Cycling Live

Tour de France - Épernay - Metz


Live Comments

  1. 16:15 - No change in the immediate top of the standings, with Cancellara still in yellow, seven seconds ahead of Wiggins and Chavanel. Tejay Van Garderen is in fourth and Menchov up to fifth ahead of Evans. Sagan is now in eighth.

  2. 0km - A group including Thomas Voeckler and Johnny Hoogerland is coming home a huge six minutes down on the leaders...

  3. 0km - Sagan took the win convincingly ahead of Greipel and Goss, with van Hummel in fourth and Haedo in fifth. The celebration? Just a muscle-man pose with a bellowing scream from the Slovak youngster.

  4. 0km - The chasing group comes home, led by Janez Brajkovic of Astana and Michele Scarponi of Lampre, 2:08 down. The likes of Schleck, Valverde and Rolland there too... Robert Gesink corms home with Kriujswijk a huge 3:30 down. Disaster for some of these riders.

  5. 0km - Sagan takes the win! What a sprint from the Slovak! Greipel has the lead out and Goss was strong, but Sagan made it a hat-trick!

  6. 0.5km - Sagan and Haedo are there too... And Lotto start the lead out...

  7. 1km - GreenEdge and Lotto jostling for position under the flamme rouge.

  8. 1.5km - Very nervous. Zabriskie is caught.

  9. 2km - Zabriskie is the only rider from the break who is holding on!

  10. 3km - Marcus Burghardt leads Cadel Evans on the front for BMC. They don't want any trouble - and now they pass the 3km to go banner, they slink back a little. The group has been caught.

  11. 4km - Petacchi is in fact in this main group. He had Hondo with him, but is now alone. Lotto have a change of heart - they want this for Greipel, and have moved to the front accordingly.

  12. 5km - Race radio has corrected an earlier piece of information: Wout Poels has not abandoned the race for Vacansoleil. Mikel Astarloza of Euskaltel has, however.

  13. 6km - Kroon gives it his all on the front of the leading quarter but the main is closing in.

  14. 7km - Ryder Hesjedal is now seven minutes down on the leaders. His Tour is effectively over.

  15. 8km - The four-man break - Zabriskie, Zingle, Kroon and Malacarne - still have 15 seconds over the main group, which is being led by Gerrans and Albasini of GreenEdge.

  16. 10km - Greipel and Goss are in the main group, as is Sagan. Maybe Greipel will rethink his tactics and go for the win, now that Cavendish is off the back? Hutarovich is distanced too.

  17. 11km - Alejandro Valverde is also in the chasing group, with Rolland. There are some big names having some serious problems.

  18. 12km - More withdrawals: Tom Danielson (Garmin) and Davide Vigano (Liquigas).

  19. 13km - Vanendert and Brajkovic are also in the Schleck chasing group.

  20. 14km - The four leaders have 18 seconds over the main group, with the Schleck chasing group almost three minutes back.

  21. 15km - Eurocpar's Pierre Rolland went down in that crash. He's currently fighting back with the likes of Scarponi and Schleck.

  22. 16km - Dutch youngster Wout Poels has abandoned. The Vacansoleil rider was looking forward to the mountains. That's terrible news.

  23. 16km - Team Sky duo Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen are not in this main group at the moment.

  24. 17km - The yellow jersey is in the main group, as are the likes of Evans and Wiggins, plus Nibali and Menchov. Green jersey Sagan is okay, as is Morkov, the polka dot jersey. The initial leading break is about to be caught.

  25. 19km - Petacchi and Scarponi also came down for Lampre. Johan van Summeren of Garmin too.

  26. 20km - The main chasing group is now just around 60 strong. GreenEdge, Omega Pharma, Sky, Lotto and BMC seemed to be lucky there, not getting involved. That's good bye to the GC, potentially, foer Schleck and Hesjedal.

  27. 21km - Hesjedal is covered in road rash. He'll be a big loser tonight, the Giro winner.

  28. 22km - GreenEdge, Sky and BMC seems to avoid that one... Canada's Ryder Hesjedal went down. He'll lose a lot of time today.

