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92nd Tour de France - GT

France, July 2-24, 2005

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Stage 6 - Thursday, July 7: Troyes - Nancy, 199 km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney and Anthony Tan

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 12:20 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST

Stage 6 profile
Click for stage map

12:19 CEST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the sixth stage of the Tour de France, brought to you from our trusty blimp, the Hindenburg IV. We're floating above the start line in Troyes, the home of the Simon brothers (François, Pascal, and Jerome). Both François and Pascal have sported the Tour de France's yellow jersey in their time.

Today's stage takes us 199 kilometres east to Nancy (roughly pronounced Naw-cy), with a few small climbs thrown in. The first is the Cat. 4 Côte de Joinville after 83.5 km, followed by the Cat. 4 Côte de Brouthières (km 104), Cat. 4 Côte de Montigny (km 141), and Cat. 4 Côte de Maron (km 185). The latter comes with just 13 km to go, so it may mean the sprinters teams take a back seat today and finally let a breakaway go.

The intermediate sprints are at Nully (km 56), Chalaines (km 144.5), and Dommartin-Les-Toul (km 169.5), with the first one likely to be hotly contested by the green jersey contenders.

The weather's a bit cool and cloudy at the start, and there are even thunderstorms predicted for the finish.

12:28 CEST   
Today's stage will start at approximately 12:25pm with a 7 km neutral section. The official start is expected at 12:40. We can probably expect another fast day at the office for the boys - the average speed of the whole race so far is a blistering 48.242 km/h! The Tour's record average speed was set in 2003 at 40.94 km/h, but we can expect the current speed to fall as the riders hit the mountains next week. I wouldn't rule out a new record though.

12:38 CEST   
Although it's been fast and furious in the first week, surprisingly there has only been one abandon: Tino Zaballa (Saunier Duval) in yesterday's stage. That means there are still 188 riders left in the race, an impressive statistic in what is usually a crash-filled first week.

12:42 CEST   
The flag drops for the start of stage 6 and they're off and racing! May the best man win, and all of that.

A crash in the neutral zone took down Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues), Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears), and Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo). None were seriously hurt.

12:49 CEST    6km/193km to go
As expected, the attacks have started straight away. A Credit Agricole rider was the first to try, followed by Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r). In these early stages, it normally takes 20-30 km for a break to get away, sometimes even more if the peloton is really going for it.

12:52 CEST    9km/190km to go
After Dumoulin was caught, six riders countered, including George Hincapie (Discovery), Bobby Julich (CSC), Joost Posthuma (Rabobank), Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros), Guido Trenti (Quick.Step) and Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom). There was no way the peloton was going to let Hincapie (2nd on GC) get clear, and the group came back.

12:54 CEST   
Our Inside Discovery man Chris Brewer reports from the start: "Talking with Assistant DS Sean Yates before the stage, he said that the Discovery Channel strategy going in is to monitor the early attacks and cover things until the expected escape sorts itself out. Asked if there was any chance of CSC's German strongman Jens Voigt getting away as the Tour heads to Germany, Yates said "Well we're not letting him go!' noting that George Hincapie would most likely be marking Jens closely."

12:56 CEST    14km/185km to go
Posthuma has managed to keep going and now has Michael Albasini (Liquigas) and Leon van Bon (Davitamon-Lotto) with him for company. They are about 20 seconds ahead of the peloton.

13:01 CEST    19km/180km to go
Quick.Step has taken over control of the peloton, which is sitting 20 seconds behind the lead trio of Posthuma, Albasini and Van Bon. It has been a very fast start, with 19 km covered in the first 21 minutes.

13:03 CEST    21km/178km to go
The three leaders are coming back, courtesy of the Quick.Step chase. The gap is down to 12 seconds.

13:07 CEST    24km/175km to go
The break is over. Van Bon and Albasini are back in the peloton, but Posthuma survives. Immediately, Christophe Mengin (FDJ) counter-attacks. He has Posthuma and Geslin (Bouygues) in pursuit.

13:09 CEST    27km/172km to go
Mengin is now solo with a 15 second lead.

13:14 CEST    31km/168km to go
Four riders have set off in pursuit of Mengin, including KOM leader Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo), Sébastien Joly (Credit Agricole), Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), and Jean-Patrick Nazon (Ag2r-Prevoyance).

13:18 CEST    35km/164km to go
The Dekker group has been hauled back, and now Mauro Gerosa (Liquigas) has joined Mengin up front, the pair still only holding 20 seconds lead.

