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Zdenek Stybar wins Tour de France 2015 Stage 6; Martin in lead but injured

Article by Todd Hofert

Zdenek Styba, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 6
Zdenek Styba, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 6 Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) soloed to victory at stage 6 in Le Havre after teammate and overall race leader, Tony Martin, went down in a crash in the final kilometer of the race.  Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was second and Bryan Coquard (Europcar) was third, both 2 seconds back.

Tony Martin, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 6
Tony Martin, Etixx-QuickStep, Tour de France 2015 Stage 6 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

An obviously injured Martin made a podium appearance to accept the jersey for the day but it is in question if he will be able to continue in the race. Team Sky’s Chris Froome currently sits in second place 12 seconds behind Martin and Tejay Van Garderen  (BMC Racing) is in third 25 seconds back.

I am really happy to take the jersey. It is a big step for African cycling and I feel really proud at the moment because I have this jersey. I am excited to be able to show my team’s colours on the podium because we are trying to give 5000 bicycles to African students, being on the podium will help our project and I want to help make a difference for my African people. It was always our plan to get this polka dot jersey so I am happy we could do it. I am proud to be African and I am proud to be Eritrean. This is a day I will never forget.
– Daniel Teklehaimanot, MTN Qhubeka

Stage 6 – Abbeville / Le Havre – 191.5km

The riders would catch a break today as they made their way to the start of Stage 6 they were greeted by mild temperatures and a forecast devoid of precipitation. Sunshine and the coastal scenery, making up a full two-thirds of the stage today, provided not only a spectacular backdrop for viewing but also a bit of calm for the riders after a nervous first quarter of the race.

Once again Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) GER, always the tireless workhorse would deservingly sport the Maillot Jaune as race leader. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) GER, now with a very firm grip on the points classification continues in the Green Jersey for the fourth day running. He holds a comfortable 32 point margin over Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) SVK in that competition and is looking to be very hard to beat. A single intermediate sprint and the points at the line were up for grabs today. Joachim Rodriguez (Katusha) ESP remained in the Polka-Dot Jersey coming off a day where no points were available. Today would play host to four category 4 climbs and a total of 3 points to be had. Peter Sagan would wear the White Jersey of the best young rider, a distinction he has held since Tom Dumoulin’s abandonment during Stage 3. Finally, BMC continued to own the dubious distinction of donning the coveted yellow helmets of the leaders of the team competition.

The day would play out with little or no drama, a welcome development for the riders. At one point the race was a full twenty minutes slower than the slowest schedule for the day.

An early break of three would form. It would be allowed some freedom to extend to ten minutes before the teams vying for a stage win would come to the fore and bring them back to a manageable gap.

The break was made up of Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar) FRA, his third break in five stages. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis, Credit Solutions) BEL and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) ERI. Teklehaimanot intentions were clear as he contested and won the first two category 4 mountain points worth one point each placing him in a tie with current leader Joachim Rodriguez (Katusha) ESP. He would need to grab the points on the final cat 4 climb of the day to succeed in capturing the Polka Dot Jersey.

The intermediate sprint of the day would first be contested by the three-man break. They would go through with what appeared to be an agreed order with Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar) FRA winning Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis, Credit Solutions) BEL in second and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) ERI in third. The usual suspects would follow with Degenkolb, Coquard, Greipel, Sagan and Cavendish arriving in that order.

The gap to the break came under a minute with 45km remaining and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) FRA would launch an attempt to bridge to the break as the peloton came through the feed. His attempt would prove futile and he would find himself back in the pack with 35km to go.

The break would arrive at the final climb of the day and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) ERI would realize his childhood dream and grab the one point and with it the Polka Dot Jersey.

The day would proceed status quo until 12km when Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis, Credit Solutions) BEL would ride away from his break mates. He would get a small gap but the peloton was chasing hard. His two companions from the break were absorbed at just under 10km.

A stage that I had previously noted as one for the sprinters was nothing of the sort. The long drag to the finish was more suited to a puncheur. At 3km to go Van Bilsen was caught and the race was on. Under the flamme rouge the Yellow Jersey of Tony Martin would hit the deck and he appeared to be nursing a shoulder injury. His teammate, Zdenek Stybar would take the stage win in front of the remainder of the pack who all seemed content to mark Peter Sagan while Stybar soloed to victory.

Tony Martin would be pushed across the line by his teammates and his Tour misfortune would return, his ability to continue tomorrow in question. Will the Tour lose its second leader to injury?

So much for an uneventful day without drama.

Stage 6
Date: 9 July, 2015
Start:  Abbeville
Finish: Le Havre
Distance: 191 km

Tour de France 2015 Stage 6 Top 10

  1. Zdenek Stybar (CZE) #116
    ETIXX-QUICK STEP 04h 53′ 46”
  2. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAXO 04h 53′ 48” + :02
  3. Bryan Coquard (FRA) #122
    TEAM EUROPCAR 04h 53′ 48” + :02
  4. John Degenkolb (GER) 81
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 04h 53′ 48” + :02
  5. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) #68
    BMC RACING TEAM 04h 53′ 48” + :02
  6.  Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 04h 53′ 48” + :02
  7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) #211
    MTN-QHUBEKA 04h 53′ 48” + :02
  8. Davide Cimolai (ITA) #153
    LAMPRE – MERIDA 04h 53′ 48” + :02
  9. Julian Simon (FRA) #177
    COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS 04h 53′ 48” + :02
  10. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (ESP) #57
    MOVISTAR TEAM 04h 53′ 48” + :02

Tour de France 2015 General Classification Top 10 after Stage 6

  1. Tony Martin (GER) #114
    ETIXX-QUICK STEP 22h 13 ’14”
  2. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 22h 13 ’26’ + :12
  3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 22h 13 ’39” + :25
  4. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAXO 22h 13 ’41” + :27
  5.  Tony Gallopin (FRA) #71
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 22h 13 ’52” + :38
  6. Greg Avermaet (BEL) #68
    BMC RACING TEAM 22h 13 ’54” + :40
  7. Rigoberto Uran (COL) #118
    ETIXX-QUICK STEP 22h 14 ’00” +:46
  8. Alberto Contador (ESP) #41
    TINKOFF-SAX 22h 14 ’02” + :048
  9. Zdenek Stybar (CZE) #116
    ETIXX-QUICK STEPx 22h 14 ’18” + 1:04
  10. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 22h 14 ’29” + 1:15

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 5

Yellow (Overall leader): Tony Martin, Etixx – QuickStep
Green (Points): André Greipel, Lotto Soudal
Polka-dot (KOM): Daniel Teklehaimanot, MTN Qhubeka
White (Best Young Rider): Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo

Tour de France 2015 Stage 6 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 6 route map


Tour de France 2015 Stage 6 profile


Tour de France 2015 Stage 6 last km


Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.

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