Thursday July 4th, 2013

Stage 6Aix-en-Provence / Montpellier

Start 13h20 GMT 2+

Impey creates history on a day Greipel takes the win

Stage summary04.07.2013Stage 6- Aix-en-Provence / Montpellier

For the first time since the stage to Alpe d'Huez in 2008, one team-mate has passed the yellow jersey of the Tour de France to another team-mate. Simon Gerrans had two glorious days in the lead of the 100th edition but in the final kilometre of the 176.5km stage that finished in Montpellier, he watched on as his South African team-mate Daryl Impey raced ahead to 13th place and thus the lead in the general classification. It happened in the same city where a South African first won a stage of the Tour - Robbie Hunter in 2007 - and although the Australian stage winner in Calvi is out of the lead, the 'maillot jaune' remains in his team.
While that GC order was being determined by minor places, the sprinters were vying for line honours on a hot and windy day when only one rider dared try to escape the bunch. Luis Maté's earned an hour of pain with his early attack but once he was caught it was an anxious ride to the city that South Africans will remember well. Lotto-Belisol may have lost its general classification specialist Jurgen van den Broeck who didn't start because of injuries sustained in a crash yesterday but the Belgian team is celebrating success. André Greipel polished off a stunning lead-out by masters of the art like Marcel Sieberg, Greg Henderson, Adam Hansen and Frederik Willems. The German champion came off the wheel of his colleagues and no one had the power to get around him.

The progress report
The sun shone brightly for the sixth stage of the 2013 Tour de France, a race from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier. The wind was strong at the start and the threat of echelons would have been on the minds of the 193 riders who remained in the race. Jurgen van den Broeck (LTB) and Maxime Bouet (ALM) were the non-starters as they suffered injuries sustained in crashes in stage five. The official start of the stage that featured only one categorised climb was at 1.19pm. Immediately one rider attacked... but no one else bothered to chase after Luis Maté of the Cofidis team – nonetheless the Spaniard was committed to his escape. At 12km he was 3'40” ahead. The maximum advantage for Maté was 5'30” at 19km and then the Orica-GreenEdge team moved to the front of the bunch. The average speed for the first hour was 38.9km/h. The escape was over at 44km. Quintana (MOV) crashed around the 55km mark but remounted quickly and rejoined the peloton.

Chasing sprint points: quick feeding...
After Maté was caught the peloton was led mainly by Orica and Omega riders but BMC and Cannondale also had a presence. Two kilometres before the intermediate sprint, Lotto moved up and the sprinters darted ahead in the final 500m. Greipel led Cavendish, Kristoff and Sagan to the line. It is the fourth time out of five intermediate sprints that the German champion has led the peloton over the line for this prime. The average speed for the second hour was 41.7km/h. There were no attacks after the capture of Maté but Siutsou (SKY) led over the only climb to take one point. By this point, Bouhanni (FDJ) who has been suffering a gastric problem since stage five was 2'00” behind; he eventually quit the race at the 84km mark. Quintana (MOV) crashed at 55km but quickly rejoined the peloton. Rodriguez (KAT) also crashed – at 82km – but quickly remounted his bike. The bunch raced through the feedzone at 60km/h (with the assistance of a tailwind) and it was Omega Pharma-Quickstep that was at the front. At 90km, Kessiakoff (AST) abandoned.

Cavendish another leader caught in crash
With 35km to go, in Lunel, there was a touch of wheels and Cavendish (OPQ) was one of the riders involved. He quickly remounted his bike and rejoined the peloton with 27km to go. Saxo-Tinkoff put four riders on the front and they were drag racing BMC and Sky to ensure that they had a place at the front of the peloton. With 11km to go, Brajkovic crashed he stayed on the road for a long time but eventually he remounted.

Greipel takes a fifth Tour victory
The drag race of GC team continued effectively through to the 3km to go mark but then the sprinters' teams took control at the front of the peloton. Omega Pharma had done a lot of work but they were replaced by Argos-Shimano from 3km to 2km to go, but then Lotto-Belisol dominated the front and they netted the reward they sought: a stage victory. André Greipel opened up the sprint on the right-hand side of the road and never came under threat... Cavendish was poised to strike but he just couldn't come around the German champion who relegated Sagan (CAN) to the runner-up position for the third time in the 2013 Tour.

Impey takes the yellow jersey from Gerrans
Inside the final kilometre, the yellow jersey could be seen leading out his South African team-mate. Gerrans eventually eased the pace and it was clear that he was content to finish move than seven places behind Daryl Impey. The 28-year-old finished 13th in the stage (for the second successive day) and Gerrans was 48th – which means Impey took the lead of GC, 3” ahead of yesterday's runner-up Boasson Hagen (SKY).
Impey is the first South African to lead the Tour de France and the fourth yellow jersey of the 100th Tour.

Stage 6 Aix-en-Provence / Montpellier

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 14

Classifications after the stage 14

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