- The race 2011
- All about the race
This is a day for Sky to celebrate. Their Norwegian wünderkind has delivered and the British team has now won a stage of the Tour de France. The top 10 in stage six is: 1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) SKY - 226.5km in 5h13’37" 2. Matt Goss (AUS) THR 3. Thor Hushovd (NOR) GRM 4. Romain Feillu (FRA) VCD 5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) MOV 6. Arthur Vichot (FRA) FDJ 7. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) OLO 8. Gerald Cioleck (GER) QST 9. Marco Mercato (ITA) VCD 10. Arnold Jeannesson (FRA) FDJ
The rider who attacked with 800m to go yesterday has been more patient today. Edvald Boasson Hagen has won his first Tour stage and the first for his Sky team. He held off a fast finish from Goss and Hushovd.
Vinokourov tried an attack but now there’s a move from Rabobank but Thomas is right on his wheel. The sprint is about to begin with about 50 riders represented...
Millar is ahead of Evans ahead of Thomas ahead of EBH ahead of Gilbert ahead of Rojas ahead of Goss as they race to the final kilometer...
Voeckler is in the lead with 2km to go in the stage. he has a lead of about 100 meters and has Vanendert right on his wheel. It’s raining but the sun is shining... we wait to see who responds from the peloton.
Vanendert of the Omega Pharma team is off the front but he is now being chased down by Voeckler with Contador lingering just behind...
Vinokourov is turning up near the front of the bunch. Evans has been there for 50km. The HTC team has Martin and Goss present... but Malori has been caught so now it’s time for the HTC team to jump into action. They have Velits, Martin and Goss at the front...
Leipheimer has just slid along a safety barrier on the side of the road. This is how some riders have sliced their legs up in the past but the American appears to have survived with little more than embarrassment and lost time in the finale of the sixth stage. He’s racing again...
Malori can be seen by the peloton. The Italian is looking behind and he is just 12" ahead with 5km to go.
BMC has been riding alongside Omega Pharma at the front of the peloton that’s now 15" behind Malori. Ivan Basso and a Liquigas team-mate are now alongside the rider in the polka-dot jersey, Evans.
Lang is tearing up the road with compatriot Sieberg on his wheel They are now starting to eat into Malori’s advantage: 25" separates the leader from the hungry peloton that’s only 6.5km from the finish at the top of a hill in Lisieux.
Malori (LAM) is not giving in. He’s been 35" ahead of the bunch for the last 10 kilometers and he’s just been voted the most aggressive rider in the stage. He will get a red dossard for the seventh stage and a few kisses from the podium girls this afternoon...
Roux’s effort was a cute one that lasted 3.5km. He is now back in the bunch with 10km to go.
Grischa Niermann of the Rabobank team has just copped a flat rear tire...
The Omega Pharma team is now at the front of the bunch. The HTC team has retreated a little after having spent about 40km in the wind. Malori is holding on to his lead of 35" on the peloton while Roux remains hovering just ahead of the pack that barely even noticed that he attacked.
Roux has been nestled in the peloton for 40km and now he’s going on the attack again. He is 30" behind Malori and the peloton is a further 5" back.
Malori is out of the saddle and fighting his bike to try and stay ahead. The BMC and HTC teams are at the front of the peloton and, for the moment, the rain has stopped. The lone rider at the front has an advantage of 37".
It’s a time trial for the young Lampre rider who is less than 16km from the finish. His lead is just 35" and his chances of lasting all the way are slim but he is down in the drops and doing all he can in the filthy wet conditions on the road to Lisieux.
As rain begins to pour at the finish, Westra is caught by the peloton and Malori remains on his own at the front of the stage.
That’s it for Westra. He’s not at all interested in chasing an attack from Malori who has attacked with 18.5km to go. He is 25" ahead of the peloton.
Westra and Malori are in Livarot, 20km from the end of the stage. They are just 35" ahead of the peloton that is exercising caution on the corners of what is a very wet road...
The HTC team is getting support from riders from Movistar with 22km to go. The bunch is 55" behind Malori and Westra.
Katusha has to replace the rear wheel for Vladimir Gusev who is the latest rider to get a flat tire.
The two escapees are inside the final 25km of the stage. Bak and Velits are the two HTC riders swapping off at the front of the bunch that’s 1’05" behind Malori and Westra.
