Tour de France stage six as it happened

Relive stage six as Peter Sagan wins a sprint finish into Metz, although a huge crash holds up many riders 25km from the end.

6 July 2012 Last updated at 17:24

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As it happened

  1. 1655:  

    There are bound to be more riders abandoning the Tour as the evening wears on. But it's time for me to bring the live text to a close. Thanks for your texts, tweets and company. The report on stage six is live. We're heading into the Vosges on Saturday and a summit finish on a new climb. Will those that lost time today have to attack Wiggins? Only one way to find out. See you in the morning.

  2. 1651:  

    Cancellara reveals that he was right next to the crash and that he was lucky to stay upright but he had to continue the race. "We were travelling at 70km/h and it's not a nice part of the job but we were racing and I am trying to defend the yellow jersey."

  3. 1647:  

    Britain's Garmin rider David Millar on Twitter: "Oh sweet jesus that was scary. Approx 70km/h pile up, like a tidal wave of debris smashing towards us, could do nothing but brake and pray. Knee caps smashed, chainring in chest, thigh + ankle bruised. Didn't even notice this scratch."

  4. 1644:   
    Green Jersey

    Green points jersey standings:

    1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas 209 points

    2. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 178

    3. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol 167

    4. Mark Cavendish (GB) Team Sky 129

    5. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre 109

  5. 1641:   
    Yellow Jersey ,

    Overall top five:

    1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack 29hrs 22' 36"

    2. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky @ 7"

    3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma @ same time

    4. Tejay van Garderen (US) BMC @10"

    5. Denis Menhov (Rus) Katusha @13"

  6. 1639:  

    That was quite a staggering finish. Reports coming in that the crash happened at 70km/h, while Tommy Voeckler is saying Europcar team-mate Pierrick Fedrigo could have a broken collarbone. Britain's David Millar says the crash is "the scariest I've ever been in".

  7. 1631:  

    And yet more riders come home. Sagan is already on the podium celebrating his win as Garmin's Johan van Summeren comes tottering over the line some 16 minutes down. He looks like he's been in a scrap. Bloodied and battered, shirt hanging off him, his shoes barely on his feet. How he's ridden the last 25km is anyone's guess. Ryder Hesjedal, by the way, is also home but he's losing more than 10 minutes today.

  8. 1627:   
    Yellow Jersey ,

    And what of the race for yellow jersey? It's very much as you were with Fabian Cancellara continuing as race leader for Saturday's first venture into the big hills. Bradley Wiggins retains his second place, seven seconds down and ahead of France's Sylvain Chavanel while Cadel Evans is a further 10 seconds back.

  9. 1623:  

    Stage six top five:

    1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas 4h37'00"

    2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol @ same time

    3. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge

    4. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil

    5. Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank

  10. 1621:  

    Still more riders come dribbling over the line. Team Sky's Mark Cavendish among them. He looks thoroughly fed up. We are yet to see a replay of the crash so it's impossible to say who or what caused it.

  11. 1617:   
    Green Jersey

    Let's take nothing away from Slovakia's Peter Sagan, though. A tremendous burst of speed and the Liquigas rider collects his third stage win of the Tour. GreenEdge's Matt Goss trails home in third.

  12. 1615:  

    And here come those that were caught in the crash. The big losers are the likes of GC contender Frank Schleck and they are losing more than two minutes. Robert Gesink is further down and he's 90 seconds further back.

  13. 1613:  

    So much for not contesting the final sprint. A battered Greipel was certainly going for that but he was well beaten by Sagan.

  14. 1612:  


  15. 1612:  

    Here come the Lotto boys leading this out and we're into the final straight. Greipel still in there. Sagan with Goss on his wheel - we're into the last couple of hundred metres.

  16. 1610:  

    Zabriskie, mouth agape and head down but he's not going to hold off the peloton. He looks behind him to witness the inevitable. He's not giving up but it's all over with 1.3km to go.

  17. 1609:  

    This is shaping up for a big finish despite the absence of several big-name sprinters. Lars Bak pushing on the Lotto team but here come BMC and GreenEdge, looking to keep Matt Goss near the front. Three of the escapees look to have given up but David Zabriskie has a dig in the final 3km.

