Monday, December 6, 2021
HomeRaceRace ReviewsLe Tour de France 2017 - Stage 6: Vesoul - Troyes, 216km....

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 6: Vesoul – Troyes, 216km. Kittel surprises with a late surge



It looked like a straight Arnaud Demare (FDJ & France) v. Andre Greipel (Lotto & Germany) shoot out in Troyes but Marcel Kittel (QuickStep & Germany), over on the bright side of the road, was way too quick for them both; Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data & Norway) hit out long and produced a good performance given he was stranded at the front so early, only being swamped late as Demare slid like an eel between the Norwegian and the barriers.

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis & France) looks ordinary in this company and we at last caught a glimpse of Dan McLay (Fortuneo & GB) in eighth; but Kittel was in a different class despite an anything but text book lead out.

None of the teams have been producing Vanderaerden/Cipo/Cav/HTC leadouts and today was no exception – no one was ‘dropped off neatly’ – more a ‘stramash’ of a finish as they say in Scotland.

Kittel came from way back, around 10th spot, displaying dynamic acceleration to leave all the big names flat footed in his wake, repeating Zabel’s German Troyes win in 2000.

Very impressive.

Kittel surprises
Kittel surprises with a late surge. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

No l’Équipe yesterday for VeloVeritas but we got one today, Sagan is top of the front page with all manner of Peter pics inside, including an ‘exclusif’ selfie.

It’ll be interesting to see what they say about him tomorrow’s edition – from Head Boy to School Bully overnight; maybe the commissaires will want to talk to his parents about that Cavcident he was involved in?

You have to admire Bora though, they’ve been on to CAS [The Court of Arbitration for Sport] stating their argument that the Slovak should be allowed back into the race because the judges did not allow him to state his case.

Of course, it can’t ‘fly’ because now he’s missed two stages but it keeps the Bora-Hansgrohe name grabbing the column inches.

Sagan’s DQ is a huge PR blow to the team – all the pressure now lands upon skinny Pole Rafa Majka; who looks in decent nick and will no doubt be points hunting come the big mountains.

On the subject of loss of PR, Cav’s exit is nothing short of a disaster for Dimension Data; over to you, Messrs, Boasson Hagen and Cummings.

Old Eddy B looks like he could do the biz on a transition stage after a decent prologue and a very strong showing in today’s sprint.

Meanwhile, Stevo hides in the peloton and builds his form, day by day – he’s told us that it’s next week he has the red pen rings around a stage or two.

It was definitely another one for the sprinters today, under blue skies through beautiful golden wheat fields, classic ‘La France Profonde’ Tour images as the break did their labour of Sisyphus, that’s the dude who had to keep rolling the big boulder up the hill – forever…

Kittel surprises
Today’s break. Photo©Gautier Demouveaux/ASO

Wanty were in the break again with Belgian Frederik Backaert, a Wanty man since 2014 with some strong results this year – 11th in Gent-Gent, 5th in the Samyn and Finistere and second in Tro Bro.

His amigos for his thankless day out were Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE & Norway) who’s been around the block teams-wise, from cult Norwegian Conti team, Joker to Team Type 1 in the US then French squad Bretagne Seche, back to Joker then IAM in Switzerland before finding his current desert home.

His biggest result was to win the Tour of Alsace back in 2015.

Completing the trio was home boy Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie) who l’Équipe cited as the most ‘typical’ Tour rider the other day in terms of age/weight/height/experience; 14 years a professional, all with Jean Rene Bernadeau’s teams until last year when he joined Direct Energie.

No big wins but solid team work in all the Grand Tours.

Kittel surprises
The peloton in single file. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

In the peloton Steve Cummings was in his usual tail gunner spot with big Julien Vermote for QuickStep on point – again.

The hard working break only succumbed with three K to go with Katusha for Kristoff; Cofidis for Bouhanni; FDJ for the green jerseyed Demare, Lotto for Greipel, QuickStep for Kittel and gamely, Dimension Data for Eddy BH all doing their bit to claw the desperados back but no one patently in charge of proceedings.

As I said at the start, it looked like it was between Super Heroes rumble between ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘le Gorille’ but the man with the heavy hair gel bills was in a class of his own.

Yellow (Froome), Green (Demare), Polka Dot (Aru) and White (Yates) all ‘as you were.’

More of the same tomorrow, only one fourth cat. climb and lots of vineyards to trundle through – Kittel again?

Worth a punt, surely.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

The Two Day Theory: TdF 2010 Stage 4 (bunchie)

Two Day Theory. It is a very fortunate thing that the situation that Garmin-Transitions is in during this Tour is a first time for all of us involved. The fortune I speak of is partly that we've never had to deal with nigh on half of our team all being pretty badly wounded on the one descent, and partly that the fretting resulting from this would leave us, the staff, nervous wrecks. I have made up a totally anecdotal "two day" theory regarding peoples' responses to injury and trauma. It's completely without scientific evidence or backing, but does explain a pattern of behaviour that I have regularly seen over the years.