Navarro and Contador have swapped bikes again and the Saxo Bank pair are making their way back to through the convoy of team cars and to the peloton that continues to be led by HTC riders. Oh yeah, and it’s raining again...
In 2008, when the world championships were contested in Varese, Italy, the Lampre rider who has been on the attack today - Adriano Malori - won the under-23 TT title.
The Italian in the lead of the stage, Adriano Malori was the last rider in the general classification at the Tour de France in 2010.
The leaders are over the third climb of the stage. Westra led Malori over the line.
Contador has recently stopped to change bikes. He took one from a team-mate and is already back in the bunch. Navarro is the rider who swapped bikes with his team leader.
The escapees are inside the final 30km of the stage. Which means that Malori and Westra are about to contest the dash for climbing points at the cote du Billot (29.5km from the finish).
Astana, BMC and HTC are the squads that have taken charge of the pace setting at the front of the bunch which is 1’45" behind Malori and Westra.
There are five riders from the HTC team at the front of the bunch: Bak and Eisel are doing the work even though both Renshaw and Cavendish are no longer part of the front peloton.
There is 2’20" between the leading pair and the peloton that’s being led by riders from the HTC team.
There has been a split in the bunch lately with the dropped riders including Mark Cavendish (THR), Sylvain Chavanel (QST), Jeremy Roy (FDJ), Mark Renshaw (THR), Sergio Paulinho (RSH), Ivan Santaromita (BMC)... there are about 20 in the grupetto...
Duque (COF) has also been swallowed up by the peloton. This means that only Malori and Westra remain at the front of the stage. They have a lead of 2’35".
There was a suggestion yesterday from the HTC team that the finish today might suit Tony Martin. Apparently the German was being convinced that he would win the in Lisieux if he attacked 800m from the finish. The finale is far from flat and the rise at the end is likely to eliminate some of the sprinters from the equation so perhaps today is a day for the TT specialist from Germany.
Westra (VCD) and Malori (LAM) are getting close to the cote du Billot. This is a 1.3km long ascent with an average gradient of 6.5 per cent. The top is 29.5km from the finish.
Malori and Westra are 2’30" ahead of Duque and 3’00" ahead of the peloton.
Lars Bak of the HTC team is on the front of the peloton. The Danish rider is part of the train that, today, is said to be working for Matt Goss - at least that’s what Allan Peiper has told LeTour.fr earlier today... we’ll wait to see if the Milan-San Remo winner - and the rest of the peloton - catches the escapees before we start considering who the stage winner might be. We can report, however, that Hoogerland has just been caught by the peloton.
The peloton is 3’00" behind the two stage leaders. Anthony Roux - who started today’s escape at the 6km mark, has just stopped for a toilet break while he waits for the peloton...
The recently crowned Italian time trial champion is Adriano Malori. He continues to share the workload at the front of the stage with Lieuwe ’The Beast’ Westra who launched an attack from the escape group with 60km to go. This pair is now 1’45" ahead of the remnants of their group which is just 1’00" ahead of the peloton.
Malori and Westra have a lead of 45" to the other three escapees and 2’15" to the peloton.
Thor Hushovd is at the back of the peloton and signaling for the team car.
The fourth hour of stage six was raced at an average speed of 40.6km/h. The average for the first four hours is 42.1km/h.
Malori and Westra lead Roux, Duque and Hoogerland by 15" and the peloton by 1’35".
Westra and Malori have an eight second lead over their former escape companions.
The attack from Westra came with 60km to go in the stage. He and Malori now leads Duque, Roux and Hoogerland by a couple of hundred meters.
There has been an attack from Westra at the front of the stage. He is marked by Malori but the other three are not able to respond.
Four Astana riders are now at the front of the bunch which is less than two minutes behind Roux’s quintet. The FDJ rider is no longer the virtual leader of the Tour... There are 60km to go in the stage and the escape began at the 6km mark.
The question of the day on the official site of the Tour de France (LeTour.fr) is: Do you believe that Philippe Gilbert can win the green jersey in 2011? With over 3,500 votes submitted, it’s too close to call yet - 48.45% believe the Belgian champion will win the points classification; 51.55% believe he won’t. If you haven’t yet cast your vote, be sure to do so before the end of the stage...
One of the Dutchmen in the escape is likely to make an appearance on the podium at the end of the stage. Hoogerland now has four points in the climbing classification, twice as many as the current polka-dot jersey - Cadel Evans (BMC).
