Welcome to live coverage of Paris Nice!
So bring on the high mountains. Today the riders cover 173.5km, but they will hit one Cat 2 and three Cat 1 climbs. The final climb, the Col de Manse, crests 9.5km before the finish, so look for lots of attacks and a hairy descent at the end.
50km left. As we begin our coverage, Aitor Osa (Illes Balears - B. Santander) and Nicolas Portal (AG2r Prevoyance) are off the front. They had 11 minutes, but it has come down to just under 5'.
Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) and Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) didn't make the start today. Botero (T-Mobile) abandoned during the stage. Peers (Chocolade Jacques Wincor) also didn't make the start today.
Osa is working well with Portal. Osa sets the pace on an uphill section. The two have a 4' 15" lead still. The peloton looks to be all together. Liberty Seguros, Rabobank, and Fassa Bortolo have two men each on the front leading the chase.
Now the gap is down to 3' 55". The riders all have on their long sleeves and leggings, as it's still colder than a nun's panties out there.
The riders are on the lead in to the Col de la Sentinelle, a Cat 1 monster. Doh! A rider from Quickstep just got run off into the gutter and over onto the dirt. He was able to "Lance Armstrong" it and ride over the dirt for awhile before cutting back into the peloton.
45km left. The riders roll through the Tallard valley. Fassa Bortolo, Rabobank, and Liberty Seguros must have plans for a big attack from their climbers, as they still set the pace.
Frank Vandenbroucke (Fassa Bortolo) and Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank) must be feeling good today if their teams are working for them like this. The lead of Portal and Osa is down to 3' 15" now.
Quickstep-Davitamon now contributes a couple of riders to the front, likely trying to set up Virenque or Michael Rogers.
Landis and some of the Posties are getting into position near the front of the peloton. Portal has now been dropped by Osa on a false flat ahead of the peloton.
Portal sticks his tongue out and shakes his head at the camera. He is completely toasted. But he had a great run today.
Osa's lead is now 2' 30". In the peloton, riders continue to jockey for position in the final kilometers before the big climbs.
Telekom has now come to the front with a couple of men. Victor Hugo Pena (US Postal) attacks on the climb! The Notorious VHP is showing the colors! Well, now he sits up and waits for the group. Just stretching the legs a bit...
The peloton is all strung out, breaking into groups already, as Rabobank and T-Mobile set the pace on the front. Now an attack comes from a Credit Agricole, it's Andrey Kashechkin.
Portal is about to get caught by the peloton. Now an Euskaltel -Euskadi rider joins Kashechkin on the attack. They have only about 50 meters on the bunch.
Landaluze is the Euskaltel rider. Now Zuelle (Phonak) has just blown off the front of the peloton and by the two attackers. Only Osa is ahead of him.
Leipheimer (Rabobank) is on the attack with a Brioches la Boulangere rider and another man.
33km left. Osa nears the top of the Col de la Sentinelle. Jaksche (CSC) is in the bunch, but looks isolated. He's trying to chase some of these attacks that are coming off the front like a Tommy gun now.
Osa is over the top. Landis is near the front of the peloton. An Euskaltel rider is now taking a flyer with a Liberty Seguros rider. Osa only has 1' 08" now. The Liberty Seguros rider could be Nozal... he is in a three-man group over the top, now descending like madmen.
The descent is hairy! The road is dark, a bit wet, uneven, and twisting. Very treacherous.
It's not Nozal, but rather Alberto Contador of Liberty Seguros who is on the attack on this descent.
He is with Gorka Gonzalez of Euskaltel.
Aitor Osa will get caught soon, but he will be happy, as he has taken a strong lead in the King of the Mountains competition. There are a couple of US Postal riders and a Phonak rider leading the peloton. The Contador and Gonzalez trio are still ahead of the peloton, and Osa is on the front of the race with a 55" lead.
26km left. Men are still attacking the peloton. Up front, Bobby Julich (CSC) has attacked and is in a five-man lead group with Gonzalez, Osa, and Contador!
This is great for CSC, as the 3rd on GC Julich will force Gerolsteiner and others to chase in the peloton. Jaksche is still sitting comfortably near the front of the peloton, as are Hincapie and Landis.
I must say, Julich hasn't ridden this well in years. He is riding like a monster, all over the front of this race from the first day!
