[Tour de France stage 6 LIVE: Can Tadej Pogačar take back time on the Tourmalet? 20 riders in the break
76km to go: Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) powers out of second wheel to take the maximum KOM points at the top of the climb.
He’s in the virtual polka-dot jersey now.
78km to go: Presumably Jumbo want a higher pace in the peloton to put pressure on Jai Hindley, Pogacar and co, but they don’t want to catch the break just yet and so have told van Aert to up the pace there too.
I imagine they’d like to catch van Aert on the final climb or perhaps at the top of the Tourmalet.
Some of the descent of the Tourmalet is quite shallow as is the opening slopes of the last climb so an engine like van Aert would be very useful there.
79km to go: Agreen has been dropped to. His work for Alaphilippe done for the day. Nikias Arndy (Bahrain Victorious) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Emirates) also fall out the back of the break.
Jumbo seem to be plotting something here but its not terribly clear what it is.
79km to go: Coquard and others are beginning to be dropped from the break.
80km to go: Jumbo-Visma come to the front of the peloton and wrestle control away from Bora-Hansgrohe.
Meanwhile, up front Wout van Aert now comes to the front of the break in a move that seems to make no obvious sense.
Sagan goes out the back of the bunch.
80km to go: There are 3km left to the top of the Col d’Aspin and, well, Asgreen continues to lead the break up the mountain.
80km to go: Jai Hindley loses one wing-man as Jordi Meeus goes out of the back of the peloton. As the teams designated sprinter he wasnt’ goign to be a whole heap of help for the rest of the day so that’s not really a big loss for the Australian.
81km to go: Jonathan Vaughters, the EF Education boss who is workign for TV this week, tells us he thinks that Mark Cavendish will win in the back end of the race if he wins at all.
That is, as Vaughters points out, what he did in the Giro d’Italia.
82km to go: Asgreen is still at the front of the break. Bit of pressure on Alaphilippe this I’d say.
Mark Cavendish is with lead-out man Cees Bol, not sure where the rest of the sprinters are. He doesn’t look like he’s having a great time, unsurprisingly.
It’s worth noting that there’s 3,700m of climbing on today’s stage and the vast majority is packed into this 80km or so.
From now until the finish the riders are mostly either going up or down, rarely flat.
85km to go: Maxim van Gils (Lotto-Dstny) has to stop to get a front wheel puncture changed in the peloton.
Bora have re-established control of the pace.
86km to go: Jumbo have challenged Bora’s position at the head of the peloton.
88km to go: It’s 11km to the top of the Aspin and Kasper Asgreen is pushing the pace in the break. The breaks advantage is 3-22.
We’re coming to the bottom of the first major ascent of the day, Col d’Aspin. It’s not the worst of the day but it is a first category climb.
93km to go: Wout van Aert’s 17 points at that intermediate sprint move him up to third in the green jersey competition.
However, both he and Coquard are some distance behind Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck). The green jersey holder has 150, Coquard has 104 and van Aert 92.
93km to go: At the other end of the race Mark Cavendish (Astan Qazaqstan) is among those riders dropped from the peloton.
95km to go: They just roll through with Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) taking the maximum 20 points. Wout van Aert rolls through second.
97km to go: Bryan Coquard, MAthieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert seem to shape up for the sprint.
100km to go: It’s all quiet as it’s about 5km to the intermediate sprint.
105km to go: EF Education sports director Andreas Klier tells the TV that Neilson Powless might want to win the stage but that’ll be up to the likes of Bora, Jumbo and UAE and how hard they chase.
110km to go: The gap to the break is over 3 minutes now. The main GC teams are amassed around their guys in the peloton.
Jai Hindley tells GCN he was initially thinking of the GC battle yesterday, not the stage, but there’s a long way to go in this race.
Further to my last update here’s Adam Yates’s take.
Adam Yates on criticism of UAE‘s tactics yesterday: ‘We’re not racing a bunch of farmers.’July 6, 2023
There’s a lot of chat around the race that UAE with their, shall we say, enthusiastic approach to the race have paid the price yesterday with Pogačar losing time.
Now maybe they have made tactical errors there but it’s made for much more entertaining racing so I for one would rather they continue with their devil-may-care approach to the Toru de France. Rather that than be boring.
116km to go: Kasper Asgreen (Soudal – Qucik-Step) is driving the break on.
117km to go: We’re hearing the descent off the Tourmalet may be a bit wet. It’ll be a while before we get there.
119km to go: Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) is pictured off the back of the peloton while Mathieu van der Poel dros back from the break to speak to his DS in the team car behind.
The race is on the third category climb that comes before the intermediate sprint.
The break’s lead is a little under 3 minutes.
124km to go: And they’ve made it the break is now 20 riders strong. Bora-Hansgrohe are doing the work in the front of the peloton.
124km to go: They’re making progress now just 12 seconds to go.
126km to go: The chasers aren’t making much progress as the break powers on. The gap from the from to the peloton is now 2-30 but the chasers are still 35 second behind the break.