  18. 1607:  

    Just 5km remaining and the leaders continue to hold their slim advantage. GreenEdge train down the left, BMC next to them and Sky inside with Lampre showing well. The Schleck group continues to close - it just remains to be seen how far down they finish.

  19. 1605:  

    Greipel's Lotto team manager suggested that the German would not be contesting the sprint today - wonder whether their stance has changed given the circumstances. Hesjedal is currently seven minutes down - that's going to seriously dent his general classification hopes.

  20. 1601:  

    Schleck's group is up with Cavendish's but they are two minutes behind the peloton with a touch over 11km remaining. Big efforts in the chasing group - do they have enough distance on the road to catch up? Sagan, Greipel and Goss in the front group remember. Wiggins and Cadel Evans and Cancellara all in the front bunch as well.

  21. 1559:  

    The Schleck group is a little over two minutes 30 seconds down but they are working hard to get back on. Inside the last 14km and the leaders are dangling at 18 seconds. The official Tour website confirms that Cavendish and Boasson Hagen were held up by the crash. Their are abandonments coming in as well. Tom Danielson is one, Wouter Poels another. More sure to follow.

  22. 1555:  
    GB down

    The escapees are just 15 seconds clear as the those caught up in the crash put the hammer down to try and chase back on to the peloton. It appears as though Cavendish may have been held up in the crash.

  23. 1552:  

    It's magic spanner time for Frank Schleck. The RadioShack mechanic leaning out the window and giving their rider a little help but he's got to be more than two minutes behind the peloton. The Luxembourg rider also visiting the medical car.

  24. 1550:  

    Ivan from London, via text on 81111: "Trained for the Marmotte last year doing endless repeats of Swains Lane in Highgate (16% at worst) and my wife goes into premature labour with our fourth the night before the big event. So I will never test the London hill repeats training theory, nor forgive my wife for her inappropriate timing."

  25. 1549:  

    The cars are creeping through the carnage. Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal also caught up but he's back on a bike and riding. That looks a nasty gash on his left thigh and hip and the Canadian is gingerly on his way. Schleck also pedalling. BMC, GreenEdge and Sky are all safe up front and they continue to eat into the lead of the four out front - 30 seconds is the lead.

  26. 1544:  

    And there's another big crash in the peloton. There are riders crumpled up on the roadside verge, others littered across the road. Mangled bike frames and wheels everywhere. GC contender Frank Schleck has been caught up. Riders frantically trying to get new machines to get going again. Team Sky riders appear to have missed the devastation.

  27. 1543:  

    Up at the front of the peloton and Orica GreenEdge are taking on the pace. Wiggins safely on the left, looking cool as you like. The leaders continue to work together but their advantage has been trimmed to 45 seconds as they go through 25km.

  28. 1541:  

    So, Super Mario's record of four successive sprint wins will remain intact for another year. Fellow sprinters Tyler Farrar and Oscar Freire will not be contesting today's run-in either - both are out the back of the peloton with 27km to go.

  29. 1537:  
    Graham Jones , Radio 5 live sports extra co-commentator

    On Twitter: "Couple of tricky bends in last two and half kms, hope it's incident free!! Sticking my neck out for Cavendish!"

  30. 1535:  

    Ben John on Twitter: "'Zabriskie, Zingle, Malacarne and Kroon' sounds like a great name for an old law firm."

  31. 1534:  

    Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant has said that Andre Greipel will not be contesting today's sprint finish after injuring his hand in the crash earlier on.

  32. 1531:  

    Ollie Holden on Twitter: "How long have I got to get home before they get down to the last 20km?? Feel like I'm in my own race now!" 16km to the last 20, so I'd get moving. No more than 20 minutes I reckon.

  33. 1529:  

    Live commentary of today's stage is just getting under way with Peter Slater and Graham Jones on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.

  34. 1528:  

    Sky appear to be employing the same tactics as yesterday with all eight riders on the left-hand side of the peloton, keeping up near the front. BMC's train just squeezes by them.