At the top of the second climb, the peloton is 2’35" behind Roux’s quintet.
The race is slightly inland from the city of Caen that hosted the finish of the fifth stage of the 2006 Tour. The top five of the sprint five years ago was: 1. Oscar Freire 2. Tom Boonen 3. Inaki Isasi 4. David Kopp 5. Robbie McEwen
The result of the cote de Bourg-d’Ouilly is: 1. Anthony Roux (FDJ) 2pts 2. Johnny Hoogerland (VCD) 1pt Duque was the third rider of the line that is situation 70km from the finish of the sixth stage.
There was a tranquil tempo until 400m from the line and then, from the front, Roux launched his bid for two points... and won!
This time Hoogerland is refraining from a long attack for points. He is alongside Roux, Malori, Westra and Duque as they get to within 500m of the second summit.
The leaders are on the second climb of the stage so we can expect to see Hoogerland launch another attack soon... this is a 2.7km long ascent with an average gradient of 5.6 per cent.
Jens Voigt and Maxime Monfort have arrived at the front of the peloton. There are also riders from Movistar riding in the wind as the bunch reduces the advantage of the escape to just 2’40".
The leader of the Rabobank team is clearly fed up with having to return to the team car for new wheels or a bike change. Gesink has stopped again to get a new bike and he just discarded the used Giant as though it was little more than a nuisance to him. He’s back on a replacement bike and is riding again along with several Rabobank team-mates.
Okay, there are other things to talk about than the weather but today it hasn’t merely been small talk: as the race goes in and out of showers, the conditions have had the potential to cause problems with slippery roads and more punctures in the wet... but there have been few incidents - especially when compared with yesterday. Now the sun is shining and we’ll refrain from further commentary on the weather unless it really changes in the final 75km of the stage.
With the peloton at the 145km mark, it is 3’25" behind the five escapees.
It’s been wet then dry, wet then dry... and now the sun is shining brightly on the peloton that is speeding towards the next climb of the stage, 4’55" behind the escape that is 83km from the finish.
The lead-out and the sprint in Vassy prompted the advantage of the escapees to drop from 6’10" to 5’10" in 5km... the bunch is now speeding along at a rapid pace and this has caused a split in the bunch. In the second group is the leader of the Liquigas team, Ivan Basso. There doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency for others who are now taking the chance to take a toilet stop on the side of the road.
Gesink has stopped to get a new wheel just after the intermediate sprint. He has a couple of Rabobank team-mates dropping back to help him rejoin the peloton.
The points for the intermediate sprint in stage six have been won by: 1. Roux (FDJ) 20pts 2. Duque (COF) 17pts 3. Westra (VCD) 15pts 4. Malori (LAM) 13pts 5. Hoogerland (VCD) 11pts 6. Cavendish (THR) 10pts 7. Rojas (MOV) 9pts 8. Farrar (GRM) 8pts 9. Renshaw (THR) 7pts 10. Gilbert (OLO) 6pts 11. Petacchi (LAM) 5pts 12. Delage (FDJ) 4pts 13. Ventoso (MOV) 3pts 14. Eisel (THR) 2pts 15. Moinard (BMC) 1pt
The lead to the line in the peloton was much more controlled than yesterday. Cavendish easily claimed the 10 points for sixth place... (Full results to follow shortly.)
There are four Movistar riders at the front of the bunch, followed by four HTC, followed by Gilbert in the green jersey. They have less than 1km to go before crossing the sprint line in Vassy.
Going on the tradition of the last few stages, the advantage of the escapees is likely to drop significantly in the next few minutes. The peloton is 6’10" behind at the moment but with the intermediate sprint luring teams like Movistar forward we can expect another exciting bout of action.
The results of the first few riders over the Vassy intermediate sprint is: 1. Anthony Roux (FDJ) 20pts 2. Leonardo Duque (COF) 17pts 3. Lieuwe Westra (VCD) 15pts 4. Adriano Malori (LAM) 13pts 5. Johnny Hoogerland VCD) 11pts
The momentary lapse of wet weather is over. It’s now pouring down again as Duque hits out to take sprint points. The Colombian was overtaken by Roux in the final 50 meters in Vassy.
The average speed for the third hour is significantly slower than the first: just 36.6km/h. The average for the for three hours combined is 42.6km/h.
The rain is holding off at the moment and the leading five are on dry roads. The peloton too has dry conditons but there is still plenty of spray, enough to prompt Hushovd to put a yellow rainvest over his ’maillot jaune’.
