Bradley Wiggins has kept his yellow jersey hopes alive in a crash-marred sixth stage of the Tour de France that effectively ended the campaigns of some of his rivals.

Race debutant Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) convincingly won his third Tour stage besting an injured Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Australia’s Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) after a huge crash within the final 25km split the peloton.

The 22-year-old Sagan is the 15th rider to win three stages in a Tour debut. 

World champion Mark Cavendish wasn’t caught in the pile-up, but suffered from a puncture which saw him fall back into a chase group. He rolled in more than six minutes behind the race winner and all of his Sky teammates, excluding Edvald Boasson Hagen who was also distanced, supporting Wiggins in the small front split.

Wiggins, Cadel Evans (BMC), Denis Menchov (Katusha) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) did not lose time in what was the last opportunity for the sprinters until Saturday week and a stage not expected to shake-up the general classification.

Garmin-Sharp team leader Ryder Hesjedal’s yellow jersey campaign seems over. The Giro d’Italia champion lost more than 13 minutes after hitting the tarmac. Rabobank’s Robert Gesink lost more than three minutes and RadioShack-Nissan’s Frank Schleck more than two.

Wiggins lost one of his key domestiques in Kanstantsin Siutsou to a crash earlier this week. Richie Porte, another of his workers, did not escape today’s carnage finishing 13 minutes and 24 seconds off the pace but reports suggest is not seriously injured.

A break of four riders including Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Davide Malacarne (Europcar), Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp) and Romain Zingle (Cofidis) comprised the break of the day. The quartet, which escaped about 10km into the 207.5km stage, held a maximum time advantage just under seven minutes that dropped to less than a minute with some 40km remaining.

Zabriskie, the only Garmin rider to have escaped injury so far this Tour, was the last to be caught within the final 2km.

Greipel was involved in a crash 35km into the stage suffering skin abrasions and a cut to his thumb. Despite reports the 29-year-old, who has won two stages of the Tour so far, would not contest the finish, as a result, he was there.

Orica-GreenEdge set the pace at the pointy end of the race, determined to deliver Goss to his career first Tour stage win but was forced to settle for another top five result.

Goss was the best of the bunch outsprinting Cavendish at the intermediate check earlier in the race and after his podium place remains in the points classification mix.

The Tour changes pace tomorrow as the peloton heads toward the mountains.

Result

Tour de France 2012 stage 6; Epernay – Metz 207.5km


1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas 4:37:00

2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol

3. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge

4. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM

5. Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank

6. Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto-Belisol

7. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre – ISD

8. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha

9. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge

10. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:04

General classification after stage 6

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 29:22:36

2. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky 0:00:07

3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

4. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing  0:00:10

5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha 0:00:13

6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing 0:00:17

7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:18

8. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:19

9. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan

10. Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:22





Karsten Kroon heads the escape group





Jens Voigt chases the break





Fabian Cancellara





Bradley Wiggins





Peter Sagan wins again





Crash victim Ryder Hesjedal at the finish

Tour de France 2012: Latest news



The Feed Zone: Tour news round-up (July 5)



Celebrating the Tour’s lead-out men



Liquigas’s yellow and green jersey aim at Tour



Brailsford: Sky on the front for Cav and Wiggins



Fourth Tour crash for Farrar



Greipel on a roll at the Tour



Cavendish and Eisel expected to continue after stage four crash



Injury report: Tour stage four



Garmin-Sharp adjust Tour de France plans after injury problems



Sky down to eight after Siutsou crash


Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list



Tour 2012: Who will win?



Tour de France 2012 provisional start list



Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports



Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades



Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes



Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne



Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory



Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt



Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs



Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials



CW’s Tour de France podcasts



Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs



Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries



Stage six by Graham Watson



Stage five by Graham Watson



Stage four by Graham Watson



Stage three by Graham Watson



Stage two by Andy Jones



Stage two by Graham Watson



Stage one by Graham Watson



Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones



Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler



Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson



Tour de France 2012: Team presentation



Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage



Stage five live coverage



Stage four live coverage



Stage three live coverage



Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish



Brief history of the Tour de France



Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever

  • Mike

    What is Cavendish doing?

    I have always been a big supporter of Mark but it would appear he is a one trick pony.

    If he is not involved in a crash he is held up behind it. He is the World road race champion, he should be riding in the first 15 to 20 riders like Cancellara. That is the way to avoid most of the crashes. That is where the rainbow jersey should be riding, not hovering at the back.

    By one trick pony I mean that without 8 guys riding for him he seems lost. Nowhere in the sprints, nowhere in the intermediate sprints. Look at Greipel, involved in an awfull crash, but come the last 200m there he is, covered in bandages, blood still running down his legs, sprinting as hard as he can for the win. Where was Cav, 6 mins back, cruising in with a face on.

    Come on Cav, man up, get in the first 15 riders and show the jersey you worked so hard to win.

  • JD

    I know crashes are part of the Tour but it came perilously close to turning the race into a lottery today.