  35. 1523:  

    Zabriskie, Zingle, Malacarne and Kroon have just 43km remaining and their lead is down to one minute. Weather holding fine. Rain has ceased in Salford, you may, or may not be interested to learn, although the wind appears to be picking up, which is worse in my eyes.

  36. 1517:  

    Richard via text on 81111: "Did Ventoux three times in June on my honeymoon. You can register to join 'club des cingles'. When you attempt to do it. My wife registered my attempt as my 50th birthday present."

  37. 1516:  

    Jens Voigt, fresh from his stint at the front of the peloton, drops right to the back to collect the bidons for his RadioShack team-mates. Super work.

  38. 1513:  

    Andrew from Highgate, via text on 81111: "Just finished the Maratona last weekend and tried Andy from Manchester's plan on Passo Di Giau - broke it into circuits of Muswell Hill - sadly the 30 degree heat and the gradient got the better of me. Hats off to the Giro riders from us mere mortals."

  39. 1512:  

    The peloton, perhaps wary of yesterday's late late sprinting show, pegs the leaders back to 90 seconds. Just 50km remaining and it's pretty much downhill all the way to Metz.

  40. 1508:  

    Andrew fromAltrincham, via text on 81111: "Re l'etape. I agree with Andy, long tour climbing is mental. I did the 'cingles du ventoux' last may, at 115 kg 3x Ventoux in a day is a proper test of one's mettle. L'etape is no different, keep eating, don't stop, keep eating, enjoy the scenery, keep eating, you have LOTS of low gears, keep eating. Good luck."

    Tricky via text on 81111: "If you climb Ventoux 3 times in one day you qualify as a "madman of the Ventoux". My mate Runway Ken tried to persuade me a few years ago but I had more sense!"

  41. 1504:  

    Rabobank and Lotto riders appear to be down, although it doesn't look serious. What the stoppage has meant, though, is that Zabriskie's foursome is back up to a two-minute lead.

  42. 1502:   
    Polkadot Jersey

    Meanwhile, Zabriskie takes the solitary point on offer for being the first rider over the Cote de Buxieres as the peloton powers up the climb around 90 seconds later. And there's another crash - the whole peloton comes to a stop. Race radio saying Andre Greipel involved. It was a low-pace tumble as the riders were still climbing.

  43. 1459:   
    Green Jersey

    Result of the intermediate sprint:

    1. Kroon (STB) 20pts

    2. Zabriskie (GRS) 17pts

    3. Zingle (COF) 15pts

    4. Malacarne (EUC) 13pts

    5. Goss (OGE) 11pts - 2'50"

    6. Cavendish (SKY) 10pts

    7. Sagan (LIQ) 9pts

    8. Boeckmans (VCD) 8pts

    9. Boasson Hagen (SKY) 7pts

    10. Hutarovich (FDJ) 6pts

    11. O'Grady (OGE) 5pts

    12. Impey (OGE) 4pts

    13. Popovych (RNT) 3pts

    14. Albasini (OGE) 2pts

    15. Bak (LTB) 1pt

  44. 1457:  

    A little over half an hour until live commentary with Peter Slater and Graham Jones on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra - I'll stick the link in the live text for you a little closer to the broadcast time.

  45. 1454:  

    The peloton is stepping on the pedals with Jens Voigt pulling the bunch along. The lead is down to under two minutes for our four breakaway riders, who are on the only category four climb of the day, Cote de Buxieres. It's a mere 2.7km long with an average gradient of 3.8%. No bother for Manchester's Andy, I would imagine then.

  46. 1450:  

    Andy from Manchester, via text on 81111: "Ventoux 3 times...Why? Why not! ;) can you imagine how good the beer tasted afterwards?!"

  47. 1447:   
    Green Jersey

    Here comes the big fight and Cavendish is being led out by Team Sky team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen but Matt Goss is coming up on his outside and the Australian is going to take this. Cavendish inches shy. Sagan in his green jersey follows. No Andre Greipel - keeping his powder dry perhaps?

