The crashing continued in Stage 6 of the 2012 Tour de France, and Slovakian rider Peter Sagan’s late surge to victory brought about another thrilling finish.
Australia’s Matt Goss seemed poised to take the stage, but Sagan and Germany's Andre Greipel both chased him down in the home stretch. Greipel had won the previous two stages, and Sagan narrowly edged him out to prevent a third consecutive win.
This stage started in Épernay, a northern French city, and ended 205 kilometers (127.4 miles) later in Metz, France, which is near the border with Germany. It is one of the flatter stages on tour and favored the sprinters.
Despite missing out on the excitement at the finish line, Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara retained the yellow jersey.
|1.||Fabian Cancellara||12||RADIOSHACK-NISSAN||29h 22' 36''|
|2.||Bradley Wiggins||101||SKY PROCYCLING||29h 22' 43''||+ 00' 07''|
|3.||Sylvain Chavanel||192||OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP||29h 22' 43''||+ 00' 07''|
|4.||Tejay van Garderen||9||BMC RACING TEAM||29h 22' 46'' ||+ 00' 10''|
|5.||Denis Menchov||131||KATUSHA TEAM||29h 22' 49''||+ 00' 13''|
|6.||Cadel Evans ||1 ||BMC RACING TEAM ||29h 22' 53''||+ 00' 17''|
|7.||Vincenzo Nibali ||51 ||LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE ||29h 22' 54''||+ 00' 18''|
|8.||Peter Sagan||57||LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE ||29h 22' 55''||+ 00' 19''|
|9.||Andréas Kloden||15||RADIOSHACK-NISSAN||29h 22' 55''||+ 00' 19''|
|10.||Maxime Monfort||16||RADIOSHACK-NISSAN ||29h 22' 58''||+ 00' 22''|
With a pack of riders winding through the streets of Metz in the final kilometer, Sagan, Goss and Greipel all edged out the rest of the riders to set up a furious sprint to the finish.
Sagan freed himself on the outside and had more left in his legs than the other two riders, as he made a remarkable burst to get ahead of Greipel.
This stage favored sprinters and it was a fitting finish as these three battled one another in the last few yards.
This video shows one of the many crashes that have characterized the tour thus far.
The cameras did not catch the cause of the crash. On some occasions, the riders who are out in front of a crash will slow up and allow those who were taken down to catch up.
Those affected in this accident were unfortunate to be too far back to receive this treatment. Holland’s Frank Schleck, the leader of the RadioShack-Nissan team, was one of the riders held up.
The flat stages are over and the mountains have finally arrived. This stage will last for 199 kilometers (123.7 miles), starting in Tomblaine and ending in La Plance des Belles Filles.
As far as mountain stages go, this one is relatively mild, but certain riders will start to make their mark as the course becomes more daunting.
Still, Sagan will have plenty of confidence after his Stage 6 finish and look for him to have another fine finish.