Jaksche counters an attack by Vandenbroucke on the front of the peloton... the attacks are still coming but they aren't even on the final climb yet.
The peloton has about 40 men right now, and they are all strung out single file on the final bit of flattish descent into Gap. Then they have the Cat 1 Col de Manse. A Gerolsteiner rider leads the peloton, setting the pace in pursuit of the escaped Julich.
17km left. So the peloton regrouped, and Jaksche took the final intermediate sprint to increase his lead, with Julich in 2nd to close on Rebellin.
Attacks are coming from everywhere again. A Liberty Seguros and a Credit Agricole rider are having a go now. It's Contador again. Poilvet is the CA rider.
Floyd Landis (US Postal) is ahead of everyone, however, being chased by a couple of other men.
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) and Dave Bruylandts (Chocolade Jacques) are with Landis. Now Jaksche attacks the peloton! The Yellow and White Jersey wearer is off the front of the peloton! Wait, now he sits up and waits for the peloton again. Go figure.
15km left. The Landis-Sanchez-Bruylandts trio still pushes on ahead of the race. Men are still attacking like crazy from the peloton on the steeper slopes of the Col de Manse.
Now Jaksche and Julich are near the front of the peloton, which is rapidly dwindling. The Landis-Sanchez-Bruylandts trio is about 25" ahead of the peloton.
Now Denis Menchov (Illes Balears) has jumped across to join the leading group. Those are four strong climbers at the front... they could stay away.
Now another attack from Liberty Seguros. Ivan Basso (CSC) leads Jaksche at the front of the peloton. Now Zuelle has attacked, and looks to have a good gap. He'll try to join the Landis quartet.
The riders are on a nasty steep part of the climb. Zuelle is closing the gap to the leaders. He is out of the saddle grimacing, pushing ahead.
The roads are wet, and there is snow on the sides of the roads again. The descent will be very treacherous.
10.5km left. Landis, Bruylandts, Sanchez, and Menchov continue to hold their gap as they near the top of the climb.
Zuelle is in no-man's land chasing hard, trying to catch the leaders before the descent.
Now a Fassa Bortolo rider attacks! It is Vandenbroucke! Jaksche is trying to close the gap. VDB has attacked with just about a kilometer to the summit! VDB has caught and passed Zuelle. Jaksche is right on the wheel of VDB over the top. What an acceleration by VDB and Jaksche.
9km left. So now the crazy, flying descent to the finish. The Landis group has 14" on VDB and Jaksche.
Vandenbroucke and Jaksche are still clear of the peloton, with Rebellin nowhere to be found. The road on the descent looks to be a little drier than the climb, thankfully.
5km left. Landis, Sanchez, Menchov, Bruylandts are in the lead. Jaksche, Vandenbroucke, Rebellin, and Rogers are together in a group behind. Crash!
It was an Euskaltel rider, and there is another man down still. He is sitting up, but his bike is messed up. The crash was in the chasing peloton. The leaders and the first chase group are still upright.
Sanchez attacks on the flat section into Gap. He has a small gap riding into Gap.
2km left. Sanchez has 5" on Bruylandts, Landis, and Menchov. Landis is leading the chase. He's now looking over his shoulder looking for help.
Final kilometer. Sanchez is in the lead, and now he is being caught by the trio behind.
It will be a four-up sprint to the line. Hincapie has joined the Jaksche group.
Bruylandts attacks! He is brought back. Now Sanchez goes up the left, and Menchov comes down the middle. Landis gets squeezed and wobbles a bit, forced to sit up. Menchov wins it!
The group with Jaksche, Rebellin, and Vandenbroucke come across about 9" behind.
Landis looks like he had a mechanical... his chain slipped, it looks like, as he was trying to get into the sprint. He was in a good position, but had to sit up and coast across the line. Bummer for Landis!
1. Menchov (Illes Balears-B. Santander)
2. Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
3. Landis (US Postal presented by Berry Floor)
5. Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo) @ 24"
6. Vandenbroucke @ 24"
7. Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) @ 24"
8. Jaksche (CSC) @ 24"
9. Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) @ 24"
10. Pereiro (Phonak) @ 24"
Hincapie is now only 6" behind Julich... he is therefore only 6" from a podium position!
Julich was not in that group with Jaksche, and lost time to his rivals in support of his team leader. Great teammate, Julich, and still holding on to 3rd on GC, but slipping a bit.