13:24 CEST    39km/160km to go
The two leaders, Gerosa and Mengin, are hovering 20 seconds ahead of the peloton, where Cofidis has been active in the chase. It's been a lightning fast start, with 39 km covered in the first 44 minutes!

13:34 CEST    47km/152km to go
The two leaders have now been joined by Karsten Kroon (Rabobank), Jaan Kirsipuu (Credit Agricole), and Stéphane Augé (Cofidis), and this group has a lead of 2'30 after 47 km.

13:38 CEST   
Yesterday we reported on London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics. Today, unfortunately, several bombs have exploded in the British capital, killing several people, injuring many more, and bringing the city to a standstill. That's bad news, and we hope that if you work there or have friends/relatives there, that they are OK.

13:39 CEST    50km/149km to go
The five leaders have now reached the 50 km mark, holding their 2'30 advantage over the peloton. Gerosa is the best placed on GC, starting the day 4'22 behind Lance Armstrong. So he has a while to go before he is in the virtual yellow jersey.

13:46 CEST    56km/143km to go
The leaders are now 4 minutes ahead of the peloton as they reach the first sprint at Nully.

13:50 CEST    59km/140km to go
Mengin has taken out the 6 points at the first sprint, followed Jaan Kirsipuu and Stéphane Augé.

51.5 km were covered in the first hour.

13:51 CEST    60km/139km to go
The lead is up to 4'25 as the break reaches the 60 km mark, which puts Gerosa in the maillot jaune virtuel, but only by three seconds. Discovery Channel is leading the peloton at a steady tempo.

13:55 CEST   
A small correction: Stéphane Augé (Cofidis) is in the break (and got third in that sprint), not Michael Albasini.

14:06 CEST    72km/127km to go
The leaders are now up to 5'25 ahead of the peloton, which means that Gerosa is the virtual leader by over a minute. Will this be the break that gets away?

14:16 CEST    80km/119km to go
Rain is falling on the riders now, and the break's lead has jumped up to 6'50. This is the biggest lead that a break has gotten in the Tour so far, and could be the signal that Discovery will let the yellow jersey go. The boys in blue would normally control things more tightly otherwise.

14:22 CEST    84km/115km to go
The five leaders are on the first of the four Cat. 4 climbs today, the Côte de Joinville. It looks like the mountains jersey will changes hands, with Karsten Kroon probably wanting to keep it in the Rabobank camp. We'll see how he does on the climb.

14:29 CEST    87km/112km to go
The lead is now up to eight minutes, and still growing. None of these riders is really a threat for the final overall classification, and Armstrong's team could well be handing over the reins to Liquigas today, as Gerosa started the day just 4'22 behind.

There are no Davitamon-Lotto or Quick.Step riders in the break, so in theory those teams will have to chase if they want to win the stage. But given the lumpy finale, they might not bother today. Both teams have wins now, so the pressure is off them a little.

Of course, an 8 minute gap is quite closeable in 110 km, if there is the necessary motivation.

14:35 CEST    93km/106km to go
Stéphane Augé (Cofidis) has taken the points on the first climb, the Côte de Joinville, ahead of Christophe Mengin and Karsten Kroon.

It's 15 degrees and raining at the moment, making things tough for all the riders. There's also a 22 km/h tailwind, which is helping to string the peloton out.

14:38 CEST    97km/102km to go
It's not raining too heavily on the five leaders at the moment, and three of them aren't even wearing arm warmers. The roads are wet though. Their gap is 8'15.

14:41 CEST    99km/100km to go
The peloton is riding through the feed zone at Suzannecourt, where it is definitely raining. Quick.Step's Knaven is pounding away on the front, with Johan Vansummeren and a few of the Davitamon boys. Obviously, the two sprinters' teams haven't given up the ghost yet.

14:42 CEST   
The average speed after two hours is a shade over 48 km/h, after 45 km were covered in the second hour. The riders have had tailwinds for most of these early stages, which has helped push the average up a bit.

14:45 CEST    100km/99km to go
The pace in the bunch is by no means easy, as Quick.Step and Davitamon keep the pressure on. It's Vansummeren, Brandt, Aerts (Davitamon), Hulsmans, Knaven, and Cretskens (Quick.Step) doing the damage. The gap falls below eight minutes.

14:50 CEST   
Of the leaders, Kirsipuu is the most accomplished Tour de France rider, having won four stages. Mostly he specialises in bunch sprints, but he is a very strong rider who can win in a solo break too.