Le Tour de France 2009, Stage 4: Montpellier > Montpellier, 39km TTT

The team time trial here in Montpellier, it’s beautiful; speed, strength, skill, trust, unity, honour — everything that makes pro bike racing special.

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 4; Saumur – Limoges. Kittel Out-Powers the Rest

"Ja!" Screams Marcel Kittel (Etixx) as he leaps back to his feet and cuddles his soigneur after sitting on the tarmac with his head buried in his elbows to await the verdict from the photo finish technicians - he has every right to be chuffed, he’s just won Stage Four of the 2016 Tour de France. In theory it should have been one for the smaller sprinters - 600 metres @ 4% to the finish line - not a beast like Kittel but he was the man producing most watts.

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 14: Blagnac – Rodez, 181.5km. Michael Matthews makes it two in a row for Sunweb

Yes, there are days when we’ve criticised the racing – those endless ‘sprinter stages’ where only the last five minutes saves the day. But we were puzzled by the comments we saw about yesterday’s stage to Rodez on social media; the "Bore de France" and the break "allowed for purely commercial reasons"?

Le Tour de France 2015 – Stage 21; Sèvres – Paris Champs-Élysées

When we spoke to Cav's personal soigneur, Aldis half way through the stage we knew it wasn't to be; 'And Mark, today ?' Aldis screwed up his face; 'he's a little sick...' So 4:1 to Greipel - and the rumours about Cav having to learn to understand Brian Smith's accent at MTN get ever stronger. We changed our system and didn't drive race route for the last stage; instead we drove straight to the digs, got organised, had a shower and headed off across a wet Paris to the finish circuit.

Le Tour de France 2015 – Stages 16, 17, 18 and the Second Rest Day

Ca va, ca va! Friday, en route the Stage 19 start and it's been hectic. We arrived on Sunday afternoon but by the time we got to Valance, the Press Centre was closed - so it was 'Plan B,' go to the finish at Gap the next day and uplift them. Vital bits of plastic duly collected on Monday morning we headed off up the Col de Manse which is just behind Gap for Stage 16.

At Random

John Archibald Smashes the Record in the Scottish 25 Mile TT Championship 2017

My amigo, Dave Henderson rang me soon after Martin and I got home from the Scottish ‘25’ Championship at Forfar; “how did the race go?” he asked me. ‘John Archibald, Pro Vision Scotland won with a Scottish record 47:57; Jon Entwistle, GTR with 49:27 was second and David Griffiths, Pro Vision Scotland was third with 50:12.’ I replied. There was silence then a low whistle down the line. If, like Dave and I you grew up in an era where Glen Road Club’s Big Drew Brunton would win the ‘25’ Champs with a ‘58’ I could well understand his reaction - these times seem other-worldly, astonishing.

Aldo Ino Ilešič – on UHC’s Cosmopolitan Race Schedule

Last year Aldo again played the team role but for United Healthcare, after TT1 decided their future lay with a team where all the athletes were diabetic. Despite all the hard work for others he managed a big wing along the way in the USA’s longest – and one of the most prestigious – criteriums; the US Air Force Clarendon Cup. His 2014 season started in the desert and we thought it would be good to hear ‘from the horse’s mouth’ what the Tours of Qatar and Oman are really like – and how he copes with UHC’s cosmopolitan race schedule.

RIP Peter Post. Outstanding Road and Trackman, Six Day Star, Manager Par-Excellence

With the news on Friday that Peter Post had died in Amsterdam at the age of 77 the sport lost one of it's Colossi. Born in Amsterdam in November 1933, the son of a butcher, he had a hard childhood growing up in Nazi occupied Holland. He turned professional in 1956 for Legendary Amsterdam bicycle makers RIH Sport; he would remain in the peloton until 1972 having ridden for some of the most famous teams in the history of cycle sport-Flandria, Faema, Solo-Superia and Willem 11.

The Scottish Road Race Championship 2009

Ross Creber (Endura) added a top flight 'en ligne' result to his VTT and 'cross palmares with a fine win in the Scottish road race championships over a technical, challenging and windy-but beautifully sunny - 81 miles at Hawick on Saturday afternoon.

Copenhagen Road Worlds 2011 Reminiscences

As I sit here on a rainy Wednesday awaiting my wife's transition from early labour to full gas labour (is that the correct terminology? heh) I thought I should get my act together and at least attempt to begin more regular blog posts. What better time to try and commit to spending more self time than just before one of the major upheavals of your life, where you're guaranteed to have less time to do exactly that? What could possibly go wrong here"¦

The Clutha Vaults Tragedy

It's easy to sigh and shake your head when you read or hear that a drone has yet again 'zapped' the wrong target out there in the Middle East - and easy to carry on with your day. But when it's on your door step, in a place you love, it's altogether different. I heard on the radio, early on the Saturday morning that a helicopter had crashed on to a pub in Glasgow at 10:30 pm on Friday but didn't catch the name of the bar. 'That's horrible' I thought to myself and carried on editing our Yuriy Metlushenko interview.