A guide to the Tour de France
7th July 2016
Mark Cavendish won Stage 6 today, and he has now won 50% of the stages on this year's race.
The sixth stage of the 2016 Tour de France from Arpajon-sur-Cère to le Montauban was a relatively flat affair, in warm sunshine. As it was the last opportunity for the sprinters before the Pyrenees, it was always likely to end in a bunch sprint.
Cavendish had clearly chosen to be on Marcel Kittel's wheel in the last kilometre. Kittel opened up his sprint, and Cavendish came past on the German's right. Kittel closed slighly before the line, but the result wasn't in doubt, as it had been on Stage 5 and Stage 4. Dan McLay, the British sprinter with Fortuneo, finished fast in third place. (It looked as though McClay may have chosen to be on Cavendish's wheel, but he opened up just too late).
This is a video of the closing stages of Stage 6:
There were two riders in the day's breakaway - Jan Barta (Bora Argon) and Yukiya Arashiro (Lampre Merida). They never gained a very big lead, and they were caught with 22km remaining. After that, a bunch sprint was certain.
After the race, Cavendish said, 'Oh my god. That was terrifying - that was like the old days, just wheel-surfing, you know? We were a bit too far back, Bernie and I into that, so it was just carnage in the final, with guys coming everywhere and twisting, turning. I wanted Kittel's wheel, so I was fighting and fighting for Kittel's wheel. I knew that Quick-Step weren't that organised, but I knew they'd get it on the final long and fast run-in. I knew it would be the right thing to go early, because it was slightly downhill, so I put a bigger gear on again. I just went. Actually, I maxed out, so I should have put an even bigger gear on. I kept going to the line, I really wanted it. Felt Kittel coming on my side again, but I did what he's always done to me for the last 3 years, I just kinda held him at it, so I'm very happy with that.'
There was no significant change in the overall standings, and Greg van Avermaet stays in yellow. Cavendish retakes the lead in the green jersey competition, moving back ahead of Peter Sagan.
CyclingNews has the full race results and overall standings.
This is the Stage 6 highlights video.
The 2016 Tour de France begins at Mont St Michel, in the Manche département of France. It tackles the Pyrenees before the Alps, and as always there's a final processional stage to Paris.
Stage 7 takes the riders to the Pyrenees, and includes a 12km climb of the Col d'Aspin, before a 7km descent to the finish at Lac de Payolle. This is classified as a mountain stage. Earlier in the day, the riders take a rolling route through villages on the Plateau de Lannemezan. There's a 4th Category climb of the Côte de Capvern, then a sprint at Sarrancolin. It's the Col d'Aspin, though, which could split the field, and the final descent might be significant too, in determining the stage winner, and affecting the General Classification. Read about Stage 7, Tour de France 2016.
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