2018 Tour de France: Stage 6 live race updates, blog

Brissie Boy Roar Pro

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    The Tour de France says goodbye to Brittany with a stage that sees the first summit finish of this year’s race. As the favourites get their first chance to make their mark, join The Roar for live coverage of Stage 6 from 10pm (AEST).

    After last night’s stage saw the first real stretch of hilly racing, tonight’s stage follows a similar pattern, with four categorised climbs on the menu, including the stage finish on the category 3 Mûr de Bretagne.

    It is here that we will potentially see some fireworks from the puncheurs, including Julian Alaphillippe and Dan Martin.

    The race begins in the seaside town of Brest, up near the fictional home of Asterix the Gaul, but hopefully the riders won’t be needing any magic potion today as they head south-east away from the coast towards the double ascent of the Mur de Bretagne.

    This will be a climb familiar to many Australians, for it was here seven years ago where Cadel Evans claimed victory over Alberto Contador on the way to his history-making win the 2011 Tour de France. BMC team director Jim Ochowitz was there on the scene back then and will be hoping Richie Porte might be able to do something similar today.

    For a result more relevant to today’s stage, you only have to look back to the last time this climb was ridden at the Tour, in 2015, where Alexis Vuillermoz won the stage and Chris Froome stamped his authority on the race.

    Greg Van Avermaet will find it hard to defend his yellow jersey with such a narrow lead to defend on a sharp climb and – unless he fancies his chances of surviving for the sprint finish, where he would be favoured to win – will likely race for his team leader, Porte.

    This is the first climb of the 2018 Tour where the gradient consistently ramps above ten per cent and it should be a finish where both the classics riders and the puncheurs come to the fore. With little chance of a sprint finish, a larger than usual breakaway is probable.

    Regardless of whether or not the breakaway succeeds, the fact that the climb will be ascended twice means that the race is likely to finish with a small bunch fighting it out for the stage win and, for the overall contenders, time gains.

    Men like Dan Martin are likely to go full gas today for the glory of victory on the first summit of this year’s Tour. The Irishman will be at his strongest in the first week and looks a good pick for a stage win here, if not a high overall finish.

    Others to watch include Frenchman Julian Alaphillippe, who will be keen for a first win in his home Grand Tour; old warhorse Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, who at 38 still has the potential to cause a surprise; and the two Belgian rivals Philippe Gilbert and Greg van Avermaet, who will fancy their chances if they can make it to the top in the final group.

    And you can’t discount any of the main GC contenders if bonus seconds are on offer.

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    The Crowd Says (83)

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    • Roar Pro

      Brissie Boy said | 3:24am | ! Report

      What were your thoughts on the stage, Roarers?

    • Roar Pro

      Brissie Boy said | 3:23am | ! Report


      It was a fantastic finish from Brit-turned Irishman Dan Martin who claimed victory at the summit of the Mûr de Bretagne on Stage 6 of the 2018 Tour de France. On the climb where he had left his run far too late to catch Alexis Vuillermoz three years ago, Martin showed why he is considered one of the strongest men in the peloton and left nothing to chance this time around in seeing off a brave challenge from young Frenchman Pierre laTour.

      In the greater race for the overall classification, Greg van Avermaet rode exceptionally well to retain his yellow jersey three seconds ahead of Welshman Geraint Thomas. The Belgian even managed to finish five seconds ahead of three-time defending champion Chris Froome, who looked out of sorts.

      It was not a disaster by means for the man who has already achieved the almost unprecedented feat of holding all three Grand Tours at the same time, especially not when compared with main rivals Tom Dumoulin and Romain Bardet, who suffered terribly timed punctures in the last five kilometres and who both lost time, around 50 and 30 seconds respectively.

      The stage had started with a five man breakaway forming from the get-go, consisting of four Frenchmen and the New Zealander, Dion Smith. Smith had been hoping to collect all the KOM points on offer and reclaim the polka-dot jersey from the shoulders of Latvian Toms Skuijins. However, any hopes the breakaway may have had of surviving to the finish were brutally cut short by some mid-stage shenanigans from Quick-Step Floors who tore the peloton apart in the characteristically fierce Brittanic cross-winds.