  48. 1444:   
    Green Jersey

    Into the sprint in Saint-Mihiel then. Zabriskie on the back of the quartet but he's not looking too bothered as Karsten Kroon steps on the pedals to ensure he picks up the 20 points. Zingle is second over, with Zabriskie and Malacarne following.

  49. 1440:  
    That's ugly!

    What is that on the side of the road? It looks like a female albino Jabba the Hutt. I'm used to seeing all manner of sculptures, usually bicycle related in the cornfields that line each stage - but that has to be the most bizarre thing. Anyone else with an idea?

  50. 1438:   
    Green Jersey

    Just reading those last texts again. Andy, the Ventoux, three times in one day? Really? And why? Chapeau. Back on the Tour proper, the leaders are approaching the intermediate sprint. Twenty points for the first over the line. The big battle will be in the peloton, though. Peter Sagan will be wanting to make up for losing out yesterday.

  51. 1432:   
    Yellow Jersey , NEW RECORD

    That's nice. Fabian Cancellara holding up a little note to the camera saying he loves his wife and kids. Spartacus sets a new record today as the man to spend the most days wearing the yellow jersey without winning the overall race. This is his 27th day in the coveted jersey.

  52. 1429:  

    Hope you're still reading, Gords.

    Parker from London, via text on 81111: "Trust me the Etape in the Pyrenees will be like nothing you've ever experienced before. You'll feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole. Both terrifying and awe-inspiring!"

    Andy from Manchester, via text on 81111: "As odd as it sounds, big climbs are mostly all about mental attitude. As soon as you start doubting yourself you are in trouble. Break them into chunks and just keep eating it away bit by bit. Use Km markers as prompts to eat, drink, get out of saddle and stretch, etc. Did the Ventoux 3 times in a day this May and this strategy worked wonderfully. Don't see the Tourmalet as a 23km+ climb, it's 6x4kms, and so on. Best of luck."

    John Sweeney from Leytonstone, via text on 81111: "Borrow a bike from a professional team. They have little motors inside the frame I'll have you know."

    There will also be a blog on the BBC Sport website on Tuesday from Geraint Thomas on how to ride in the mountains.

  53. 1424:  

    Bravado from Vaughters? Will Zabriskie, a decent time trialler, fancy his chances late on? Surely only a wet finish would give him any hope? The peloton, perhaps wary of the wily DZ have brought the lead down to under four minutes, 30 seconds.

  54. 1422:  

    Garmin manager Jonathan Vaughters on Twitter: "While 90% of the time these breakaways get caught, Dave Zabriskie is smart when it comes to pacing and can surprise you in the final kms."

  55. 1420:  

    "The first week of the Tour has been mad, but it is always like that," says Bradley Wiggins. The Team Sky rider is second overall and he has been giving his thoughts on the first week of the Tour to the Guardian.

  56. 1416:  

    David Hawkins on Twitter: "re Matt (1351): Disgusting energy gels and scientific flapjacks. Both awful. Give me a banana and a fig roll any day." #bbccycling

  57. 1415:  

    The lead is tumbling as the peloton decides to up the pace. Simon Gerrans of Orica GreenEdge puts in a big effort to deliver a food bag to his team-mate at the front. It is rejected and Gerrans, with a face as dark as the skies, slams the bag into the roadside verge. Don't think he was too pleased with that. Advantage at just under five minutes.

  58. 1411:  

    Pieter via text on 81111: "Think the breakaway might make it today. First hills tomorrow We already had a few crashes today so GC contenders might take it easy today. Kroon or Malacarne for the win."

    Graeme from Glasgow, via text on 81111: "Wiggins said yesterday that it was "nice to open up at the front yesterday cos it's so easy back in the peloton"...think we'll see him putting in some big efforts on front of the train to get Cav the win today?"

  59. 1407:  

    Zabriskie's chamois creme working perfectly well for him today - I'm guessing he uses his own brand? He looks incredibly comfortable in the saddle as he helps push the pace along in the leading quartet. The lead is 5'30" with 100km remaining. Enough blue sky to make a pair of sailor's pants, as my grandma used to say, although a storm may be brewing ahead.

