Marcel Kittel won his second stage of the 2017 Tour de France in Troyes, outsprinting green jersey leader Arnaud Demare and Andre Greipel to take victory in the bunch sprint.
This victory is Kittel’s 11th Tour de France stage win and it will give him a good chance of competing for the green jersey along with Demare, Greipel and Michael Matthews.
After the efforts of Stage 5 which saw the first GC shake-up of the race, Stage 6 was set to be a more sedate affair with only two category 4 climbs to contend with, making it a stage where a bunch sprint into Troyes the likely outcome.
As is customary an attack went as soon as the flag was dropped with the first attack of three riders sticking and quickly getting their advantage to 1′. The three riders in the break were Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Vegard Stake-Laengen (UAE) and as the peloton let them go they were allowed to get a gap of 2’30” as Team Sky sat on the front of the peloton.
After 30km of racing in the near 30 degree heat the break’s gap had gone out to 4’05” with QuickStep and Lotto-Soudal joining Team Sky on the front of the peloton to control the gap. There was little contest for the climb at the Cote de Langres (Cat 4) nor for the intermediate sprint at Colombey Les Deux Eglises as the riders rolled through to try and keep their advantage. In the
In the peloton though there was some action as the sprinters clamoured for the points for the green jersey competition. Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) jumped first for the line but was overhauled by Demare (FDJ) who took the maximum remaining points followed by Matthews (Sunweb) and Greipel (Lotto-Soudal)
After 90km of racing their lead had been reduced to 3′ with the sprint teams of Lotto-Soudal, FDJ and QuickStep still keeping their hand in monitoring the gap at the front of the peloton. The increase in pace after the sprint though had caused damage in the break and their lead was down to just 1’47” with 75km to go as they approached the final climb of the day at the Cote de la Colline Sainte-Germaine (Cat 4).
At the foot of the climb there was an attack from the peloton as Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro) tried to bridge across to the break which now had a lead of just 1’19”. Despite his efforts though Pichon wasn’t able to make many inroads into the lead as the breakaway sprinted for the climb and then maintained a high pace once Quemeneur had taken the sole KOM point.
With 50km to go and Lotto-Soudal driving the peloton Perichon was still only 34″ ahead of the peloton and 1’10” behind the break as they crested an uncategorised climb. The sprint teams were still maintaining tight control over the lead with a view to catching them at an appropriate time for the bunch sprint and this pace caused Perichon to drop back to the bunch.
With 30km to go sprint teams were preparing to begin the hectic run in to the finale, with Cofidis moving onto to front for Nacer Bouhanni along with riders for Lotto-Soudal, QuickStep and FDJ. The gap had come down to 1’30” despite the increase in pace in the peloton and the breakaway were beginning to tire.
At 15km to go the lead was still 46″ as the peloton slowly reduced the gap as they tried to perfectly time the catch to prevent any late attacks. The plan was working as intended and 5km later the lead was halved at 23″.
The catch was made with just 3km to go as Dimension Data took over the pace-setting at the front of the peloton with FDJ and Katusha close behind. With 1.5km to go Dimension Data were still pushing the race forward for Boasson-Hagen as QuickStep took over with 1km to go with the main sprinters following.
Boasson-Hagen began his sprint with 650m to go and stayed at the front until Demare came around him on the right hand side with 250m to go as Kittel came around on the left hand side at the same time. The two sprinters battled each other right on the line with Kittel taking it by a bike length from the Frenchman.
Tour de France 2017 Stage 6: Vesoul>Troyes 216km
|Position||Name (Team – Nationality)||Time|
|1||Marcel Kittel (QuickStep – Ger)||5:05:34″|
|2||Arnaud Demare (FDJ – Fra)||s.t.|
|3||Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal – Ger)||s.t.|
|4||Alexander Kristoff (Katusha – Now)||s.t.|
|5||Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis – Fra)||s.t.|
|6||Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo – Ned)||s.t.|
|7||Michael Matthews (Sunweb – Aus)||s.t.|
|8||Daniel Mclay (Fortuneo-Oscaro – GBr)||s.t.|
|9||Rudiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe – Ger)||s.t.|
|10||John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo – Ger)||s.t.|
|Position||Name (Team – Nationality)||Time|
|1||Chris Froome (Team Sky – GBr)||18:38:59″|
|2||Geraint Thomas (Team Sky – GBr)||+12″|
|3||Fabio Aru (Astana – Ita)||+14″|
|4||Dan Martin (QuickStep – Ire)||+25″|
|5||Richie Porte (BMC – Aus)||+39″|
|6||Simon Yates (Orica-Scott – GBr)||+43″|
|7||Romain Bardet (AG2R – Fra)||+47″|
|8||Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo – Spa)||+52″|
|9||Nairo Quintana (Movistar – Col)||+54″|
|10||Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe – Pol)||+1’01″|