The five escapees are at the 126km mark. They have 5km to go before contested the race for 20 points at the intermediate sprint in Vassy. The peloton is 10km from the sprint (ie. 5km behind which translates to a time deficit of 7’45").
LeTour.fr has recently spoken with Didier Rous of the Cofidis team to get his thoughts on the stage. "Tony Gallopin was good yesterday," said the Frenchman. "He’s not a real sprinter but when the finish is difficult he has a good chance. He proved that in Cap Fréhel yesterday [when he finished fourth] and today is also far from a standard sprint finish so he could get in the mix again." Gallopin is not the only card Cofidis has to play as the team has Leonardo Duque in the escape. "It could be interesting because the escape has gained a good advantage," said Rous, "and it has taken a while for the peloton to instigate a chase. "The good thing is that the riders at the front haven’t been destroying themselves to stay ahead so they still have some energy in reserve... there’s a small chance that the move could say away and if that’s the case it’s good for Leonardo."
There are two American riders - Danny Pate (THR) and Dave Zabriskie (GRM) - on the front of the peloton that’s now 8’40" behind the five escapees. They are enjoying a little ray of sunshine now in what has otherwise been a rather wet day of racing.
The leaders are around the halfway mark of this long stage. The maximum gain was 11’35" at the top of the first climb and now we see Garmin and HTC riders at the front of the bunch. Someone from HTC has recently punctured but the DS Allan Peiper has recently told LeTour.fr that the team that won yesterday is going to try and set things up for Matt Goss in Lisieux. We expect to hear from Peiper again soon but first he must tend to the rider with a flat tire...
We can see the influence of the chase now. The advantage of the escapees has dropped from 10’35" to 9’45" at the 112km mark. Hoogerland, from the lead group, has recently punctured but he’s got a new wheel and is racing to rejoin the other four escapees.
This peloton is yet to arrive at the top of the first climb but we can report that the HTC and Garmin teams are at the front. The advantage of the escapees, now that Hoogerland has returned to the lead group (after a brief attack) is 11’25". This is the biggest advantage of an escape so far in this year’s Tour.
The points for the first climb were won by: 1. Johnny Hoogerland (VCD) 2pts 2. Anthony Roux (FDJ) 1pt
Hoogerland is the virtual leader of the climbing classification. He took two points for the first climb of the sixth stage, added to the one he collected in stage three he has one more than the rider in the polka-dot jersey, Cadel Evans.
Hoogerland is determined to take the two points for first on the climb. He is out of the saddle and speeding ahead of his former escape companions. He has less than 1km to go before the top of the cote de Saint-Michel-de-Monjoie.
Hoogerland is likely to take the points for first place on the first climb. The other four are chasing him but the Dutchman is holding on to an advantage of about 100 meters as he nears the top.
On the approach to the first climb, Hoogerland has attacked the lead group. The cote de Saint Michel de Montjoie a 2.4km long ascent with an average gradient of 5.9 per cent.
There are three climbs in the stage today, two category-three (with two and one point on offer for the first two over the line) and one category-four. Johnny Hoogerland is one rider with climbing points already. He only needs to acquire two more points and he can inherit the polka-dot jersey from Cadel Evans (BMC). The first climb is 10km away...
With the peloton at 86km, it is 10’15" behind Roux, Malori, Westra, Hoogerland and Duque.
The roads in the Manche department are slippery from the torrential rain that is falling on the riders as they approach the halfway mark of this, the longest stage of the 2011 Tour.
The average for the second hour of stage six is 41.8km/h. The average for the first two hours is 45.6km/h.
Although Garmin is lifting the pace of the peloton, the escapees are not conceding easily. If the chase goes faster, so too does the leading quintet who are now 9’15" ahead.
With the maximum gain of the escape 9’10" at the 69km mark, the Garmin team is now on the front of the bunch and instigating a chase in wet conditions. The latest time check has the escapees 7’45" ahead at the 78km mark.
The rider who instigated the escape today is the 24-year-old FDJ rider, Anthony Roux. He first contested a Grand Tour in 2009 when he went to the Vuelta a España and duly won a stage... holding off a charge by the sprinters, he beat compatriot William Bonnet and German sprint specialist André Greipel in Talavera de la Reina in stage 17.