  60. 1404:  

    Will from London, via text on 81111: "Tip for Gords (see 1333) You have 200km and 5,000m of climbing. Don't tear it up until you are on the last climb. If you feel comfortable in a gear at the beginning on the first climb change down a gear - if you have one."

  61. 1400:  
    One to watch

    Not sure why but everyone's favourite Frenchman Thomas Voeckler is one of two riders who have fallen off the back of the peloton. Hopefully nothing too serious, would really love to see Tommy V on the attack in the Vosges tomorrow. He has another Europcar rider for company.

  62. 1357:  

    Race medic Doctor Florence Pommerie has been talking to the Tour website about the injuries suffered in the crash earlier today. "About 20 riders came past our car after the fall, including many team leaders," she said. "The crash victims included Sandy Casar, Jean-Christophe Peraud and Andre Greipel. Most have abrasions and contusions. These are minor injuries, but they hurt all the same. Andre Greipel seems to have some significant injuries including a wounded finger. He must have landed very heavily."

  63. 1355:  

    The rain has abated and the sun is back out, in France of course, it's still tipping it down here. The leading quartet pick up their musettes, empty the contents into their pockets, cast the bag in the general direction of the many fans lining the route. Lead is at six minutes.

  64. 1351:  

    Lots of help for Tour debutants yesterday. Hopefully someone has advice for Gords (see 1333), but in the meantime, Matt from Somerset, asks via text on 81111: "As a keen newbie to all things cycling can I just ask what the cyclists are typically fed at the food zone? I expect its not a fishfinger sandwich like I've just had, but what are they fuelling themselves with?"

  65. 1345:  

    Tight left-hander on the road and the peloton is down to snail's pace to get round without coming off. Everyone safely round - Cancellara sitting a dozen or so riders back from the front while the Team Sky boys are all together in the front third of the peloton.

  66. 1340:  

    Waldo via text on 81111: "Problem for Sky, Cav, is that GT [Geraint Thomas] is doing track not road. Next year he could be GC contender. Wrong team choice for Cav."

  67. 1338:  

    New wheels for Gesink. Front and back both changed while I'm typing. That was a better pit-stop than the F1 crews. A quick shove and the Dutchman is off again. The quartet out front are drifting along at an average of 41.3km/h through the first two hours of today's stage.

  68. 1333:  

    Gords from Fife, via text on 81111: "I'm cycling the Etape du Tour next weekend in the Pyrenees on the brutal route of Pau to Bagneres du Luchon. Any tips? The only thing that will get me anywhere near 'completion' is the thought of a cool pint in my local Scottish pub afterwards." Be sure to let us know how you got on when you get back.

  69. 1329:  

    Call that rain? There's a few spots in France that has made the road a little moist. Nothing to compare with the lake that has been forming outside the office here in Salford this morning. Already not looking forward to the ride home. Lead is out to 6'48"

  70. 1327:  

    First sight of a patched up Greipel. The German doesn't appear to be in too bad a shape. His left elbow is bandaged up but he's up near the front of the peloton as the riders continue in an eastern direction towards Metz.

  71. 1323:   
    Yellow Jersey ,

    Fabian Cancellara has just been given a cardboard cut-out of the profile of his prologue stage win by the Eurosport television crew. To say the Swiss rider looked a little bewildered is an understatement. Still, at least the race leader remembered his manners and said thanks.

  72. 1317:   
    Green Jersey

    Erik Zabel, winner of six green jerseys and generally regarded as Germany's finest sprinter, on whether his compatriot Andre Greipel can win today: "I think so, yes. We have seen that the best sprinters are Greipel and Cavendish but Greipel has shown he can handle the pressure and he's red-hot favourite for today."

  73. 1313:  

    Salinger on Twitter: "I'm going for Tom Veelers today. Has been sprinting well last few days. Finishing high on each of the sprints."

    Sam Fry on Twitter: "re: Stubbsie at 13:04 Not all of us. Hoping Andre Greipel continues his streak and keeps Cav quiet for another day."

