Sunday, July 25, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2009 - Stage 6: Gérone > Barcelona, 181.5km

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 6: Gérone > Barcelona, 181.5km

-

Barcelona

Less than one week into its debut Le Tour de France, the Cervélo Team scored a sprint victory today with Thor Hushovd in the 181.5km sixth stage to Barcelona.

Hushovd battled through rain and slick roads that saw team captain Carlos Sastre fall without major consequences early in the stage before attacking up a climbing finish to Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium to claim Cervélo’s first-ever Tour stage win.

Barcelona
Thor takes a very hard finish up the Montjuic climb.

Hushovd positioned himself perfectly in the uphill sprint, relegating three-time world champion Oscar Freire to second place with Spanish rider José Joaquín Rojas trailing across third.

Barcelona
Dave Miller and Sylvain Chavanel in the break.

Scot Dave Millar (Garmin) made a brave move, attacking after just 20km of the stage completed, and then 30 km from the finish from the three other riders with him in the break, then time-trialling to the finish, only being caught with 1.2km to go, once he had started the Montjuic climb.

On occasions, Millar had been maillot jaune virtuele, but ended losing over a minute in the last kilometer as his battery drained completely;

“I knew when I got to the city and the big 4km-long, wide boulevards, that any advantage I had on the wet, narrow streets would be gone. I wasn’t able to build up enough of an advantage, and I knew the bunch were bearing down on me.

“I tried not to look behind me, and then on the climb I was aware they were on me and glanced round – and it was like someone had pulled the plug out, the energy just went completely.”

Barcelona
Cervelo lead the bunch between the showers.

Overnight leader Fabian Cancellara retained the yellow jersey.

Barcelona
Thor was understandably chuffed.

A delighted Hushovd said;

“Of course, winning makes me very happy. It’s always important to win a stage at the Tour de France.

“I knew that today would be a good opportunity for me. I was able to get on Freire’s wheel and that was the perfect place to be.

“We wanted to win a stage in the first week and now that we’ve done it, I’ll work to help Carlos in the mountains.”

The 31-year-old’s seventh career Tour victory brought him within one point of Mark Cavendish in the fight for the green points jersey.

The victory certainly helped take the sting out of a painful day for some of the Cervélo team riders, as scores of crashes and accidents marred the rainy and slick stage along Spain’s rugged Costa Brava.

Sastre slipped in a pileup early in the race, but was not seriously injured. The 2008 Tour champ finished safely in the main bunch and didn’t lose any time relative to his main GC rivals.

Barcelona
Beautiful Barcelona.

Tom Boonen came clattering down on the run-in, his front wheel washing out on a painted zebra-crossing and bringing several other riders with him.

Spanish climber José Angel Marchante and Heinrich Haussler also crashed, with Haussler hitting the deck twice in the closing kilometers.

Haussler reckoned;

“I went down on a slick spot coming out of a roundabout. It was just so wet there, my front wheel just slid out.

“I took a lot of risks to catch back to the front group to try to help Thor in the sprint, but then I fell again when a huge crash took out 30 riders. I don’t care, though, I’m just glad Thor won.”

Barcelona
Laurens ten Dam and Yukiya Arashiro
Barcelona
Tour 09 Stage 6 Map.
Barcelona
Tour 09 Stage 6 Profile.

Tomorrow…

The Tour continues tomorrow with the 224km seventh stage from Barcelona to Arcalis in the principality of Andorra. The stage features the first major climbs of the race and we will surely see a major reshuffling of the overall standings.

The route opens with two relatively minor climbs in the first half before the Cat. 1 Col de Serra-Seca at 127km, ahead of the long approach to the hors-category climb to the Arcalis summit high in the Pyrénées.

ed-thumb2
Ed Hood

I just made it today; the remote control is too smart for me and it takes an age to find channel 521.

Eventually, there it was – Barca, one of my favourite places on earth.

The long, straight boulevards, the plane trees and – David Millar.