Anthony Roux is contesting the Tour for the second successive year. He turned pro in 2008 with the Française des Jeux team and he’s still on the roster of the French squad. His best result in the 2010 Tour was 12th in stage 18 (that finished in Bordeaux).
Of the five in the lead, none have previously won a stage of the Tour de France. Leonardo Duque (COF) was consistently in the top 10 of sprint stages in the 2008 race - his first appearance - when he was 10th in stage two, seventh in stage five, eighth in stage 12, seventh in stage 13, second in stage 14, sixth in stage 19, and ninth in stage 21... The Colombian also scored two top 10 finishes in 2009 but he didn’t contest the Tour last year.
The winner of the green jersey in 2010, Alessandro Petacchi has earned only seven points in that classification after five stages of the 2011 Tour. He was 12th in the intermediate sprint of stage one and 13th in the intermediate sprint yesterday when he punctured his front tire just beforehand. “What a pity!” exclaimed the Italian veteran. “I’m sad because my team-mates supported me in the best way and I could not give them a good result. “A decrease of the speed in the final kilometers took away again my chances of obtaining a good result."
The direction of the Tour de France has decided to exclude the motorbike rider (#509) from the rest of the race after he caused an accident that involved Nicki Sorensen (SBS) in stage five. While performing a passing manoeuvre in the middle of the stage, the motorbike got too close to the peloton and it caused Sorensen’s bike to get tangled up with the motorbike, sending the crashing to the ground while his bike was towed about 200 meters up the road. “Luckily, I’m okay and am able to ride again tomorrow,” Sorensen said after the stage.
Rain has started to fall on the race. It’s particularly wet now and the escapees are 9’10" ahead of the peloton at the 66km mark.
The peloton race is near the town of Avranches in the Manche department. This is where Bradley McGee won a stage of the 2002 Tour with a surprise move that had been considered in a team meeting on the morning of the race. Although his Française des Jeux team had a sprint specialist in its midst with Baden Cooke - the future winner of the green jersey (in 2003) - the French manager, Marc Madiot suggest that the slight uphill finish was ideal for an escape in the last kilometer. The future directeur sportif of the Saxo Bank team followed Madiot’s orders to perfection, launching a big attack one kilometer before the finish. The Mapei team had also thought of the same tactic and the Australian had to dig deep to reel in an earlier move from Pedro Horillo but he achieved his first stage victory in the Tour de France with panache.
Tyler Farrar has stopped at the back of the peloton to get some mechanical assistance.
If the stage was to stop now, four of the five men in the lead would find themselves at the top of the general classification. The peloton is now 8’30" behind Roux’s quintet. The Frenchman from FDJ is the best placed of the leaders after five stages.
Just a few days before the sixth anniversary of the passing of Amy Gillett, another accident has claimed the life of an Australian cyclist. Carly Hibberd was involved in a crash while training in Italy yesterday. "Everyone in the cycling community is feeling the loss and our thoughts and sympathy are with her family and her fiance," said Cycling Australia CEO Graham Fredericks. "Carly was following her cycling dream in Italy, doing what she loved to do and enjoying life. Sadly that dream has ended." The 26-year-old from Sherwood in Queensland was on a training ride north of Milan on Wednesday morning Italian time when she was struck by a car. Emergency services flew to the scene by helicopter but were unable to save her and she died at the scene.
The five escapees - Roux, Duque, Malori, Westra and Hoogerland - are 8’05" ahead of the peloton at 56km. This is the biggest advantage of an escape so far in the 98th Tour de France.
Here is a summary of the winners of the longest stage of the Tour de France in recent years:
2010: Stage 06 – Montargis to Gueugnon, 227.5km. 1st: Mark Cavendish (40.42km/h)
2009: Stage 07 – Barcelona to Arcalis, 224km. 1st: Brice Feillu (36.18km/h)
2008: Stage 05 – Cholet to Chateauroux, 232km. 1st: Mark Cavendish (42.46km/h)
2007: Stage 03 – Waregem to Compiegne, 236.5km. 1st: Fabian Cancellara (35.81km/h)
2006: Stage 02 – Obernai to Esch-sur-Alzette, 228.5km. 1st: Robbie McEwen (40.78km/h)
The five escapees are now 7’00" ahead of the peloton. This is not yet the biggest gain of an escape in the 2011 race but we can expect to see the advantage grow as it doesn’t appear that any one team in the peloton is interested in setting up the chase... not quite yet anyway.
