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“I was only trying to defend the GC at the end; I like these kind of finishes but I am not so explosive that I could fight for the win today.  I just wanted to be in a good position, and I think I could have had a top result if n...

Photo: Sirotti






09.07.2015 @ 19:35 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The sun broke through and the winds calmed to a gentle breeze for the 191.5-kilometer stage six from Abbeville to Le Havre, and the peloton could finally take a deep breath and relax after four consecutive days of stressful racing at the Tour de France.


However it was simply a calm before the storm as a touch of wheels in finale in the front 12 positions by yellow jersey Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) resulted in a nasty crash that delayed most of the peloton, including all of Trek Factory Racing.


“Today was a lot better than the last days – little less stress in the peloton, except for the last 30-40 kms,” said Bauke Mollema. “Overall, it was a good day.


“I was only trying to defend the GC at the end; I like these kind of finishes but I am not so explosive that I could fight for the win today.  I just wanted to be in a good position, and I think I could have had a top result if not for the crash.”


A three-man breakaway entertained out front until the teams confident of its chances for stage victory revved into action, wound up the pace, and gradually reduced their gap. However, the last man from the trio resisted the catch until three kilometers from the end just as the race to the bottom of the final climb was at top speed.


With around 1.5 kilometers to go a mere touch of wheels caused mayhem: around seven riders piled into each other, holding up most of the peloton and leaving only a small group to contest the finish.  


“I felt good today! I think we were in really good position with the team in the last 10 kilometers; we were always in the top 10-15 riders. Markel (Irizar) and Gregory (Rast) did a really good job to put me in good position for the [final] climb because we knew that it was tricky - a lot of corners - and we wanted to be in front to start the climb in the last kilometer. I was there and I wanted to move up and then there was the crash. I think everyone will get the same time, but we will have to see.”


Etixx-Quick Step was on the short end and long end of the stick today as Martin sustained a broken collarbone, more than likely ending his Tour, while teammate Zdenek Stybar prospered from the interruption and soloed to his first Tour win.


Trek Factory Racing escaped without incident as the peloton was granted the same time under the three-kilometer rule and Bauke Mollema continues to hold 12th overall at one minute and 44 seconds.



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