I’d caught a glimpse of him on a “box’ somewhere, earlier in the afternoon in a four man break, now here he was, two hours later riding ‘la course en tête, en seulle.

Tall, loose, stylish, urging his Felt across the slick tar of the Catalan capital.

Barcelona
Dave won the most combative rider today, and well deserved.

There were eight kilometres to go and his lead was around 40 seconds – “not enough” I thought, but maybe there would be a lull or a big stack up in the peloton on a bend and he could pull it off.

Past the exhibition halls, the museums, the fountains at the foot of Montjuic through huge crowds, braving the rain.

A right and he was on the climb, the “easy” side of Montjuic, the famous Escalada ascends the brutal hairpins from the port side.

Not steep, but one man – however stylish, strong and brave – is no match for the rampaging beast that is the peloton.

In a blink, he was washed away; Feillu went suicidally early, Freire countered, Pozzato showed, Feillu died and Oscar was left in the middle of the road looking for a wheel; in that moment, the stage was gone for Spain.

Hushovd is a big man but somehow it’s the uphill sprints that suit him – on the right, sure and true he propelled that Cervélo to the line.

Hands high, beaming – sweet, sweet victory.

Freire was second, Cav 15th – and still in green.

I tried hard to get an interview with David Millar last night, but no dice – texts and emails came to nought.

Never mind; but if you are reading this David – “Respect!”

Mountains tomorrow – a different Tour begins. Ciao.

Al Hamilton

¡Bon Dia i benvinguts a Catalunya! Good day and welcome to Cataluña!

Today the Tour comes to Barcelona and as Oscar Pereiro says “The finish in Barcelona is especially big for all the Spaniards” and Antonio Flecha, the classics-man of Rabobank says he will be working for his team-mate, Oscar Freire.

Barcelona
Freire was up there, today, but didn’t take top spot.

Antonio said “the finish in Montjuic is ideal for him (Freire)”. The course is not flat with a few little hills and the last 3 kilometres have a rise of 3%.

The last time the Tour came to Barcelona, Spanish rider, Pérez Francés won the stage on the 2nd of July 1965, and he was 44 years old at the time.

When asked who he thought would win the Tour he says “I like Contador very much, he’s extraordinary”.

Armstrong, what of him? “Not in the category, he’s part of a show!” So he won’t win? “No, or be on the podium”.

Barcelona
Astana’s internal wars, reckons the paper. we’re not far away from finding out who is the rightful team leader.

Also in AS today the old report has risen again of “the new English team, Sky which will début next year, has signed Bradley Wiggins and David Millar”, we’ll have to wait and see!

Yesterday we had the token French stage win to keep the home fans happy, but it seems that wasn’t the Columbia team plan – they were annoyed that no-one was helping them to pull back the escapees. With the form of “Cav” what’s the point?

The weekly cycling paper, Meta2Mil, came out today. It has all the old news from the first week of the Tour, but they do add the padding we miss from the dailies, but, of course it’s out of date by the time it’s in print.

The front page has to be Cancellara “First leader of the Tour’09” and “Contador the best of the favourites”. This was before the break and the TTT.

Big double page spread on the success of the Columbia-HTC team, 37 wins last year and 49 so far this year. “Columbia is a machine for winning races and money.”

Back page on AS today has the sad news of the abandonment of Gesink (Rabobank) with a broken wrist. Oh! And Claudia…

Adéu, fins després. Al.

Barcelona
The back page of AS.

Le Tour de France
Gordan Cameron

So, I’ve been a little bit tardy the last couple of days, but not without good reason. Some technical problems with a major broadcaster wasted a couple of precious hours in the press room in Montpellier on Tuesday. The problem last night was a long, long walk from the finish area to the press centre in Perpignan.

And now, Thursday night, it’s late again and after a madcap drive to Andorra, I’m just about to crawl into bed.

Barcelona
They start reading the papers young en France.I saw the last 20kms of Dave Millar’s brave, doomed bid for victory this afternoon on TV … which mirrored my own problems.