  74. 1311:  

    The Lotto team reports that Greipel has "abrasions and a painful shoulder" after crashing earlier in today's stage. As BBC Sport commentator Graham Jones points out on Twitter, that might even things up a bit, although Jones still fancies Cav for the win.

  75. 1304:  

    Lenny Martin on Twitter: "re: Neil at 12:42 Possibly because if he went through the tour as a domestique and never sprinted then he'd be rusty as hell come London."

    Stubbsie via text on 81111: "We all appear to want a Cav win today. Wasn't surprised he didnt win yesterday as fall took effect and Greipel well organised and on good form. Hope its lucky 22 today!"

    Andrew via text on 81111: Cav and intermediate sprints: maybe he's making a psychological point as much as anything - 'I can think about the Olympics and still beat you guys'."

    Steve from London, via text on 81111: "A win for Matt Goss today will certainly put the cat among the pigeons."

  76. 1302:  

    Movistar leader Alejandro Valverde was also caught up in the crash a few kilometres back. So far, only one rider involved in that coming together has been to see the race doctor - that is Dutch national time trial champion Lieuwe Westra of the Vacansoleil team. Zabriskie, Zingle, Kroon and Malacarne lead by 6'30".

  77. 1257:  

    Dave from Epsom, via text on 81111: "What's a tennis match? And how does the word "racing" relate to what happens in F1?"

  78. 1255:   
    Green Jersey That's incredible!

    Andre Greipel is today bidding to become the first man since Lance Armstrong in 2004 to win three successive Tour de France stages. The last sprinter was Super Mario Cipollini, who won stages four, five and six in 1999 - he followed that up with a fourth successive victory on stage seven.

  79. 1248:  

    Right then, it looks like we're in for a long old drag today. The breakaway is established and we all know that the peloton will sit tight until the last possible minute. Entertain me and your fellow readers with your Tour de France tales of joy and woe. The only stipulations: they must be printable and related to today's stage, or prominent riders. Text 81111 or tweet #bbccycling.

  80. 1244:  

    Rabobank leader Robert Gesink was also involved in the crash a little earlier. The 26-year-old Dutchman was fifth in the Tour de France a couple of years ago.

  81. 1242:  

    Neil Harris on Twitter: "Mark Cavendish has said his focus is the Olympics and helping Brad Wiggins win yellow. Why the intermediate sprints then? Green?" ‪

    Salinger on Twitter: "Couldn't disagree more with Martin on Text @12:08 Last proper flat stage for a while. Sprint teams will pull them back, easy!!!" #bbccycling

  82. 1239:  

    There's been a wee spill on the road. Sprinter Andre Greipel among those who went down but all riders are back up and pedalling. The peloton eased off the pace to allow the stricken riders to keep in touch. As a consequence, the leading quartet's advantage is now out to 5'30".

  83. 1233:  
    Graham Jones , Radio 5 live sports extra co-commentator

    On Twitter: "Perfect view of the finish line from our comms position, as good as it gets for Cavendish, will suit him more than yesterday!?"

  84. 1229:  

    The leaders are around 40km into today's stage and it's been about as flat as you could ever want it to be if you were commuting into work. A couple of very minor lumps and bumps on the way to the 136km mark where we will have the intermediate sprint and then it's straight up the solitary category four climb of the day before a steady 60km descent into Metz.

  85. 1222:  

    Alistair Thomson on Twitter: "Mark Cavendish and Andy Murray to both win today in a glorious day for Britain!" #bbccycling #bbcsport #bbctennis

  86. 1218:  

    Dave Zabriskie is one of the world's most popular cyclists, according to his personal website. An accident in 2003 almost ended his racing career - an SUV turned directly into him - but after spending four months in a wheelchair, he gradually regained fitness. In 2008, he "fulfilled a long-standing dream to create the world's best chamois cream" - his words not mine. Chamois cream helps to prevent chafing. The lead hovering around the four-minute mark.

  87. 1209:  

    Team Sky on Twitter: "Siutsou injury update - Kanstantsin's treatment in Paris was a success & he'll be travelling home in the next few days to begin his recovery."