Karsten Kroon and Christophe Mengin have also won stages in the Tour, while Augé and Gerosa have yet to do so.

14:51 CEST    104km/95km to go
Stéphane Augé sprints for the mountain points on the Côte de Brouthières, going from a long way out. But Karsten Kroon marks him and comes around him right at the end to take the 6 points. Mauro Gerosa takes third.

14:53 CEST    106km/93km to go
The Quick.Step/Davitamon chase is having an effect, already carving a minute off the lead, which is down to 7'11. A Domina Vacanze rider has also joined in the chase. All of the workers are doing short turns, as they need to keep the speed up.

14:55 CEST   
Christophe Moreau is chasing back onto the peloton after a mechanical of some sort. Punctures would be more frequent today.

14:59 CEST    110km/89km to go
Mario Aerts tells the Domina Vacanze rider to take shorter pulls in the peloton, and he obliges. The gap is now down to 6'50.

15:00 CEST   
In the break, which is getting rained on again, we can note that Christophe Mengin is from Nancy. He's towards the end of his career, so today might be one of the last chances he has to win a stage in the Tour. But it looks like Lotto and Quick.Step don't want that to happen.

15:06 CEST    115km/84km to go
A report from the CN team car on the road, which has just driven over the final 15 km of the course. The final climb at 13 km to go is nasty and steep, and could provoke a few attacks. There are huge crowds on the descent and run in to the finish, including a lot of schoolkids wearing little yellow t-shirts.

Between km 10 and km 5 it's a very steep downhill, and the riders will probably hit 100 km/h. But at the bottom, there's a fairly sharp 90 degree left hander, and the riders will still be travelling fast there. There are a fair amount of speed bumps coming into town and the roads are wet at the moment. Fortunately (for safety reasons), it's a long straight finish for the last 4 km.

15:09 CEST    119km/80km to go
Kirsipuu seems to have had a mechanical or has stopped for a nature break, but is now chasing back onto the break. He has no problems doing that.

The five leaders: Karsten Kroon (Rabobank), Jaan Kirsipuu (Credit Agricole), Mauro Gerosa (Liquigas-Bianchi), Stéphane Augé (Cofidis), Christophe Mengin (Française Des Jeux). They have 6'00 over the peloton, which is being led by the Davitamon and Quick.Step teams.

15:12 CEST    122km/77km to go
Some of the riders have little black boxes on the back of their saddles. These are to transmit power and heart rate data. At the moment, Tobias Steinhauser (T-Mobile) and Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner) are sitting on 129 and 135 bpm respectively.

The peloton is a strange sight now: a group of 30 clustered together at the front, then a long string of riders behind, fighting for position.

15:13 CEST   
IT's very tough at the back of the peloton as a crosswind rips from the left to the right. At 50 km/h, it's hard to find much shelter.

15:15 CEST    124km/75km to go
The five leaders cross over a slick set of train tracks, as they get cheered on by a local fire department. Not much work for them today, because of the rain. It's more drizzle than hard rain.

Jan Ullrich cruises up towards the front, behind a teammate. Alex Vinokourov is on the right side of the bunch, near Lance Armstrong.

15:17 CEST   
All the time it's the same six riders chasing: Hulsmans, Knaven and Cretskens (in the blue corner), and Vansummeren, Aerts, and Brandt (in the red corner). It's now 5'40 to the five leaders.

Lance grimaces at the nasty weather, with his dark blue rain jacket open.

15:19 CEST    127km/72km to go
The leaders come into Abainville, cheered on by big crowds who have braved the rain. It's fine, misty rain, the really annoying sort.

15:20 CEST   
The peloton is going through Gondrecourt-Le-Château, some 4 km behind the break.

15:21 CEST   
Inside Discovery man Chris Brewer reports from the finish line that it's currently 13 degrees celsius with a light but steady rain. The roads are quite slick but the winds are light.

15:24 CEST    132km/67km to go
The front part of the peloton is the place to be, and most of the GC riders are up here. CSC has Basso there, Discovery has Lance, T-Mobile has Vino and Jan. The rear of the peloton is strung out in misery, with each rider trying not to swallow too much road grit.

15:27 CEST    135km/64km to go
The chasers have pegged the gap back to 5'09. Mauro Gerosa's virtual yellow will be swapped for an actual green jersey soon. And a damp, muddy one at that.

Cadel Evans is riding next to Armstrong at the moment. Both are concentrating heavily on what lies ahead.

