Mark Cavendish won the bunch gallop in Châteauroux for the third time after 2008 and 2011, beating Jasper Philipsen and Nacer Bouhanni on the line just like in Fougères on stage 4. It’s his 32nd stage win at the Tour de France. Mathieu van der Poel retained the Maillot Jaune.
An impressive flying start
177 riders took the start of stage 6 in Tours at 14.04. Olivier Naesen (AG2R-Citroën) was the first attacker but the second offensive by the Belgian group of the French outfit worked better as a front group of eight riders was formed at km 3, comprising Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroën), Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Fenix), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert). Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) went in between but was brought back by the pack. Sprinters’ teams Groupama-FDJ, Arkea-Samsic and Qhubeka-Nexthash pulled out to bring the breakaway back but Van Avermaet forged on at km 31 to remain alone in the lead.
Van Avermaet and Kluge in the lead
Roger Kluge (Lotto-Soudal) came across to him at km 41. Their advantage was 2’15’’ at that point and remained the maximum of the day. After having covered almost 50km in the first hour of racing, the leading duo was kept on a leash all the way by the Alpecin-Fenix team followed by Deceuninck-Quick Step. Greg Van Avermaet won the only KOM prize of the day at St-Aignan (km 72) and the intermediate sprint at Luçay-le-Mâle (km 104) where the peloton was just thirty seconds adrift. The bunch waited as much as they could before they bridged the gap.
Cav does it again
Van Avermaet and Kluge got reeled in 2.5km before the end. Julian Alaphilippe seized the reins of the peloton to prepare the sprint for Cavendish. The Manxman positioned himself behind Philipsen and Merlier to overhaul them in the last 100 metres. With 32 stage wins in the Tour de France, he’s only two successes shy on Eddy Merckx’ record.