| Yet another flat stage on the roads of the Tour de France. To be expected, the yellow jersey team, ONCE, let a small break gain a little over a minute, and then gave the peloton's control to the sprinters' teams. Lotto, Credit Agricole, Mapei, FDJeux.com and Telekom had their domestiques at the front, keeping the break in check.
Just 48 hours after going on his usual kamikaze style break, FDJeux.com's own publicity expert, Jacky Durand, was again up to this old tricks, powering the break, together with Zaballa (Kelme), Wesemann (Telekom), Van Hyfte (CSC-Tiscali), Magnien (Jean Delatour) and Apollonio (Tacconi Sport). The peloton today kept a close eye on the activities of the break and when the catch was about to happen, "Dudu" Durand gave it full gas on one last desperate attempt. A trademark move and Jacky's fans love to the see the bandana wearer-happy Frenchman going balls to the wall at the front of the peloton. Like he says, "most of the time it doesn't work, but then there's a few times that does", and for his sponsor, the publicity Jacky attracts with his suicidal efforts, is well worth it.
Telekom Gets It Right
Finally the pink train got it right, but they had to rub some elbows on the last two kilometers to keep Erik Zabel at the front and with a clean view towards the finish line. And not too far behind the green jersey was the "down under clan", with Cooke and McEwen looking to give Erik a run for his money. To spice things up, World Champion Oscar Freire was in the mix, making the final sprint a true battle of the sprinters. But at end Zabel claimed his 12th tour victory, added more points to his green jersey and paid back his teammates for all the work they have done (not to mention good news for Telekom, whom have had a rough time as of late with ol'Jan).
Did anyone see Erik push the TV cameras away on his way to the podium?
ONCE's Yellow, USPS Waits
Despite wearing those cool looking pink unis, ONCE seems set to keep the maillot jaune until the individual time trial on Monday, although tomorrow's stage looks attractive enough for another, proper break, to gain enough time and maybe finish in front of the peloton.
And this is playing right into USPS's hands. They have the option of sending one of their riders with the break (if it happens) or just sitting back, resting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and...
Down and Out
Alexander Shefer (Alessio) went down with about 29kms to go during a big pileup and had to be taken on a stretcher, thus ending his tour.
1. Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 4.23.07
2. Oscar Freire (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step
3. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco
4. Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre Daikin
5. Sergei Ivanov (Rus) Fassa Bortolo
6. Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com
7. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole
8. Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour
9. Arvis Piziks (Lat) CSC-Tiscali
10. Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Tacconi Sport
11. Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Tacconi Sport
12. Mauro Radaeli (Ita) Tacconi Sport
13. François Simon (Fra) Bonjour
14. Stefano Casagranda (Ita) Alessio
15. José Enrique Gutierrez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
16. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole
17. Jerome Pineau (Fra) Bonjour
18. Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis
19. Franck Rénier (Fra) Bonjour
20. Gian Matteo Fagnini (Ita) Team Deutsche Telekom
General Classification after Stage Six
1. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 23.29.03
2. Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.04
3. Lance Armstrong (USA) US Posta Service 0.07
4. Jorg Jaksche (Ger) ONCE-Eroski 0.12
5. Abraham Olano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.22
6. Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service 0.25
7. Isidro Nozal (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.27
8. Jose Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski 0.28
9. George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service 0.28
10. Marcos Serrano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.30
11. Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service 0.32
12. Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
13. Jose Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) US Postal Service 0.35
14. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal Service
15. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC-Tiscali 0.37
16. Tyler Hamilton (USA) CSC-Tiscali 0.53
17. Andrea Peron (Ita) CSC-Tiscali
18. Pavel Padrnos (Cze) US Postal Service 0.55
19. Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC-Tiscali 1.00
20. Benoit Joachim (Lux) US Postal Service 1.09