Hincapie (US Postal presented by Berry Floor) was also in the group at 24".
1. Jaksche (CSC) 19h 42' 49"
2. Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) @ 14"
3. Julich (CSC) @ 42"
4. Voigt (CSC) @ 46"
5. Hincapie (US Postal presented by Berry Floor) @ 48"
6. Vandenbroucke (Fassa Bortolo) @ 58"
7. Pereiro (Phonak) @ 1' 00"
8. Rogers (Quickstep-Davitamon) @ 1' 08"
9. Schleck (CSC) @ 1' 35"
10. Azevedo (US Postal presented by Berry Floor) @ 1' 45"
So Jaksche picks up a couple of seconds on Rebellin. Hincapie closes to within 6" of the podium, Vandenbroucke, Pereiro, and Rogers hold tough despite CSC's continued domination of the GC. Azevedo sneaks into the top ten.
Bartoli was the man who was in 6th going into today's stage. He's now gone from the top ten. Here's hoping he wasn't involved in any crashes on the final descent.
Tomorrow the peloton has another day of mountains before dropping down to Nice on the coast. Full results and classifications to come right here. Thanks for joining us today!
Stage 6 Results
1 Menchov Denis Ibb 4h 52' 22"
2 Sanchez Samuel Eus m.t.
3 Landis Floyd Usp m.t.
4 Bruylandts Dave Cho m.t.
5 Kirchen Kim Fas 00' 24"
6 Vandenbroucke Frank Fas m.t.
7 Rebellin Davide Gst m.t.
8 Jaksche Jorg Csc m.t.
9 Landaluze Inigo Eus m.t.
10 Pereiro Sio Oscar Pho m.t.
11 Hincapie George Usp m.t.
12 Rogers Michael Qsd m.t.
13 Zuelle Alex Pho m.t.
14 Brochard Laurent A2r 00' 39"
15 Leipheimer Levi Rab m.t.
16 Gonzalez Gorka Eus m.t.
17 Serrano Marcos Lst m.t.
18 Contador Alberto Lst m.t.
19 Voigt Jens Csc m.t.
20 Schleck Frank Csc m.t.
21 Julich Bobby Csc m.t.
22 Galparsoro Dionisio Eus m.t.
23 Basso Ivan Csc m.t.
24 Sinkewitz Patrik Qsd m.t.
25 Azevedo José Usp m.t.
26 Karpets Vladimir Ibb m.t.
27 Hamilton Tyler Pho m.t.
28 Van De Walle Jurgen Cho 01' 29"
29 Bartoli Michele Csc m.t.
30 Noval Gonzalez Benjamin Usp m.t.
31 Fofonov Dmitriy Cof m.t.
32 Vasseur Cédric Cof 01' 53"
33 Poilvet Benoit C.a 02' 44"
34 Chavanel Sylvain Blb m.t.
35 Ekimov Vjatceslav Usp m.t.
36 Tankink Bram Qsd m.t.
37 Zberg Beat Gst m.t.
38 Nozal Isidro Lst m.t.
39 Pellizotti Franco Alb 03' 54"
40 Löwik Gerben Cho 04' 18"
41 Cioni Dario Fas 04' 18"
42 Gilbert Philippe Fdj 04' 24"
43 Davis Allan Lst m.t.
44 Verbrugghe Rik Lot m.t.
45 Lastras Pablo Ibb m.t.
46 Horrillo Pedro Qsd m.t.
47 Werner Christian Mob m.t.
48 Verheyen Geert Cho m.t.
49 Rinero Christophe Rag m.t.
50 Lövkvist Thomas Fdj m.t.
51 Hiekmann Torsten Mob m.t.
52 Miholjevic Vladimir Alb m.t.
53 Aerts Mario Mob m.t.
54 Brard Florent Cho m.t.
55 Hulsmans Kevin Qsd m.t.
56 Pena Victor Hugo Usp m.t.
57 Totschnig Georg Gst m.t.
58 Ramirez Javier Lst m.t.
59 Arrizabalaga Gorka Eus m.t.
