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Tour de France Stage 6 Preview
Thursday, July 1
A bunch sprint—another one for Cav?
We’re on roads similar to those of the 2013 stage from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond when Chris Froome was caught out by fast-moving echelons. Normally, this should be a quiet day ending in a bunch sprint. But 10 kilometers after the day’s intermediate sprint, the course turns sharp right at Valençay 46 kilometers from the finish and, depending on the wind’s direction and intensity, echelons can’t be ruled out. The forecast calls for light winds out of the north, so the final hour of racing will be extremely fast, favoring the sprinters’ team chasing down the day’s main breakaway. Before heading into Châteauroux, the route zigzags in order to make the finale more nervous. In the three previous stage finishes here, Mario Cipollini won in 1998, followed by a Mark Cavendish double in 2008 and 2011. After his impressive victory at Fougères on Tuesday, the Tour’s most-successful-ever sprinter could be headed to a hat-trick.
After 5.4km on the streets of Châteauroux, at the end of a flat 1,600m straight on the 23 feet wide Avenue de la Châtre.
SCHEDULE (all times EDT)
Ceremonial start, Avenue André-Mairaux, Tours: 7:55 a.m.; start on D952 (after 4.3km neutral to km0), 8:05 a.m.; Amboise (133.4km to go), 8:40 a.m.; Côte de Saint-Aignan (Cat. 4, 88km to go), 9:40 a.m.; Les Brosses (feed zone, 84.2km to go), 9:45 a.m.; Luçay-le Mâle (sprint, 56.3km to go), 10:21 a.m.; Châteauroux (finish, 160.6km), 11:34 a.m.
Analysis by Thierry Gouvenou and John Wilcockson.