15:30 CEST    136km/63km to go
Mauro Facci (Fassa Bortolo) is sitting last wheel in the peloton, probably not the best place to be.

Ivan Basso is now sitting next to Armstrong, Vinokourov and Evans. Horner, Ullrich, Gonzalez de Galdeano, Van Bon, Moreau, and Sevilla are up there too, right behind the chasing six.

15:32 CEST   
Karpets has a flat, or something, as he hangs back with Garcia Acosta. Maybe it just feels like a flat. You get that on some days...

Wim Vansevenant has added his strength to the chase, which means Lotto has four up there and Quick.Step three.

15:34 CEST    139km/60km to go
The sodden peloton makes its way up and over a small hill en route to Nancy, now 4'50 behind the four leaders, who still have a slim chance of staying away. The tricky finale will help the break.

15:37 CEST    140km/59km to go
Gerosa does a turn as the break rides up the Côte de Montigny, the third climb of the day. The peloton is at 4'33.

15:38 CEST    141km/58km to go
Mengin attacks for the points but Kroon and Augé come around, and it's Kroon who gets it! Pretty tough sprint. That should give Kroon the dots. He and Augé congratulate each other on a good sprint!

15:42 CEST    143km/56km to go
Mengin finished third on the climb, with Kroon taking first and Augé second. Kroon and Augé are both on 7 points, but Kroon should get the jersey as he has won more climbs. That is assuming they get caught before the last climb.

The peloton climbs the Montigny at a steady pace, and yesterday's most aggressive rider (with red number) Juan Antonio Flecha goes to the back and hands his rain jacket to the team car.

15:44 CEST    146km/53km to go
Gerosa wins the sprint in Chalaines ahead of Kirsipuu and Augé. But he's running out of time in the virtual yellow! He only had 4'22 to play with, and the gap is now 4'25.

The average speed after three hours is still very fast: 47.5 km/h

15:46 CEST    148km/51km to go
There goes the virtual yellow for Gerosa, as the gap comes down to close to four minutes. There's a fairly damp crowd cheering the riders through Chalaines. Little kids waving their green PMU hands.

15:51 CEST    151km/48km to go
Ullrich looks comfortable has he grabs some food from his pocket, as does Christophe Moreau. They are right near the front of the chase, which is led by the same seven riders from Quick.Step and Davitamon. Erik Dekker is up there too, not chasing, just watching. If the bunch catches the break before the final climb at 13 km to go, he will have to try for the mountain points.

15:53 CEST    153km/46km to go
Brandt tells Vansummeren to take it a bit easier in the chase. The big Belgian (198cm) is an incredible engine. Moreau finds time to have an on the bike nature break. That's not easy.

The gap is under four minutes now with 46 km to go. The peloton has a bit of work to do, given the conditions. It's not raining quite as hard, even though the roads are still wet.

15:55 CEST    154km/45km to go
Ivan Basso has a flat, or a mechanical, but is now chasing back on as his teammates drop back for him.

15:56 CEST    155km/44km to go
Basso gets the usual "adjust the brakes trick" from the team mechanic out the window. This is a delicate operation when you're riding behind two teammates.

The five leaders, Kroon, Kirsipuu, Gerosa, Augé, and Mengin are now just 3'30 ahead of the peloton.

15:58 CEST   
That's not our blimp (the balloon in the trees, off the side of the road).

15:59 CEST    158km/41km to go
41 km from Nancy and some new faces are getting towards the front of the peloton, including Rodriguez, Tankink, and Rogers. But they're not working yet.

Ivan Basso is still chasing on with Voigt and a couple of other teammates.

16:01 CEST   
Another rider has abandoned today: Claudio Corioni (Fassa Bortolo).

16:05 CEST   
A heart rate update: both Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner) and Tobias Steinhauser (T-Mobile) are sitting on 136 bpm and putting out about 220 watts. Their speed is 69 km/h which indicates that the road is probably sloping downhill.

16:08 CEST    166km/33km to go
This chase has been relentless, through rain and more rain, over the last 80 km. The five leaders still have 2'51 of their once eight minute plus lead left, and with 34 km to go, they still have a chance of staying clear.

16:11 CEST    168km/31km to go
Armstrong is always towards the front of the peloton, sheltering behind Paolo Savoldelli, Chechu Rubiera, and Pavel "Jaws" Padrnos.

The five leaders are in Dommartin-Les-Toul now, just before the final sprint of the day. Lots of folks are here, cheering and getting wet.