  29. 23km - More than 60 riders are caught up. No one seems hurt, but it's mayhem in terms of getting new bikes and wheels. The time losses will be huge. Frank Schleck is there and Thomas Voeckler.

  30. 24km - CRASH: Huge pile up in the peloton. The majority of the peloton has been affected by this.

  31. 25km - The leaders remain defiant: 48 seconds still on this long, straight, rolling road towards Metz.

  32. 28km - Tyler Farrar and Oscar Freire have been dropped by the peloton. GreenEdge setting a fast pace. BMC are right in there, with Evans safely tucked away.

  33. 30km - The break is holding its own: the lead is back to over a minute despite the hefty work on the front of the peloton, which is now very strung out. 1:05 the gap.

  34. 33km - So, with both Greipel and Farrar not contesting the sprint, you'd expect it to be a direct battle between Goss and Cavendish...

  35. 34km - News from the Lotto team car is that Andre Greipel will not contest the final sprint because of his injuries. He has a cut knee and elbow, plus split the tip of his thumb according to reports.

  36. 35km - Argos Shimano now on the front to do some work with the chase. They'll want their man Tom Veelers to build on his fine form in this opening week. The four leaders have 50 seconds now.

  37. 40km - FDJ are there for their man Yauheni Hutarovich. Katusha are there for Freire, but also to keep Menchov out of trouble. Andre Greipel is quite far back, in fact he's near the back of the peloton, next to a couple of team mates. The German has crashed twice today...

  38. 45km - The teams are forming on the front of the peloton, everyone eager to stay out of trouble and protect their leaders and assets. The escapees are now within a minute of being reeled in.

  39. 50km - A tight left-hander for the peloton as they carve their way through a forest. They trail the leaders by 1:35. Ag2r-La Mondiale's Jean-Christophe Peraud picked up a puncture and is fighting back on. Greipel, Gesink and those riders who crashed on the climb are back in the bunch now.

  40. 54km - Romain Zingle needs a wheel change and so will have to fight to get back on the leading group. The Belgian is back there now, but the peloton is just 1:20 in arrears now.

  41. 56km - Robert Gesink was involved in that crash too - which means both Gesink and Greipel have come down in both of the day's incidents. Greipel's arm looks rather sore, but Gesink appears to be okay. They are in a small chasing group trying to get back on the peloton.

  42. 58km - Looks like Marcel Sieberg and Andre Griepel were involved there for Lotto, and Bauke Mollema plus one or two other Rabo riders. More coming when we get it.

  43. 60km - CRASH: Most of the peloton is held up by a small crash near the top of the climb. Because of the barriers, it's hard for most of the pack to get through the gap. It involved riders from Rabobank and Lotto is seems.

  44. 61km - On the front of the peloton it's Lotto Belisol and Orica-GreenEdge setting the pace. They want the win for their men Greipel and Goss today.

  45. 62km - American Dave Zabriskie (Garmin) picks up the solitary point atop the climb ahead of Davide Malacarne (Europcar).

  46. 63km - Aliaksandr Kuchynski is on the back of the pack. The Katusha rider broke a bone in his wrist yesterday - the scaphoid, the same bone that Tony Martin broke on the first road stage.

  47. 64km - Zingle leads the escapees up this climb, with Kroon and Zabriskie sharing a laught just behind. Malacarne, perhaps wisely, is sticking to the back. The quartet only have 1:33 over the pack.

  48. 65km - The lead drops to under two minutes as the riders hit the only climb of the day, the Cat.4 Côte de Buxières.

  49. 70km - Matt Goss takes fifth place in the intermediate sprint ahead of Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Kenny Van Hummel. Once again, Andre Greipel does not contest the intermediate sprint - a tactic that is serving him well so far.

  50. 73km - The weather is quite bizarre: the sun is back out but there are numerous dark grey clouds looming. If they burst, there will be a huge amount of rain. The four leaders are approaching the intermediate sprint at St Mihiel. And Saxo's Karsten Kroon actually contests it, taking the 1,500 euro prize. Things must be tight at Saxo Bank-Tinkoff...

