Um­brella pro­vides only Tour de France in­ci­dent

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

TROYES, France — On long, mostly flat sul­try stages like Thurs­day’s, all Chris Froome and the other lead­ers in the Tour de France want to do is take it easy.

Un­til a beach um­brella floats across the pack.

That was the only in­ci­dent of note amid hours-long stretches of un­event­ful cy­cling dur­ing Stage 6, which was won with ease by Ger­man sprinter Mar­cel Kit­tel.

“There was a bit of wind and the para­sol took off and ended up in the road,” said Froome, who had to veer out of the way. “That’s the Tour.”

Oth­er­wise, Froome said, he spent the day chat­ting with other rid­ers and ad­mir­ing the views as the pelo­ton rode into cham­pagne coun­try and through Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, the home­town of France’s wartime hero and for­mer pres­i­dent, Gen. Charles de Gaulle.

At the con­clu­sion of the mostly flat 134-mile leg from Ve­soul to Troyes — the race’s sec­ond­longest stage — Kit­tel had lit­tle trou­ble in the sprint fin­ish, with Peter Sa­gan and Mark Cavendish both no longer in the race.

As the other con­tenders bunched to­gether on the right side of the road, Kit­tel burst for­ward around them on the left and eas­ily cre­ated a com­fort­able gap al­low­ing him to cel­e­brate as he crossed the line.

It was Kit­tel’s se­cond vic­tory in this year’s race and 11th over­all in his Tour ca­reer.

Stage 4 win­ner Ar­naud De­mare fin­ished se­cond and An­dre Greipel was third.

Froome re­mained 12 sec­onds ahead of Sky team­mate Geraint Thomas and 14 sec­onds ahead of Fabio Aru of Italy.

Richie Porte was in fifth place over­all and other rid­ers eye­ing vic­tory in Paris on July 23 were sim­ply pleased to get the long, hot stage over with­out in­ci­dent.

Sa­gan, the world cham­pion, was dis­qual­i­fied for el­bow­ing Cavendish to the ground two days ago. The fall re­sulted in Cavendish, who has 30 Tour vic­to­ries, aban­don­ing the race with a bro­ken shoul­der.

Sport’s high­est court on Thurs­day re­jected Sa­gan’s ap­peal to be al­lowed back into the race.

Sa­gan’s Bora-Hans­grohe team had ap­pealed to the Switzer­land-based Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport. In a short state­ment Thurs­day, the court said it re­jected the ap­peal and that Sa­gan “re­mains dis­qual­i­fied from the 2017 Tour de France.”

The Tour re­mains in Troyes for the start of Stage 7 to­day, a 133-mile leg that again sets up well for sprint­ers with a fin­ish in the Bur­gundy wine town of Nuits-Saint-Ge­orges.

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