60 Dessel Cyril Pho m.t.
61 Kashechkin Andrey C.a m.t.
62 Moller Claus Michael Alb m.t.
63 Moos Alexandre Pho m.t.
64 Zandio Xabier Ibb m.t.
65 Caucchioli Pietro Alb m.t.
66 Moncoutie David Cof m.t.
67 Cuesta Inigo Cof m.t.
68 Cancellara Fabian Fas m.t.
69 Dumoulin Samuel A2r 06' 42"
70 Buffaz Mickaël Rag 06' 42"
71 Casar Sandy Fdj 06' 42"
72 Schnider Daniel Pho 06' 42"
73 Halgand Patrice C.a 06' 58"
74 Merckx Axel Lot 10' 08"
75 Sunderland Scott Alb m.t.
76 Dekker Erik Rab m.t.
77 Le Mevel Christophe C.a m.t.
78 Scholz Ronny Gst 11' 08"
79 Ziegler Thomas Gst 11' 08"
80 Virenque Richard Qsd 12' 29"
81 Beneteau Walter Blb 12' 29"
82 Zabriskie David Usp 15' 23"
83 Osa Aitor Ibb 15' 23"
84 Joachim Benoit Usp 15' 38"
85 Reynes Vicente Ibb 16' 35"
86 Cretskens Wilfried Qsd m.t.
87 Ongarato Alberto Fas m.t.
88 Irizar Markel Eus m.t.
89 Serpellini Marco Gst m.t.
90 Etxebarria Unai Eus m.t.
91 Hunter Robert Rab m.t.
92 Blaudzun Michaël Csc m.t.
93 Gonzalez Galdeano Alvaro Lst m.t.
94 De Groot Bram Rab m.t.
95 Boonen Tom Qsd m.t.
96 Vierhouten Aart Lot m.t.
97 De Weert Kevin Rab m.t.
98 Hushovd Thor C.a m.t.
99 Hayman Mathew Rab m.t.
100 Wegmann Fabian Gst m.t.
101 Krivtsov Yuriy A2r m.t.
102 Auger Guillaume Rag m.t.
103 Piatek Zbigniew Cho m.t.
104 Sanchez Luis Lst m.t.
105 Baranowski Dariusz Lst m.t.
106 Lequatre Geoffroy C.a m.t.
107 Rastelli Ellis Alb m.t.
108 Salmon Benoit C.a m.t.
109 White Matthew Cof m.t.
110 Belohvosciks Raivis Cho m.t.
111 Vinokourov Alexandre Mob m.t.
112 Scanlon Mark A2r m.t.
113 Jalabert Nicolas Pho m.t.
114 Edaleine Christophe Cof m.t.
115 Lotz Marc Rab m.t.
116 De Clercq Hans Lot m.t.
117 Geslin Anthony Blb m.t.
118 Kessler Matthias Mob m.t.
119 Schreck Stephan Mob m.t.
120 Larsson Gustav Fas m.t.
121 Radochla Steffen Ibb m.t.
122 Wiggins Bradley C.a m.t.
123 Renier Franck Blb m.t.
124 Valjavec Tadej Pho m.t.
125 Guesdon Frédéric Fdj m.t.
126 Da Cruz Carlos Fdj m.t.
127 Rous Didier Blb m.t.
128 Bouyer Franck Blb m.t.
129 Pineau Jérôme Blb m.t.
130 Millar David Cof m.t.
131 Wilson Matthew Fdj m.t.
132 Mutschler Klaus Rag m.t.
133 Piil Jakob Csc m.t.
134 Seigneur Eddy Rag m.t.
135 Le Boulanger Yoann Rag m.t.
136 Berthou Eric Rag m.t.
137 Portal Nicolas A2r m.t.
138 Voeckler Thomas Blb m.t.
Gustov Volodymir Fas Abandon
Nazon Jean-Patrick A2r Abandon
Bessy Frédéric Cof Abandon
Botero Santiago Mob Abandon
Ljungquist Marcus Alb Non Partant
Peers Chris Cho Non Partant
Frigo Dario Fas Non Partant
Goubert Stephane A2r Non Partant
Cooke Baden Fdj Non Partant
Niermann Grischa Rab Non Partant
General Classification after Stage 6
1 Jaksche Jorg Csc 19h 42' 49"
2 Rebellin Davide Gst 00' 14"
3 Julich Bobby Csc 00' 42"