16:14 CEST    171km/28km to go
The sprint in Dommartin-Les-Toul is uphill and it's Augé who takes it ahead of Gerosa and Mengin. The peloton is less than two and a half minutes behind.

16:16 CEST    172km/27km to go
The breakaways are getting tired now, but there is still a lot of work to be done. They really need to make it to the final climb of the Côte de Maron with 13 km to go with a minute's lead. It's down to 2'20 at the moment though.

16:19 CEST    173km/26km to go
Axel Merckx has joined in the chase for Davitamon-Lotto, which has four others contributing too (Brandt, Vansummeren, Aerts, and Vansevenant). Quick.Step still has Hulsmans, Cretskens, and Knaven doing the hard yards.

Bovine update: Some cows ignore the peloton as it flies past.

16:20 CEST    174km/25km to go
It's getting heavy going in front as Mengin leads with 25 km to go. Kirsipuu is on the back, trying to nurse himself back onto the peloton.

Sebastien Joly has been shelled by the bunch. It's been a hard day back here too.

16:21 CEST   
Laszlo Bodrogi is also being dropped. Not a great day for Credit Agricole.

16:22 CEST    176km/23km to go
Auge accelerates, but Gerosa closes it down. The gap is now 1'50 and it's looking bad for the breakaways. Kirsipuu rolls through, but stops pedaling after not very long.

16:24 CEST   
Karsten Kroon looks fairly good, and we can expect him to gut it out until the end. Gerosa and Augé are doing OK as well.

16:25 CEST    179km/20km to go
Flecha is still hanging at the back of the bunch, paying for his long attack yesterday. Oh well, he got some kudos, cash, and a red number for it.

16:27 CEST    180km/19km to go
The roads are twisting now as the leaders take a slick descent. Their gap is still 1'39 as they go under 20 km to go. If this was a flat run into town, the break would be toast. But it's not.

Thor Hushovd punctures his front wheel, but gets back on quickly and uses another team car to chase behind to find the rear of the peloton. Not many teammates to help though.

16:29 CEST    181km/18km to go
It's now 1'32 as the seven man chase tackles the same descent, alongside the Moselle. It's fairly scenic here, with lots of trees.

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) has a puncture, also a front wheel.

16:31 CEST    183km/16km to go
Chavanel has to chase alone and is not having an easy time of it. There aren't many cars helping him either.

The five leaders hit the Cote de Maron with 1'22 on the peloton. Gerosa does a turn, then Mengin. Kirsipuu sits last wheel.

16:32 CEST    184km/15km to go
Gerosa and Augé take turns, both looking tired but still with a chance. The peloton is now at the foot of the climb. Sinkewitz now takes over for Quick.Step with Merckx on his wheel. Armstrong is well placed.

16:33 CEST   
Kirsipuu does a turn in the break, so he can't be feeling that bad. But the gap is coming down fast. Kroon doesn't want to work, because he wants the mountain points. So Kirsipuu attacks! Kroon and Augé are gapped, forcing Augé to chase the three leaders. Weird situation.

16:34 CEST   
Augé looks at Kroon to do a turn, but the Rabobank rider won't. He'll keep the mountains jersey if the other three take the points. Gerosa is dropped. Kirsipuu and Mengin are away! Now Mengin attacks on the steepest part. Kirsipuu feels it.

16:35 CEST    185km/14km to go
Mengin is now solo, driving towards the top of the Cote de Maron. The peloton is 50 seconds behind him, and is losing riders: Dumoulin - gone, Voeckler - gone.

16:37 CEST    185.5km/13.5km to go
Gerosa catches Kirsipuu, who latches onto the Italian. They are chasing Christophe Mengin, who is near the top of the Cote de Maron. Kroon and Augé are caught by the bunch, where CSC is on the front.

Kroon will take the mountains jersey today.

16:38 CEST    186.5km/12.5km to go
Mengin is cheered over the top by a huge crowd. He's the home boy today, and could well take this stage. But 13 km and 45 seconds isn't much.

Gerosa and Kirsipuu are now working, but the CSC led peloton is not far behind. Hincapie is up there too, looking after Armstrong. 37 seconds to Mengin, 22 to Kirsipuu and Gerosa.

16:40 CEST    187.5km/11.5km to go
Kirsipuu and Gerosa are working hard to try to close to Mengin as the climb flattens out. Gerosa took second on the climb ahead of Kirsipuu.

The peloton is broken into several bits.