      Although the main bunch would eventually re-form thirty kilometres down the road, the break’s advantage had quickly been reduced from six and a half minutes to under two and from that point on it never looked like they had any chance of success. Eventually they were all caught and there was heartbreak in particular for Smith, who was swept up just a kilometre short of the penultimate climb of the day and what would have been the overall KOM lead. Instead Skuijins, weakened by his big effort on yesterday’s stage, summoned one last burst of energy to summit the Mur de Bretagne first and extend his historic stay in the polka-dot jersey.

      New Zealander Jack Bauer launched a late attack from behind Skuijins on the descent and held the lead for ten kilometres, before being swamped by the bunch at the foot of the second ascent of the Bretagne. Within the first few hundred chaotic metres of the climb, there were a flurry of attacks for the likes of Jullian Alaphillippe, Adam Yates and Richie Porte, but in the end it was Dan Martin who was able to gap the field to claim his second Tour stage win, five years after his first.

    • Roar Pro

      Brissie Boy said | 2:38am | ! Report

      Here are the words of the Olympic champion and overall leader:

      “I’m really happy to keep it – it was a really hard climb. The tempo never slowed down, and that is what kind of killed me to do a better placing. I’m really happy I didn’t lose any time on the rivals, and Alaphilippe was not second on the stage so I could keep it. Overall a good day for me and Richie.”

      – Greg van Avermaet

    • Roar Pro

      Brissie Boy said | 2:36am | ! Report

      Greg van Avermaet rode exceptionally well to retain his yellow jersey ahead of Geraint Thomas, who moved into second place overall after picking up two bonus seconds. Richie Porte is now eleventh overall, on the same time as Jakob Fuglsang.


      1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 22:35:46
      2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky +0:03
      3 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team +0:05
      4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors +0:06
      5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors +0:12
      6 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors +0:18
      7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale +0:45
      8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team +0:51
      9 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe +0:52
      10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team +0:53

    • Roar Pro

      Brissie Boy said | 2:05am | ! Report

      It was a fantastic result, however, for Peter Sagan who finished eighth (on a summit finish!) and extended his lead in the points classification over Fernando Gaviria. That’s the reason right there why he’s three time defending World Champion.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 2:03am | ! Report

      Thanks for the call mate.

      Cracking finish. Martin was my tip, so I’ll take that!

      Froomie being dropped at the end there confirms my suspicions. He isn’t at the top of his game after riding the Giro.

      Shocking day for Bardet. Might be his race done after the TTT as well.

      • Roar Pro

        Brissie Boy said | 2:15am | ! Report

        All good Scotty, I’ll happily claim Martin as a successful tip as well while I can, as you can get them badly wrong sometimes in cycling!

        I’m not going to make any snap judgments about Froome. He looked absolutely off his game, much worse than this, for the entire first two weeks of the Giro and we all know what happened there.

        Agree on Bardet though, can’t see him finishing top 5 unless he pulls off a special effort in the mountains given his terrible time-trialling abilities and, frankly, I can’t see him pulling off a Froome-style heist against such a strong field.

    • Roar Pro

      Brissie Boy said | 2:01am | ! Report

      Just a minor correction, Romain Bardet actually suffered a mechanical incident similar to Tom Dumoulin’s rather than crashing as I had initially thought. Either way, those two are the big losers from today’s stage.

    • Roar Pro

      Brissie Boy said | 1:59am | ! Report

      Amongst the overall contenders, Chris Froome was actually dropped there at the end in the final kick to the line and lost about 5 seconds to the group containing Greg van Avermaet.

    • Roar Pro

      Brissie Boy said | 1:56am | ! Report

      Here’s the stage winner:

      “I really hope my wife hasn’t just gone into labour. I was a bit nervous because of the headwind, I didn’t think it was going to happen. I thought, why not have a try? So I did. The legs were just there, all the time. I don’t know, maybe adrenaline. I felt good yesterday but didn’t quite get an opening in the final. I was really relaxed all day, not confident but looking forward to having a crack, to having a good race on the last climb. Today I just attacked as hard as I could. It makes this Tour de France a success for us already, and anything else is a bonus.”

    • Roar Pro

      Brissie Boy said | 1:54am | ! Report

      It was a fantastically-timed timed attack from Dan Martin and an impressive one too at that, coming on the steepest section of the climb. He was determined to go early today after having his heart broken on this climb three years ago when he attacked too late and lost the stage to Alexis Vuillermoz, and he comfortably saw off a late challenge from Pierre Latour to claim the stage win.