The six-time winner of the Tour’s points classification, Erik Zabel (GER) celebrates his 41st birthday today. The first time he won a stage of the race – and he won a total of 12 during his career – he turned 25. The former rider is now a consultant with the HTC-Highroad team.
In the 2002 edition of the Ruban Granitier Breton (Tour of Brittany) Alberto Contador was ninth overall and the winner of the best young rider classification. Since then he hasn’t raced in this region of France… until this year’s Tour. The organiser of the race that’s contested each May, Christophe Fossani, visited the Saxo Bank-SunGard bus in Dinan (where the Tour of Brittany finished in 2002) to show Contador some photos of him in the early days of what has become a remarkable career. The Danish team invited him to be a guest in its second car in the convoy for the sixth stage.
The leaders are relishing the tailwind conditions. They have covered 49.4km in the first hour of racing in stage six.
There are five Europcar riders at the front of the bunch but it would be wrong to suggest that they are leading the chase. Instead they just roll along as other riders emerge near the front only to pull over to the side of the road and answer the call of nature. The bunch is 5’45" behind at the 44km mark.
The question we’re asking as part of a daily poll on the official site of the Tour de France relates to the points classification. We want to know: Do you believe that Philippe Gilbert can win the green jersey in 2011? Make sure you click the "yes" or "no" button and let us know your thoughts.
The peloton is 4’20" behind the escapees at the 40km mark. The average for the first hour is sure to be the fastest of the 2011 Tour...
The images of the stage are bound to be spectacular with the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey sure to feature. This is near the 49km mark of the stage today.
Anthony Roux (FDJ) is now the virtual leader of the general classification. His quintet is 3’30" ahead of the peloton. He started the stage ranked 50th overall, 2’25" behind Hushovd.
The peloton is racing along the coastline near the famous abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel. A stage of the 1990 Tour concluded there and the winner was Johan Museeuw (ahead of Guido Bontempi, Olaf Ludwig and Davis Phinney). This is the place with the small population that has hosted a stage finish of the Tour de France.
With the peloton at the 35km mark, it is 2’40" behind the five escapees.
There are now a number of riders in the peloton answer the call of nature. The next time check is likely to have Roux’s quintet well clear of the bunch.
The ever-aggressive Russian Katusha rider, Mikhail Ignatiev is one rider who recently attempted to bridge the gap to the five escapees but he has been chased down by the bunch.
There are now five men ahead of the peloton that’s now at the 29km mark. The escapees, and their position on the GC after five stages are:
Anthony Roux (FRA) FDJ - 50th overall (at 2’25")
Leonardo Duque (COL) COF - 92nd overall (at 5’07")
Johnny Hoogerland (NED) VCD - 94th overall (at 5’31")
Adriano Malori (ITA) LAM - 101st overall (at 6’26")
Lieuwe Westra (NED) VCD - 160th overall (at 12’12")
Pineau (QST) and Izagirre (EUS) are the latest to try and break free of the peloton. They are 13" ahead of the bunch at the 26km mark. The first at the front of the stage have a lead of 1’03".
Four men, including Chavanel (QST) have attempted to escape the peloton but the bunch is having none of their antics and are speeding up to try and limit the gains of the new French champion and his three companions...
The peloton is 55" behind the five escapees at the 23km mark.
The one intermediate sprint - offering points for the green jersey - is at the 131km mark of today’s stage in Vassy.
The sixth stage features three categorized climbs: the cat-3 Cote de Saint-Michel-de-Montjoie (offering two and one points for the first two over the top, at 99.5km) the cat-3 Cote du Bourg-d’Oilly (at 156.5km), and the cat-4 Cote du Billot (at 197km).
Roux, Duque, Malori, Westra and Hoogerland are the only riders ahead of the peloton at the 19km mark. Both Roelandts and Jeandesboz have been caught by the bunch.
With the peloton 1’15" at the 18km mark, Gilbert (OLO) has called for the team car.
At the 15km mark, this is the situation: Roux (FDJ), Malori (LAM), Duque (COF), Westra and Hoogerland (VCD) lead Jeandesboz (SAU) and Roelandts (OLO) by 50". The peloton is at 1’15".
The five stage leaders have an advantage of 1’00" on the peloton. In between the Roux group and the main pack are two men: Roelandts (OLO) and Jeandesboz (SAU).
There are now five men in the lead of the sixth stage. They are:
Westra (VCD) Roelandts (OLO) attempted to chase down these riders but he’s since been caught by the peloton.