131km to go: It is in fact six riders coming across and they includ Neilson Powless, who had the polka-dot jersey until yesterday. He’s on a mission to get it back I suspect.
132km to go: The five trying to bridge are 35 seconds behind.
133km to go: The peloton seems to have locked the front down so these are the break of 15 riders.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Matteo Trentin (UAE Emirates), Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost), Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal – Qucik-Step), Nikias Arndt (Bahrain Victorious), Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroen), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Decuninck), Bryan Coquard (Cofidis), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Kristis Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech), Christophe Juul-Jenson (Jayco-AlUla), Matis Louvel (Arkea Samsic), Tobias Halland Johannessen (Uno-X), Jonas Gregaard (Uno-X)
They have a gap of 55 seconds now, but there are five further riders coming across.
138km to go: Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is among the escapees as is Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers).
139km to go: The only have a gap of eight seconds and Alaphilippe tries to push the group on.
142km to go: The van Aert group has quite a big gap. Alaphilippe driving the pace there’s c.10-15 of them with others coming across.
James Shaw seems to be there.
Jersey wearers recap
Yellow – Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe)
White – Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates)
Green – Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
Polka-dot – Felix Gall (AG2R Citroen)
144km to go: We’re off and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) attacks straight away!
He’s got a small group with him, including Julian Alaphilippe. Will Bora-Hansgrohe be happy with him going up the road?
4km to start: Alexander Kristoff has to change a wheel. No real issues with the race at this pace.
5km to start: The stage is underway currently rolling through the neutral zone.
Col du Marie-Blanque Strava stats
The Strava KOM for the final climb of yesterday’s stage, held by Richie Porte, got obliterated yesterday.
Worth noting that Jonas Vingegaard has not been uploading his rides from the Tour de France and neither has Jai Hindley.
The Dutch funsters at Tour de Tietema took a football to the start the other day to find out.
Australia celebrates Jai Hindley’s yellow jersey coup
Although, unsurprisingly, cricket dominates the coverage, the Australian press have begun to get excited about the potential for a second yellow jersey winner in Jai Hindley.
Marine Vinall, writes in her profile of the rising star in The Age: “after Hindley stood on the Tour’s podium for the first time after his stage five victory and claimed the yellow jersey with a 46-second lead over Vingegaard, he has announced himself as a serious contender.”
News.co.au reports that Hindley has “thrust himself into contention” to win the yellow jersey after his “epic win” yesterday.
While Sophie Smith (full disclosure: who is formerly of this parish and is currently travelling with Cycling Weekly on the race) reports for ABC: “Pundits at the Tour remain focused on defending champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), and Yates’ teammate Tadej Pogačar, the two-time winner and Slovenian prodigy who lost time on stage five, as the two big yellow jersey favourites.
“But Hindley believes that the general classification is “wide open” and it’s very clear he’s arrived thoroughly prepared.
“‘Stage six, I think this final climb is really tough, actually a lot tougher than what it says on paper, so I think there we can expect some gaps,” he said of Thursday’s summit finish.”
What is today’s finish like?
Word in the peloton is that its harder than it looks on paper. In theory this is lesser beast than the Tourmalet, indeed the race organsier has only given it a first category rating, but I’ve been told its deceptive and there could well be time gaps on this climb.
Much like the Tourmalet the steepest sections are towards the top and tired legs could pay a price there.
How tough is the Col du Tourmalet?
Pretty tough with the steepest ramps towards the top.
This is its 85th appearance in the Tour.
The first over the summit will be given the Souvenir Jacques Goddet, a cash prize of €5,000, given in honour of the long-standing Tour organiser who died in 2000.
Who is Jonas Vingegaard?
Several months ago my colleague Tom Thewlis embarked on a mission to profile the reigning Tour de France champ.
The result is a highly insightful feature with sotires you won’t have read anywhere else. It ran in our Tour de France preview magazine but we’ve put it online this monring.
I encourage you all to go and read it.
Recapping a classic mountain raid
Yesterday’s stage was truly one for the ages with Jai Hindley soaring into yellow thanks to a good old mountain raid whereby he got in the break and kicked on from there on the final climb to put himself 47 seconds to the good.
At the finish he said “it was an accident”. However, its noteworthy that he recced these stages months ago. It was no accident that he knew what he was doing, made the right moves at the right times and maximised what he could get from the day.
The other winner was Jonas Vingegaard, who put Tadej Pogačar to the test and found him wanting to the tune of 1-04 in fact.
Can the Slovenian hit back today? Can Bora-Hansgrohe do an effective job of defending the jersey? Will Vingegaard show them all who’s boss?
Welcome to the second day in the Pyrenees.
Summit of the Col d’Aspin: 14:15
Summit Col du Tourmalet: 15:04
All times are British Summer Time and, obviously, estimates.
It’s another mountain test for the GC men today with Col du Tourmalet tackled from the harder side plus a cat one mountain top finish at Cauterets-Cambasque.