  51. 78km - The lead of the escapees continues to drop: it's currently 3:40. The intermediate sprint is not far away now.

  52. 80km - Garmin-Sharp directeur sportif spoke to French TV about his unfortunate rider Tyler Farrar, who has been involved in crashes for the past three days. "He broke his helmet in yesterday's fall and he's not going well. He's not going to compete in the sprint today, it's too dangerous. He has lost all his confidence after these numerous crashes. He's going to try and keep his energy for the coming days."

  53. 85km - French pocket rocket Sammy Dumoulin took fourth place in the sprint yesterday, one better than Mark Cavendish. He spoke to the Tour official site: "I do not have a train to rival theirs but with my experience I manage to follow the right wheels. On the flat, I have no chance against the best sprinters. The best for me would be to find myself in a breakaway group and win a sprint at the end. But you have to get the right one. I feel good this year, though."

  54. 90km - According to the race doctor, Andre Greipel has "some significant injuries including a wounded finger" following that crash earlier today after 35km. It's going to be hard for the German to take a hat-trick today if that's the case...

  55. 92km - It's started to rain again. Interestingly, Kroon's last win in the Tour came back in 2002 on Bastille Day. That makes the gap between then and a possible win today eight days shy of 10 years. That would be the fourth biggest gap between wins in Tour history. The leader in this niche competition is Rene Vietto, who's second win came in 1947, 11 years and 348 days after his first.

  56. 95km - The four escapees have 4:55 on the peloton. They look pretty doomed. Europcar DS Andy Flicklinger spoke to the Tour official site about Thomas Voeckler earlier: "He still has a small problem with his knee but it's getting better each day. We are optimistic."

  57. 98km - The lead is beginning to drop now - it's well below six minutes.

  58. 100km - The oldest rider in this break is 36-year-old Dutchman Karsten Kroon. Like Zabriskie, he is a previous winner on the Tour - in 2002 he won stage eight in Plouay. Kroon has 15 UCI wins to his name, but has not stood atop a podium since 2008 when he won stage five of the Sachsen-Tour. Kroon joined Saxo Bank from BMC but previously worked with Bjarne Riis at CSC. This is his fifth Tour de France.

  59. 102km - This break was initiated by David Zabriskie of Garmin-Sharp. The 33-year-old has 19 UCI wins to his name - all but two of which have come in prologues or time trials. The American has one Tour stage win to his name - the opening 19km ITT in 2005 in which he beat his compatriot Lance Armstong by two seconds. Zabriskie wore the yellow for the next few days until crashing heavily for CSC in the team time trial at Blois. His last win came in the 2010 Tour of California.

  60. 105km - Codifis's Romain Zingle is riding his second Tour after finishing 152nd in his debut race last year. The 25-year-old flame-haired Belgian has no UCI wins to his name - but has finished second on eight occasions, most notably in stage 10 of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, when he was pipped by Imanol Erviti of Movistar.

  61. 107km - Let's take a closer look at today's breakaway riders. The virtual yellow jersey is 24-year-old Italian Davide Malacarne, who joined Europcar from Quick Step in the close season. He has three UCI wins to his name, the last coming back in 2010 in the fifth stage of the Volta a Catalunya. Malacarne is making his debut in the Tour.

  62. 109km - Lunch time for the four leaders, who pass through the feeding zone with 6:10 over the pack.

  63. 112km - Green jersey Peter Sagan chats to his Liquigas team-mate Sylvester Szmyd off the back of the peloton. They must have dropped back for a mechanical. Sagan arrived at the start of today's stage with a special bell attached to his handlebars - a humorous statement about the number of crashes in this year's race. The Slovak went down in the final 3km himself yesterday. The bell is no longer on his bike, so perhaps that's what he was doing back with the team car...

  64. 115km - Jens Voigt of RadioShack, the peloton's eldest statesman, leads the peloton and warns the riders of a right left-hand bend up ahead. The gap is 6:25.

