Home > Sports > Tour de France, Stage 6

Tour de France, Stage 6


So, I don’t plan to write about the Tour every day, but maybe you’re waiting to read my comment on today’s stage. I don’t want to disappoint.

Yesterday I wrote about how surprised I was that the peloton didn’t reel in the breakaway, though they very nearly did. Only Thomas Voeckler survived, by 7 seconds, to win the stage. Today was exactly the opposite. I thought the breakaway by Scottish rider Robert Millar would succeed, but he was caught with just over 1k to go. I’ve admired Millar for years, and was rooting for him. Plus, the stage started in his hometown of Girona. It was the first stage ever to start and end in Spain, and Girona is home or former home to several riders, including Millar, George Hincapie, and until recently Lance Armstrong.

The uphill finish in Barcelona and the late catch of Millar didn’t give the sprinters’ teams a good chance to set them up, and for once Cavendish wasn’t a big factor. But the Norwegian Thor Hushovd, who finished fourth and second in the two stages that Cavendish won earlier in the week, timed his big move perfectly to win over the great Spanish rider Oscar Freire, making for another exciting day. Cavendish’s 16th place finish gave him just enough points — 10 to Hushovd’s 35 — to retain the green jersey by 1 point over Hushovd.

From the Guardian’s coverage of the race, I read the following quote of Millar: “I was enjoying holding off the peloton for so long, and with 10km to go I thought I had it. But then when I saw those huge boulevards, I knew they had the advantage. If there had been a few more corners it might have been different, but they had the space to organise and get going. When you turn round and see them coming up that quick, it’s like someone’s unplugged your power. You go from being fired by adrenalin to the power going and you die, immediately.” Die he did, falling all the way back to 96th place in the final kilometer, a full 1′ 21″ behind the leaders.

On at last to the mountains. A big stage tomorrow, 224k from Barcelona up into the Pyrenees, with a mountain finish. The serious competitors for overall victory will reveal themselves at last.

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