|2012 Tour de France - Stage 6|
|By Luke Allingham|
|2012 Tour de France - Stage 6|
|Stage six at the 2012 Le Tour de France marked the last chance for the sprinters before the race hits the high mountains, which begin on Saturday. German Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) entered the stage as one of the main favorites after winning stages 5 and 6. After a crash inside the final 30 kilometer that took out at least 50 riders, Slovak national champion Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale won his 3rd stage in his first Tour de France. German Andre Greipel sprinted to second with Orica-GreenEdge rider Matthew Goss finishing third.
The stage 6 breakaway escaped from the peloton after just five kilometers of racing with four men leaving the peloton. The four men of the breakaway included - seven time U.S national time trial champion David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp), Romain Zingle (Cofidis), Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and Davide Malacarne (Europcar). The last man of the breakaway to be caught was David Zabriskie, the American was reeled in by the peloton in the final 400 meters as the sprinters battled for the finish line.
Stage six was again shadowed by a string of crashes, three crashes spaced throughout the stage took some of the top GC contenders and top sprinters. Andre Greipel crashed twice early in the stage, but avoid the final one and made the front group. A crash inside the final 25 kilometers in the last half of the peloton caused riders to fly into the crash covered ditches and hit the road hard.
With 25km remaining general classification contenders hit the ground hard or landed in the ditches. Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Janez Brajkovic (Astana) were among the general classification hopes that crashed with 25km to go. None were able to rejoined the peloton and lost over two minutes to Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Cadel Evans (BMC). World Champion Mark Cavendish and Norwegian national road champion Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) also were part of the crash and were unable to rejoin the lead group for the sprint.
Stage seven of the 99th Tour de France brings the peloton into the first real mountain stage of this year's Tour de France with the first mountain top finish. Race leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) enters stage seven in the yellow jersey yet again, but is expected to loose the jersey to the man who sits second overall in the general classification, Bradley Wiggins (Sky).
Stage 6 Results
1 Peter SAGAN SVK LIQ 4:37:00
2 André GREIPEL GER LTB +0
3 Matthew Harley GOSS AUS OGE +0
4 Kenny Robert VAN HUMME NED VCD +0
5 Juan José HAEDO ARG STB +0
6 Greg HENDERSON NZL LTB +0
7 Alessandro PETACCHI ITA LAM +0
8 Luca PAOLINI ITA KAT +0
9 Daryl IMPEY RSA OGE +0
10 Brett LANCASTER AUS OGE +4
General Classification After Stage 6
1 Fabian CANCELLARA SUI RNT 29:22:36
2 Bradley WIGGINS GBR SKY +7
3 Sylvain CHAVANEL FRA OPQ +7
4 Tejay VAN GARDEREN USA BMC +10
5 Denis MENCHOV RUS KAT +13
6 Cadel EVANS AUS BMC +17
7 Vincenzo NIBALI ITA LIQ +18
8 Peter SAGAN SVK LIQ +19
9 Andreas KLÖDEN GER RNT +19
10 Maxime MONFORT BEL RNT +22
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