Mengin is flying on the descent as Kirsipuu and Gerosa sit up.

16:41 CEST    189km/10km to go
One leader left: Christophe Mengin (FDJ), who is motoring on the descent with 25 seconds.

Kirsipuu and Gerosa shake hands after their long break. Now the peloton has to regroup to catch Mengin. Where are the sprinters?

16:42 CEST    190km/9km to go
It's still raining lightly and 14 degrees as Christophe Mengin hammers for all he is worth. He's in a bit of trouble, trying to keep his 28 second lead as he goes up another little hill.

Tankink moves to the front with Merckx, so Boonen and McEwen must have survived. O'Grady certainly has - he's on the wheel of Armstrong.

A Liquigas rider attacks the peloton...Dario Cioni!

16:43 CEST    191km/8km to go
Cioni, an excellent time trialist, is moving away from the peloton and in pursuit of Christophe Mengin. He's 18 seconds behind the FDJ rider.

A CSC jersey is on the front of the bunch, helping the chase.

16:44 CEST    192km/7km to go
Mengin is on the quick part of the descent, seven km to go and 16 seconds ahead of Cioni. He takes the left hander at the bottom fairly gently.

16:45 CEST   
Cioni takes the corner, then the peloton. McEwen and Boonen are in the top 15.

16:46 CEST    194km/5km to go
Mengin is now on the flat, as Cioni starts to lose gas on a false flat. The peloton is coming, but it's not over for Mengin yet. He has 12 seconds.

16:47 CEST   
Rogers gets to the front for Quick.Step, so they're really bringing in the heavy artillery. Mengin rides through the streets of Nancy that he knows so well.

Cioni is caught. 20 seconds to Mengin!

16:47 CEST    195km/4km to go
Mengin knows he can do it, but it will be very close. The road straightens out now with 4 km to go.

16:48 CEST    195.5km/3.5km to go
The FDJ rider is getting huge cheers as he rides through the streets of Nancy, 16 seconds ahead of the peloton. Merckx does a big turn now as FDJ marks the front of the bunch.

16:49 CEST    196km/3km to go
Boonen and McEwen are well placed in the bunch, which may just catch Christophe Mengin. It will be very close! 3 km. 13 seconds.

16:49 CEST    197km/2km to go
Lampre gets to the front, then a Rabobank rider attacks - Weening.

Mengin takes a left hander with 10 seconds on the peloton, which makes it through the corner.

16:50 CEST   
Mengin drives towards 2 km to go, holding his 10 second lead. Vinokourov attacks!!

16:50 CEST    197.5km/1.5km to go
Vino gets a bit of a gap but Bortolami chases behind him. O'Grady right there.

Mengin has five seconds.

16:51 CEST    198km/1km to go
Vino bears down on Mengin and catches him just before 1 km to go. Bernucci is with him. Three leaders.

16:52 CEST   
Mengin crashes on the last corner! And most of the peloton crash into him. Bernucci misses it, but Vino doesn't quite. He is chasing the Italian rider.

The sprinters are all down.

16:53 CEST    199km/0km to go
Bernucci drives to the finish and Vinokourov will take second. Excellent ride by the Kazakh. Bernucci celebrates! What a finish!

16:54 CEST   
McEwen and Boonen ride in together with Rodriguez and Chavanel. Armstrong will lose time to Vinokourov, but the rest of the peloton should get the same time. Mengin's crash completely threw the peloton off. Vino and Bernucci were lucky to avoid it.

17:00 CEST   
Davis, Cooke, O'Grady all slid into Mengin. What a mess!

Armstrong will keep the lead, but he loses 19 seconds to Vinokourov on GC. That was a great ride by Vino, who probably would have won the stage had he not had to stop behind Mengin.

17:04 CEST   
That wraps it up from us today - a very tight finish and what a bad way to end for Christophe Mengin. Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes, especially when you're fighting for every last km/h in the wet.

Until tomorrow!


1 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                          4.12.52
2 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team                             
3 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                0.07
4 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Domina Vacanze                                   
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole                                   
6 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo                                      
7 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Lampre-Caffita                              
8 Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                
9 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Lampre-Caffita                                  
10 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC                                    

General classification after stage 6

1 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel                      17.58.11
2 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel                          0.55
3 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team                         1.02
4 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC                                        1.04
5 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC                                      1.07
6 Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) Discovery Channel                        1.14
7 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel                        1.16
8 Benjamin Noval (Spa) Discovery Channel                           1.26
9 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                            
10 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC                                1.32

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