The idea was to miss out the 400+ kms of driving to Barcelona then up to Andorra, that I’d check out Arcalis today. Never happened. Not even close.

To go back to Tuesday, I’d been supposed to meet up with a press rep to go and have a look at Specialized’s new TT toy, the Shiv. QuickStep and Saxo Bank were using them, but Bjarne Riis’s guys were locked down for the day and we couldn’t get close. It seemed to work for them though, hanging onto the steaming Astana express just enough to keep Cancellara in the lead.

Barcelona
Cervelo about to start the TTT.

Montpellier was a hard day for us, just waiting in the heat. The word back from the guys who’d ridden the course in the morning was that it was super-hard, and very dangerous, with a lot of road furniture and awkward corners. And we saw for ourselves what happened to Skil-Shimano, BBox, etc.

Yesterday was an off-course day, driving through from Cap d’Agde to Perpignan, and my girlfriend’s first time in the press space just beyond the finish line.

Total chaos, we could hardly have chosen a more ‘real’ day.

The cops were super aggressive, shoving people every which way – but still not clearing the bottleneck that got all the riders stuck tantalizingly close to the buses.

Barcelona
Gordan took a photo of this cop’s badge number – he was so aggressive, shoving him out of the way, between two cars without noticing that Efimkin (AG2R) was trying to get through the same space.

It was a real up-close-and-personal day. Someone, not sure who, grabbed my arm as a support to get through the crowd. A rider with good English, politely saying ‘Excuse me!’ and using me as a lever to get out of the finish. His gloves were wringing wet with sweat …. You don’t get that close to footballers or other sportsmen do you?

Today, over the stress of our close encounters with the police, we had an abortive drive to Andorra. It seemed we weren’t the only ones with a similar plan to get to Arcalis, and most of them were lorry drivers. After four hours or so, we just gave up and went to hang out in the local bike shop in Andorra La Vella.

The general view from the guys in the shop, our new pals Manuel and Dot, is that it’s between Lance and Alberto to sort it out tomorrow. In 24 hours, we’ll have more of an idea who is the real boss of Astana.

And hopefully, I’ll have had a more successful day.

Martin Williamson
Martin is our Editor, Web site Designer and Manager, and concentrates on photography. He's been involved in cycling for over 42 years and has raced for many of them, having a varied career which includes time trials, road and track racing, and triathlons. Martin has been the Scottish 25 Mile TT and 100 Mile TT Champion, the British Points Race League Champion on the track, and was a prolific winner of time trials in his day, particularly hilly ones like the Tour de Trossachs and the Meldons MTT.

Related Articles

Le Tour ’11, Stage 11 – a wet start, typical Pyrenean thunderstorm

It was a very warm evening yesterday, and we wandered back round to the hotel last night after our dinner in the middle of a typical Pyrenean thunderstorm - huge bolts of lightning searing across the sky and claps of thunder which lingered and reverberated for what seemed like 20 seconds. In the space of 5 minutes, the roads were flooded. We went to sleep in our "pod" room to the sound of pouring rain, and woke up to the same - only worse. It wasn't a nice day to be outside, let alone reporting on, or riding, a bike race.

Le Tour de France starts tomorrow! Who do we fancy?

Like it or not, the sport of professional cycle racing is largely defined by one race – the Tour de France. To aficionados the Primavera, Ronde, Hell of the North and Classic of the Falling Leaves are eagerly awaited then devoured and endlessly analysed. But mention any of these races to the ‘man in the street’ and you’ll be met with a blank stare. The Giro and Vuelta will elicit a similar response - Paris-Nice? Forget it. But tell a ‘lay person’ you’re going to the Tour de France and in response you’ll get; ‘Lance, Cav, yellow jersey’ – and ‘drugs,’ naturally.