4 Voigt Jens Csc 00' 46"
5 Hincapie George Usp 00' 48"
6 Vandenbroucke Frank Fas 00' 58"
7 Pereiro Sio Oscar Pho 01' 00"
8 Rogers Michael Qsd 01' 08"
9 Schleck Frank Csc 01' 35"
10 Azevedo José Usp 01' 45"
11 Basso Ivan Csc 01' 52"
12 Bartoli Michele Csc 02' 02"
13 Van De Walle Jurgen Cho 02' 36"
14 Noval Gonzalez Benjamin Usp 02' 59"
15 Zberg Beat Gst 04' 01"
16 Tankink Bram Qsd 04' 19"
17 Chavanel Sylvain Blb 04' 34"
18 Horrillo Pedro Qsd 05' 37"
19 Cancellara Fabian Fas 05' 43"
20 Hiekmann Torsten Mob 05' 50"
21 Landis Floyd Usp 05' 54"
22 Sanchez Samuel Eus 06' 07"
24 Menchov Denis Ibb 06' 10"
32 Leipheimer Levi Rab 07' 21"
33 Zuelle Alex Pho 07' 26"
61 Dekker Erik Rab 16' 12"
62 Hamilton Tyler Pho 16' 35"
77 Vinokourov Alexandre Mob 21' 51"
Points after Stage 6
1 Jaksche Jorg Csc 73pts
2 Rebellin Davide Gst 72pts
3 Voigt Jens Csc 60pts
4 Bartoli Michele Csc 40pts
5 Vandenbroucke Frank Fas 38pts
6 Hincapie George Usp 37pts
7 Pereiro Sio Oscar Pho 34pts
8 Kirchen Kim Fas 33pts
9 Zberg Beat Gst 32pts
10 Menchov Denis Ibb 31pts
11 Vinokourov Alexandre Mob 30pts
12 Julich Bobby Csc 30pts
13 Sanchez Samuel Eus 29pts
14 Ziegler Thomas Gst 27pts
15 Hushovd Thor C.A 26pts
16 Horrillo Pedro Qsd 25pts
17 Löwik Gerben Cho 23pts
18 Zuelle Alex Pho 23pts
19 Vierhouten Aart Lot 23pts
20 Landis Floyd Usp 22pts
Climber after Stage 6
1 Osa Aitor Ibb 42pts
2 Ziegler Thomas Gst 32pts
3 Belohvosciks Raivis Cho 16pts
4 Contador Alberto Lst 16pts
5 Menchov Denis Ibb 12pts
6 Sanchez Samuel Eus 10pts
7 Baranowski Dariusz Lst 9pts
8 Portal Nicolas A2r 8pts
9 Piil Jakob Csc 7pts
10 Landis Floyd Usp 6pts
Best Young Rider after Stage 6
1 Rogers Michael Qsd 19h 43' 57"
2 Schleck Frank Csc 00' 27"
3 Noval Gonzalez Benjamin Usp 01' 51"
4 Chavanel Sylvain Blb 03' 26"
5 Cancellara Fabian Fas 04' 35"
6 Hiekmann Torsten Mob 04' 42"
7 Gilbert Philippe Fdj 04' 59"
8 Karpets Vladimir Ibb 05' 58"
9 Contador Alberto Lst 06' 56"
10 Sinkewitz Patrik Qsd 09' 49"
Teams Classification after Stage 6
1 Team CSC Csc 59h 10' 14"
2 US Postal - Berry Floor Usp 01' 20"
3 Quick Step - Davitamon Qsd 05' 23"
4 Phonak Hearing Systems Pho 09' 19"
5 Chocolade Jacques Wincor Cho 09' 32"
6 Fassa Bortolo Fas 11' 20"
7 Gerolsteiner Gst 13' 26"
8 Euskaltel - Euskadi Eus 17' 49"
9 Credit Agricole C.a 19' 59"
10 Liberty Seguros Lst 21' 44"
11 Illes Balears - B. Santander Ibb 22' 06"
12 T-Mobile Team Mob 25' 10"
13 Alessio - Bianchi Alb 29' 40"
14 Fdjeux.Com Fdj 31' 16"
15 Cofidis Credit Par Telephone Cof 32' 23"
16 Rabobank Rab 33' 32"
17 Brioches La Boulangere Blb 45' 20"
18 AG2R Prevoyance A2r 46' 20"
19 Lotto - Domo Lot 47' 04"
20 R.A.G.T. Semences - MG Rover Rag 59' 24"