Stage 6 of the Tour de France was a slow burner. Quick-Step attempted to ignite it in the wind but nothing much caught fire. It wasn’t until the Mur-de-Bretagne loomed that things started to get interesting. We witnessed some big time losses for a couple of favourites and a victory that UAE’s Dan Martin will savour for a very long time.
Rider of the Race
Step forward, Dan Martin!
When Dan Martin put in a huge dig before the flamme rouge I’m sure many thought they’d seen this before. Rider hits out for the win only to be caught well before the line. But Martin’s attack was bigger and much better than that. Once he jumped off the front, there was never a chance of him not winning. It wasn’t that the others were waiting, they just couldn’t react. Eventually, AG2R’s Pierre Latour set off after Martin but even after making a massive effort, Latour couldn’t get close.
It’s often said the winner is “the one who wanted it most”. That’s rubbish, and in this case just look at the talent that made their stage-winning intentions clear. Richie Porte, Julian Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde and Geraint Thomas all showed their desire to crest the Mur-de-Bretagne as the winner. Only they couldn’t deploy anything like the power and stamina that Dan Martin could.
When you can beat every single one of the best, you deserve to be rider of the day.
Who’s losing next?
So far this week we’ve seen GC contenders Chris Froome (Sky), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) lose time through various misfortunes. Today Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang was lucky to make it back to the bunch after a late-race incident and then….the big ones. Both Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Romain Bardet (AG2R) punctured in the last 6km and had to work like mad not to lose too much time. In the end, the Frenchman rolled in 31 seconds back and the Dutch rider nearly a minute down.
To ruin Big Tom’s mood even more, he received a 20-second penalty for drafting behind his team car when trying to catch back up. You don’t have to be fluent in Dutch to know, from this, that he isn’t a happy bunny.
Just say no
Green, yellow and white are all fine but polka dot bikes are never a good look. And don’t insert some note of dissent here, ed! [I actually agree with you. For once! Say no to cycle pox! – ed]
Meanwhile at the back
If it’s currently tight at the top of the GC then it’s a lot more nailed on at the bottom. Lawson Craddock (EF Education etc etc) is leading the Lanterne Rouge comp by a mighty 14 minutes. On the plus side, he’s raised nearly $50,000 for the velodrome where he started his love of the sport.
1 Dan Martin (UAE) 4:13:43
2 Pierre Latour (AG2R) +0.01
3 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0.03
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step) same time
5 Rafa Majka (Bora) s/t
GC Top 10
1 Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) 23:35:46
2 Geraint Thomas (Sky) +0.03
3 Tejay van Garderen (BMC) +0.05
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) +0.06
5 Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) +0.12
6 Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) +0.18
7 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale) +0:45
8 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0.51
9 Raja Majka (Bora) +0.52
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) +0.53
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)
Points jersey: Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)
KOM jersey: Toms Skujins (Trek Segafredo)
Best young rider: Soren Kragh Anderson (Sunweb)
Most combative: Damien Gaudin (Direct Energie)
Listen to Stage 6’s VeloVoices Tour in 5 podcast now on any podcast browser, even Spotify! and remember, you can get involved too!
Header image: © GETTY/Velo/Chris Graythen