Le Tour de France 2010, Stage 8: Station des Rousses – Morzine-Avoriaz; Schleck Takes First Blood

Great racing today to Morzine-Avoriaz, and whatever Astana pay Paolo Tiralongo (Italia) and Daniel Navarro (Espana), it's not enough. Tiralongo has been around a long time, third in the Baby Giro in 1998 he turned pro in 2000 and arrived at Astana this year after three years with Fassa, three with Panaria and four with Lampre.

Le Tour de France 2007 – Day 4: Stage 15, Foix – Loudenvielle Le Louron

The sun is hot even at 07.15, the autoroute is quiet, straight and fast; we're headed for le Tour and Loudenvielle Le Louron; Millie Jackson is telling us that her man is a "fine man" - what more could you want from life? It's 10.00 am now and we're on the descent off the first climb of the day, the second cat, Col de Port or Portet, depending on which sign you look at. Martin got his first look at le Tour village this morning, as always, the scrambled eggs were great and the coffee strong.

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 16: Le Puy-en-Velay – Romans-sur-Isère, 165km. Michael Matthews inches closer to Green

In his classic song, ‘Pink Houses’ John Mellencamp says;  ‘And there's winners, and there's losers - but they ain't no big deal.’ We’re not sure that Sunweb or QuickStep, the biggest winners and losers of the day would agree. Sunweb’s day was perfect; they isolated Kittel; took Matthews to the intermediate sprint win and then the stage win.

Le Tour de France 2010, Stage 17: Pau – Col du Tourmalet; Top Two Ahead, Big Gaps Behind

'Andy talks tough !' say the headlines, he did try his best yesterday, his men used whatever was left to drive up the lower part of the Col du Tourmalet - then he went for it. However, not for one moment did it look like Alberto Contador was under pressure.

At Random

Scottish 50 Mile Time Trial Championships 2013 – Iain Grant Romps Clear

Iain Grant (Dooleys Cycles) dominated the Scottish 50 Mile Time Trial Championship on a windy and overcast morning, taking yet another national title with his 1.46.53 a superb two and a half minutes clear over silver medallist Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace Cycles), and the Royal Navy's Sean Childs a further minute and a half back in third place. Seven women completed the event, with Anda-Jay Burgess (Sandy Wallace Cycles) the fastest in 2.04 51, silver going to Christine McLean (Shetland Wheelers) 30 seconds down, these two well clear - over seven minutes - of bronze medal winner, local rider Toni McIntosh (Ayr Roads).

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 15: Givors > Mont Ventoux, 242km. Froome Stamps.

It was a long day for VeloVeritas, yesterday. But it was a cracker – positioned 800 metres from the line on Mont Ventoux, we were there from when Froome spun past like a madman on rollers until Jonathan Hivert ground past us, oh so painfully, some 50 minutes later.

Marcin Bialoblocki – British Record Holder: 25 Miles in 42:58!

When the big Pole Marcin Bialoblocki lined up at the start of the fast A465 dual carriageway for the Welsh 25-Mile Championships near Rhigos he was a man with a point to prove. It took him just 42 minutes and 58 seconds, as the 34 year-old, originally from Sokolka rewrote the record book, with a winning margin of four-and-a-half minutes.

Volta a Portugal 2012 – Stage Three: Vila Nova de Cerveira – Fafe

176.1km, 2100m ascent from Vila Nova de Cerveira to Fafe. We’re in the Minho, in the far north western corner of Portugal. It’s a wonderful place and feels like home away from home. It’s tough for racing though, it’s extremely hilly; you never go well, you’re never comfortable.

Cedric Sachet – the Frenchman causing a stir at the Highland Games

Scottish cycling’s super fan and grass track aficionado, Harry Tweed posted some pics of a gentleman named Cedric Sachet racing on the grass track with a bottle cage and Garmin at Ceres Highland Games, the other week. Purists like me were horrified.

Consistent Aggression (Tour of Britain 2010)

Consistent Aggression. I'm in Ipswich, southeast England, and have finally found time to get finger to keyboard (what is the modern equivalent of "pen to paper"?) to scribble (again-what's the digital version of scribbling?-such important questions on this blog!) down a little of what's been going on.