Tour de France 2013 stage 6 | Aix-en-Provence – Montpellier 176 km (109 mi)
Event: 4 July 2013
Report: Eddie Allen
Britain’s Mark Cavendish was denied a second successive victory on stage six into Montpellier as a well timed sprint by Andre Greipel secured victory. Cavendish survived a last 30km crash to arrive in the bunch for the sprint but the chase back on and lack of team support in the final 1km cost him dear.
There were no dramas for Team Sky’s Chris Froome, who survived the winds of the Camargue to maintain his general classification challenge, finishing safely in the main bunch, five seconds behind the sprinters.
An early lone break by Luis Angel Mate Mardones of Cofidis extended to over five minutes but was soon reeled in by a peloton headed by the sprinters’ teams, keen to make the most of the slim pickings offered to the fast twitch guys in the Tour’s mountainous 100th edition.
The peloton engulfed Mate Mardones’ ahead of the day’s only intermediate sprint at Maussane-les-Alpilles, with Mark Cavendish apparently capitulating to Greipel for the 20 points, although the Manxman edged four points closer to green jersey leader Peter Sagan.
Chris Froome’s Team Sky took the front of the peloton for the short 4th category climb of the Col de la Vayède, the day’s only climb not troubling the sprinters. With the mistral blowing at over 60 km/h at times, it would be wind rather than gradient that would be the riders’ major foe on the flat run to the finish in Montpellier. With this in mind the teams of the general classification amassed at the head of the field, mindful that the conditions threatened decisive splits.
Heartening for British fans was the presence of Geraint Thomas on the front with Team Sky – a sign of his day-by-day recovery. Ian Stannard too was playing an important part in keeping his team leader safe at the front, seemingly recovered from his stage one crash.
As the kilometres ticked by a double puncture for Peter Sagan seemed to play into the hands of Cavendish until the British road champion had a setback of his own; crashing at a roundabout with around 30 kilometres to go and having to chase back on through the cars. However both riders regained the shelter of the peloton as the race neared Montpellier at breakneck speed.
Into Montpellier and the sprinter’s teams once again came to the fore with Lotto Belisol, Omega Pharma Quick Step, Orica Greenedge and Argos Shimano all jostling for position. But with less than 1km to go Cavendish’s team support was depleted and it was Lotto Belisol whose well-drilled leadout delivered Greipel to victory.
Greipel's stage win and earlier intermediate points meant that the German overtook Cavendish in the green jersey competiton, pushing the British rider down to third position overall.
1 GREIPEL Andre Lotto Belisol Team 03:59:02
2 SAGAN Peter Cannondale Pro Cycling Team ,,
3 KITTEL Marcel Team Argos - Shimano ,,
4 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma - Quick-Step ,,
5 LOBATO DEL VALLE Juan Jose Euskaltel - Euskadi ,,
6 KRISTOFF Alexander Katusha Team ,,
7 ROJAS GIL Jose Joaquin Movistar Team ,,
8 VAN POPPEL Danny Vacansoleil - DCM ,,
9 FERRARI Roberto Lampre - Merida ,,
10 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale ,,
18 FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling 00:05
1 IMPEY Daryl Orica GreenEDGE 22:18:17
2 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Sky Procycling 00:03
3 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE 00:05
4 ALBASINI Michael Orica GreenEDGE ,,
5 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 00:06
6 CHAVANEL Sylvain Omega Pharma - Quick-Step ,,
7 FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling 00:08
8 PORTE Richie Sky Procycling ,,
9 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff 00:14
10 KREUZIGER Roman Team Saxo-Tinkoff ,,
1 SAGAN Peter Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 159
2 GREIPEL Andre Lotto Belisol Team 130
3 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 119
4 KRISTOFF Alexander Katusha Team 111
5 KITTEL Marcel Team Argos - Shimano 87
6 ROJAS GIL Jose Joaquin Movistar Team 71
7 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Sky Procycling 66
8 VAN POPPEL Danny Vacansoleil - DCM 65
9 LOBATO DEL VALLE Juan Jose Euskaltel - Euskadi 51
10 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 49