Pon de Vaux at 38 kilometers from the finish. In-between the two the second mountain points are up for grab if Wiggins can hold on (or if the peloton refuses to catch him previous to this, as they seem to have little interest in closing the gap) the Col de Bancion at the 138 km mark with 61 km to go. 

1621 CET - 76 km to go, the gap down to 4.50, we hink the bunch will slow down a bit in a couple of kilometers; its still too soon for the catch. Wiggins is approaching the second sprint in Cormatin.

In the Tour of Austria, Gerrit Glomser (Volksbank) won the stage (stage 6). Thomas Rohregger remains in the lead there

Wiggins wins another intermediate sprint (72,5 km to go) The gap is down to 4.00. The bunch is heading towards the intermediate sprint as Q-Step leads the chase. Boonen wins the sprint and takes 4 points, Zabel 2 points. Boonen is the virtual (green) leader again! This will definitely affect their final sprint as they both sprinted for the points at all the intermediates today in the battle for the green jersey.

1633 CET - 65 km to go, Wiggins' lead is up to 5.08; he doesn't seem to pressing it hard he has a few km to the final cat 4 climb of the day. It doesn't look like the intent of the teams is to catch Wiggins before the climb or they would be flying up the road at this point and they aren't. I think they'll try to avoid catching him until after the descent of Brancion, hoping to get all the riders down the descent without incident.

1641 CET - Wiggins knows the best how to divide his strength as a time trial specialist, so he probably has plenty in the tank at the moment and may surprise us later as we near the finish. Wiggins starts the climb. One thing is sure, Wiggins will be honored on the podium as the most aggressive rider today.

60 km - 5.36 the gap,  Wiggins first over the top of the col de Brancion. Juan Manuel Garate is 2nd on the Brancion and Chavanel 3rd in the red and white polka dot jersey. Ok, so we have about 20 km of a rolling terrain after the descent. Next destination point the Pont de Vaux the site of the bridge over the Saone river and the next intermediate sprint points. If Wiggins can stay away until then we will have 38 kilometers of fast paced racing into Bourg-en-Bresse for the finale - the final km.

1658 CET - 50 km to go - Gap 5.00,  The last time Tour finished in Bourg-en-Bresse, it was Thor Hushovd who won that stage in a sprint with 3. Mengin was second and Piil 3rd

1700 CET - Flat tire for Brad Wiggins, but after a wheel change he goes on. It will cost him about 30 sec. of his lead I think. More and more sprinter teams are coming to the front position of the peloton; the pace continues to be a bit restrained, almost tracking with Brad out front.

1709 CET - 44 km to go, 3.45 the gap to the six kilometers to the final intermediate sprint, looks like Bradley will be the first over the Soane and the line for the points. T-mobile, Credit agricole, Milram and Quick Step  in control at the front of the bunch.

40 km - 3.36 gap - 2 km to the final intermediate sprint of the day. Wiggins wins the final sprint in Pont-de-Vaux and continues on his solo adventure. Quickstep has a train in action, De Jongh and Steegmans take the points. The others didn't battle for it. It's a smart tactic for Zabel and Boonen, if you want to save a bit more energy for the final sprint.

1720 CET - 35 km to go, Wiggins with a gap of 2.50 as he continues his solo effort. Its hard to gauge at this point what Wiggins has left in his legs.

30 km to go, and the gap is down to 1.44 a minutes loss in 5 kilometers. We think he will be reeled in about 10 km, as his gap is down to 1.30... at this point I can't help but think of the Giro d'Italia in May with the Fuga Gilera prize and the action it created daily in the corsa rosa, not to mention the constant attacks of the Tinkoff squad who animated the race.

1735 CET - Gap at one minute... is Bradley Wiggins' Excellent Adventure about to end?

1739 CET - 25 km to go - 1.18 the gap Apparently not! as the peloton slows down; they are in no hurry to bring the Cofidis rider back too early. Wiggins looks no worse for the wear after a 110 kilometer solo effort and his gap goes back up to 1:34.

20 km to go, gap 1.40 At this point Wiggins is looking back again for the peloton... Is he wondering if they forgot he was out here? Alas they sprinters teams are saving it for the last this stage. Milram leads the bunch now; Gerolsteiner, Credit Agricole and T-Mobile up there too.

Wiggins picks up his pace, the gap is down to 1.20 with 17 km to go.

1751 CET -  the Peloton starts picking up the speed, looks like the "chase" is on. Actually Wiggins might be happy to see another rider after a few hours alone out there. Wiggins looks more tired now as if everything hurts in his body..  the gap is down to 50 seconds...  40 seconds...  but the bunch is not going in full attack mode. It almost looks like we have a reluctant escapee chased by tentative and reluctant chasers.

1755 CET - 13 km to go, and 30 seconds as Wiggins dangles off the front of the peloton as they pull him into site in the midst of the farm fields. 11 km - 20 seconds - Wiggins still up there, 10 km and still 20 seconds...

8 km to go, and the peloton plays with Wiggins like a cat with a mouse The bunch is really playing a game, they They let him dangle out at about 150 meters. For his part Wiggins continues to ride well; but at 6.5 kms to the finish Wiggins is reeled in. Thanks for animating the stage Brad. See you in one of the next stages.

6 km to go, It's not going that well for Vinokourov and Klöden. Klöden vomitted during the stage and Vino made the typical sign for "it's over."

5 km T-Mobile and Milram leading the peloton.  4 km: The speed is still restrained at the front as the peloton fills the road. Wiggins drops through and off the back already.

Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) on the attack.  Quick Step leads the bunch and almost instantly reels Wegmann in.

3 km to go, The peloton together, 2 km, buckle up people for the next bunch sprint... Final km  Sprinting starts with a Credit Agricole rider leads at 500 km, must be Dean; but Quickstep catches and passes him with T-Mobile trading places at the front with a blue rocket coming out of the peloton and..

Super Tom Boonen Wins!!!!

Tom Boonen wins, Freire 2nd, Zabel 3rd, Sebastien Chavanel 4th,  Hushovd 5th, Bennati 6th, Förster 7th, Hunter 8th, Feillu 9th, and Fischer 10th.

For Quick Step it's their second stage win, after the win of Steegmans in Gent. Boonen is the new leader in the Green jersey competition, he has a quite comfortable lead on Zabel and the others as McEwen didn't finish in the top 10.

No change in the General Classification as CSC's Fabian Cancellara stays in yellow for the start of the two day climbers fest with back to back  mountain stages this weekend before the first rest day on Monday.

Sylvain Chavanel keeps his KOM jersey and Gusev the Maillot Blanc of  best young rider classification

Vitacost.com

Thanks for joining us for the live coverage of stage 6. Photos and results to follow.
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