  88. 1208:  

    Martin from London, via text on 81111: "I can see the breakaway holding out today, with Davide Malacarne winning both the intermediate sprint and taking the race win."

  89. 1206:  
    Peter Slater , Radio 5 live sports extra commentator BBC COVERAGE

    On Twitter: "Off to the commentary box for stage 6 of Tour de France. 22 degrees in Metz. Myself and @grahamjonesy on @BBC5LSX from 1530. Why not join us." Live commentary will also available on BBC Sport website.

  90. 1204:  

    Zabriskie's crew have established a lead approaching four minutes. The American is one of two riders in the leading quartet to have won a stage before - he beat Lance Armstrong by two seconds in the opening time trial of 2005, while Kroon won on Bastille Day in 2002.

  91. 1200:   
    Green Jersey GET INVOLVED

    So, who is going to take the stage win today? With 20 points up for grabs for being first over the intermediate sprint and 45 points for the stage win, the green jersey could change hands today. Who will be wearing it tonight? Tweet #bbccycling or text me your thoughts on 81111 - please remember to put your name and cycling on all texts because there's a tennis match or two and some car racing going on today as well.

  92. 1157:   
    Green Jersey

    Top five in the green jersey classification:

    1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas 155pts

    2. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 137

    3. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol 132

    4. Mark Cavendish (GB) Team Sky 119

    5. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre 91

  93. 1153:  

    Slovakian Sagan said: "Unfortunately, every sprint has the same script: all riders want to be in front of the group, all guys think they feel good and take risks that cause crashes. I know we're at the Tour de France and a victory here means a lot, but the risks are really high. Knowing that the consequences of the crash are not severe helps me to pass the disappointment."

  94. 1152:   
    Green Jersey

    While the quartet establish their lead, let's briefly return to Thursday's finish. Green jersey leader Peter Sagan was more sanguine after he got caught up in the crash and missed the chance to earn some more points.

  95. 1149:  

    Four men are making a break. Garmin's Dave Zabriskie instigated it, while the others who jumped on his tail are Davide Malacarne of Europcar, Romain Zingle of Cofidis and Karsten Kroon of Saxo Bank.

  96. 1145:  

    In a statement, Veelers blamed Farrar for the crash. He said: "Tyler wanted to get in the wheel of Koen de Kort, but I was already there. He didn't respect my train, but that's his problem. I get why he's upset, because a crash is never very pleasant."

  97. 1143:  

    Back to the race. There were a few fireworks after yesterday's finish in Saint-Quentin. Tyler Farrar, the Garmin rider, crashed for the fourth time this Tour and was furious. So furious in fact that he marched over to the Argos-Shimano bus to confront Tom Veelers. Thankfully he was soon escorted back to his own bus.

  98. 1140:  

    No immediate break from the peloton - perhaps everyone is enjoying the beautiful scenery as the race heads out into the vineyards that surround Epernay. I visited the place a few years ago and can highly recommend a tour of one the Champagne houses. There are, of course, plenty to choose from, but I took the family to Mercier. The cellars are so big that they held a car rally in them in 1950 without breaking a bottle.

  99. 1135:  

    According to the official Tour website, there has been another spill in the neutral zone today. That can happen quite often, though, as the riders chat among themselves as they weave through the start town. However, the racing has begun on time.

  100. 1130:   
    Green Jersey

    The last two days have seen crashes mar the sprint to the line. Britain's world road race champion Mark Cavendish was caught up in Wednesday's spill, while green jersey wearer Peter Sagan was taken out on Thursday. Andre Greipel was the man to profit, winning both stages. Can he complete the hat-trick today?

  101. 1123:  

    We start the day in Champagne country, Epernay to be exact, and expect Britain's Bradley Wiggins, who is still second behind Fabian Cancellara, to enjoy another relatively quiet day in the peloton, supported by his Team Sky colleagues, while the green jersey contenders battle it out for supremacy.

  102. 1119:  

    Hello and welcome to stage six of the 2012 Tour de France. With a couple of hilly days to come the sprinters will be out in force today for the downhill finish into Metz.

  103. 1115:  

    "I'm second in the Tour de France. There's only one place to go."

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