Umbrella provides only Tour de France incident
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.