The peloton is now 30" behind the stage leaders at the 12km mark.
The escape today was established in pairs: first came Westra (VCD) and Roux (FDJ) - at the 5km mark. They were joined by Hoogerland (VCD) and Roelandts at 6km. And they’re about to be joined by the third pair - Duque (COF) and Malori (LAM).
Hoogerland, Westra, Duque (COF), Malori (LAM), Roelandts and Roux are the six riders in the escape that is now 1’00" ahead of the peloton.
Contrary to the previous post, there are two men in the front of the stage - Roux (FDJ) and Westra (VCD). They are now being pursued by two others: Roelandts (OLO) and Hoogerland (VCD).
Roelandts (OLO) and Hoogerland (VCD) have established a lead of 35" at the 8.5km mark.
There has been no escape in the first six kilometers of the sixth stage. The pace is fast and just as this message was being typed, two guys tried their luck - Westra and Roux... but the peloton is chasing them down.
With Velasco a non-starter there are now four teams with eight men in the 98th Tour: Euskaltel-Euskadi, RadioShack (which lost Brajkovic because of a crash yesterday), Europcar (as Kern quit around the 50km mark of stage five) and Omega Pharma-Lotto (as Jurgen van de Walle quit two days ago because of injuries sustained in a crash during stage one).
The peloton is still all together early in the sixth stage. Surely it’s only a matter of moments before we see someone attack but, for the moment, no one has managed to escape.
Although there were numerous crashes in the fifth stage, there were (surprisingly) only two men who were forced to abandon the 2011 Tour. Janez Brajkovic (RSH) left the race in an ambulance after a crash at the 70km mark. And this morning the rider who was absent from the sign on was Ivan Velasco of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team. He crashed, broke his collarbone, finished the stage, went to get x-rays… and finally succumbed. There are now 194 riders in the race.
The official start of the sixth stage was at 11.54am. There are now 194 riders in the race. The one rider absent from sign on is Ivan Velasco of the Euskaltel team.
Geraint Thomas (SKY) remains the only rider to have worn the white jersey in the 2011 Tour. He is still on the same time as team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen but the Welshman is seventh overall while the Norwegian is ranked eigthth. Robert Gesink (RAB) crashed in stage five but the Dutchman finished 42nd in the stage with the same time as the winner (Mark Cavendish) and is now third in the youth classification.
Today is the second successive day Cadel Evans has led the climbing classification. He is the only rider with two points – acquired on the Mur-de-Bretagne, where he won the stage. There are five other riders with one point: stage one winner Philippe Gilbert (OLO), an escapee from stage three Mickael Delage (FDJ), another opportunist – from stage four – Johnny Hoogerland (VCD), the youngest rider in the race Anthony Delaplace (SAU) and the triple Tour champion Alberto Contator (SBS).
The peloton is currently riding through the neutral zone in Dinan. The official start of the sixth stage is expected to be at around 11.55am.
Jose Joaquin Rojas (MOV) attended the podium protocol after stage five to be presented with the green jersey but the Spaniard is not actually in the lead of the points classification. He crossed the line for the intermediate sprint in ninth place but was later relegated by the race jury. Tom Boonen (QST) – who was sixth in the sprint – was also relegated because he strayed from his line in the sprint at the 70km mark of stage five. This means that Philippe Gilbert (OLO) is back in the green jersey for stage six. He has 120 points, eight more than Rojas and 30 more than the rider in second overall (and winner of stage four), Cadel Evans (BMC).
After the sprint finish of stage five there was little change to the top order of the general classification. Thor Hushovd (GRM) wears the yellow jersey for the fourth successive day with a lead over Cadel Evans (BMC) of just one second. Frank Schleck (LEO) is ranked third, four seconds behind the world champion. The rider in 16th overall after four stage, Janez Brajkovic (RSH) was the second retirement of the 2011 Tour: the Slovenian crashed at the 71km mark of the fifth stage and abandoned with head injuries and a broken collarbone.
The longest stage of the 2011 Tour de France is due to start at 11.45am. The conditions at the start in Dinan are pleasant with mild temperatures and no rain for the moment. There has, however, been a few drops falling at the of the finish in Lisieux which is 226.5km down the road from where the riders are currently assembling for the departure. There is a 3.8km neutral zone before the peloton arrives at the site of the start proper. Live coverage of the stage will commence shortly.