  65. 118km - The rain has stopped and the roads are dry now. Off the back of teh peloton, Thomas Voeckler takes off his helmet and puts on a Europcar cap before putting his helmet back on. He then picks up a water bottle and returns to the peloton. The Frenchman has had a tough Tour, suffering with a slight knee pang.

  66. 122km - The average speed for the second hour of the race was 40.5kmh for the four leaders.

  67. 125km - The four leaders increase their advantage to 6:50. The rain has stopped but there's still quite a bit of water on the road.

  68. 128km - Robert Gesink drops back to have a chat with the team car. The Dutchman was involved in a crash a bit earlier. He doesn't look to have any cuts or bruises though. The 25-year-old stops for a double wheel change.

  69. 130km - Puncture for Rein Taaramae of Cofidis. The Estonian is third in the white jersey standings.

  70. 132km - The four leaders - David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp), Davide Malacarne (Europcar), Romain Zingle (Cofidis) and Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) - have 6:10 over the peloton. It's a horrible day in the champagne region - wet and miserable.

  71. 135km - RadioShack are on the front of the peloton, with Lotto, Sky and BMC tucked in just behind. A few Vacansoleils too. The rain has started again as a few riders stop for a comfort stop.

  72. 137km - Update from the Rabobank camp: following that crash, Robert Gesink has a sore shoulder and Steven Kruijswijk has a sore hip.

  73. 138km - Update on that earlier crash: yesterday's winner Andre Greipel has cuts and a painful shoulder. His Lotto team-mate Francis de Greef also has some abrasions.

  74. 140km - Garmin's Dave Millar at the start of today's final flat stage before the hills: "It's only going to get harder so I'm trying to enjoy these 'easy' days."

  75. 145km - It was a fast 42.2kmh for the average speed in the first hour today. Considerably quicker than previous stages - probably largely in part to Zabriskie's presence in the group. The lead is still 6:20 over the pack for the four leaders.

  76. 148km - Matt Goss is getting closer to a win on the Tour. The Australian feels slightly hard-done by: "A lot of teams are bringing sprinters to the race but then they don't want to work for them so it's really just been us [GreenEdge] and Lotto-Belisol that have controlled the race from the first day. There are a lot of other sprinters here – Garmin has got Farrar, Lampre has Petacchi and there are a few others – but no one wants to help make sure it’s a sprint; they're just working off our effort."

  77. 150km - If Andre Greipel wins today he will become the 12th rider in the history of the Tour to win three consecutive stages on the Tour. Lance Armstrong was the last rider to complete a hat-trick, in 2004. One rider has five in a row: Francois Faber in 1903. Incidentally, Armstrong won the stage when the Tour last came to Metz - for an ITT in 1999.

  78. 151km - BMC DS John Lelangue after yesterday's finish: "We're riding in the front like a sprinter's team, making a good train, avoiding the risky zone. We have one more stage tomorrow and then we come to the mountains. We still have the whole team here, nobody has crashed - except Philippe Gilbert on Stage 3 - but it was no problem. So I think we can be happy. If you look at the first week of the Tour it's always a bit of risky business. So being in this situation is not a bad one at the moment."

  79. 152km - It appears that Rabobank's Robert Gesink was also involved in that crash. It's been an on-going theme of this year's race these crashes - the peloton certainly seems very jittery.

  80. 153km - Mark Cavendish was only 5th yesterday. Sky DS Sean Yates said: "It was an incident-free day for us which was what we had hoped for. The final didn’t work out quite how we wanted it but the guys were all there and they did a good job. We upped the ante and next time it will be better. Cav dropped back a bit at the finish and had a bit too much work to do at the end. We need to keep this going starting tomorrow and we will look to keep Bradley safe and set Mark up in the finish."

  81. 155km - As a result of that crash, the four leaders have increased their gap to 6:10. With a rider of Zabriskie's calibre, this break does stand a chance - especially with the hills on the horizon.

