Live: 2012 Tour de France – Stage 6 – Epernay to Metz
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Tour de France 2012 (Poster by Chungkong)
Stage six of the 2012 Tour de France will track between Epernay and Metz and pass through the picturesque Champagne region. Please join us for live blogging from 8:30pm AEST with full coverage starting at 10:00pm.
(Comments will be added to the bottom of this post as the race progresses.)
Today’s 207.5 km stage is another for the pure sprinters and the fast men will be keen to exert their influence as it will be over a week before they get another chance to do so.
Although not pancake flat – it contains one category four climb – there is nothing of note that will blunt the sprinters’ optimism.
With full green jersey points on offer, both the intermediate and closing sprints will be frantic, high octane affairs as the likes of Matt Goss (supported by Orica-GreenEdge), Andre Greipel (supported by Lotto Belisol) and Mark Cavendish (supported by… Mark Cavendish) attempt to steal the green jersey off the back of Liquigas-Cannodale’s Slovakian child prodigy, Peter Sagan.
The 700 metre finishing straight will be scorched by aggressive lead out trains jostling for position at break neck speeds.
Colourful, dramatic and dangerous, the sprints will make up for what may be a slightly more pedestrian pace over the rest of the day as teams and riders begin to turn their attention to the hills and mountains which are looming large on the horizon.
If the stage goes to plan, Michael Morkov will inevitably get himself into the break in order to claim the one King of the Mountain point on offer and stretch his lead – by one – in that classification. The Saxo Bank rider is fast overtaking FDJ’s Jeremy Roy as the king of the breakaway.
The intermediate sprint comes at 135.5 kilometres into the race and is quickly followed by the 2.7 kilometre climb up the Cote de Buxieires, a placid category four bump that Morkov will endeavour to be first over. With an average gradient of just 3.8 percent, the small chain ring will have to wait until tomorrow’s lumpier stage to get a work out.
The finishing town of Metz is no stranger to the Tour. It has hosted an astonishing 37 stage finishes, the last of which was a time trial back in 1999 which was won by an up and coming rider by the name of Lance Armstrong.
Join us tonight for all of the live action.