  82. 158km - Jean Christophe Peraud was also incolved in that crash. The Ag2R-La Mondiale leader has a cut elbow. Yesterday's crash at the finish was pretty horrible. Farrar went down the heaviest, but Saxo Bank's Jonathan Cantwell was thrown on to the pavement while trying to avoid a sprawling Sagan and Luis Angel Mate of Cofidis also smashed into specators on the pavement. Katusha's Aliaksandr Kuchynski broke his scaphoid too - same injury as Tony Martin.

  83. 160km - CRASH: Quite a few riders down there, including yesterday's winner Andre Greipel and Spain's Alejandro Valverde. Also hitting the deck are Lieuwe Westra, Ivan Gutierrez and Kris Broeckmans. The peloton shows down as a result.

  84. 165km - Tejay van Garderen still leads Edvald Boasson Hagen by one second in the white jersey youth standings. As for the battle for the yellow helmets, Team Sky are leading - not that it seems to be doing them any good. White jersey standings

  85. 170km - The four leaders are four minutes out ahead and so Davide Malacarne is now the virtual yellow jersey.

  86. 175km - Just the one climb today - a Cat.4 rise two-thirds into the stage. Denmark's Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) has lead the polka dot standings since day one - but that could well change tomorrow with the arrival of the first Cat.1 climb of the 99th Tour. Polka dot jersey standings

  87. 180km - The battle for the green jersey got very interesting yesterday when Peter Sagan was held up in that Farrar crash towards the end of the stage. Sagan still leads the standings on 155 points, but Matt Goss lies in second with 137 and Greipel, after his two back-to-back wins, rises to third on 132. Defending champion Mark Cavendish is fourth on 119. Green jersey standings

  88. 182km - Zabriskie's Garmin-Sharp team-mate Tyler Farrar has been in the wars: the American has now crashed badly for the past three days, and yesterday he even tried to enter the Argos Shimano bus to remonstrate with Dutchman Tom Veelers, whom he felt had been responsible for his latest tarmac cheese-grating. Blazin' Saddles: A bridge too Farrar

  89. 185km - It's raining now as the four leaders carve out a 3:20 gap on the peloton. There are two former Tour stage winners in this group - Kroon and Zabriskie.

  90. 190km - Italian Davide Malacarne is the best placed in the GC of the four escapees. The Europcar new boy is 3:34 down on Cancellara in the standings. The current gap for the break is 2:40.

  91. 195km - So, a reminder of the overall standings: it's Fabian Cancellara who leads both Bradley Wiggins and Sylvain Chavanel by seven seconds. Defending champion Cadel Evans is nicely tucked in in seventh place, 17 seconds down. Tomorrow things should change at the top, what with the first medium mountains stage. But today, it should be pretty routine for Spartacus... Yellow jersey standings

  92. 200km - We have four riders out ahead of the peloton: David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp), Davide Malacarne (Europcar), Romain Zingle (Cofidis) and Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff). They have 45 seconds over the pack.

  93. 205km - The attacks are coming in thick and fast but nothing's sticking for the moment. Dave Zabriskie of Garmin-Sharp is the latest rider to have a pop.

  94. 207km - CRASH: This one actually happened before the official start, with Richie Porte (Team Sky) and Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) the most notable riders taking a spill in the neutral zone. An ominous start for both riders...

  95. 208km - The remaining 194 riders get this final flat stage under way. No overnight withdrawals to report - just Marcel Kittel from yesterday, the young German deciding enough was enough after a week of stomach pains and a sore knee.

  96. 11:25 - No changes in the general classification as Fabian Cancellara retained his yellow jersey for a 27th day - a record for a rider who has never won the Tour. Cancellara sets another record

  97. 11:20 - Germany's Andre Greipel took a second win in as many days with a bunch sprint victory in stage five of the Tour in Saint-Quentin. After somehow avoiding a mass pile-up caused by Tyler Farrar of Garmin, Lotto Belisol's Greipel timed his sprint to perfection to come round the outside of Orica-GreenEdge's Matt Goss and beat the Australian into second on a slightly uphill finish. Report: Greipel makes it two

  98. 11:15 - Welcome to live coverage of stage six of the Tour de France, a long and flat 207.5km slog from Epernay to Metz through the champagne region.