Andre Greipel sprinted to his second straight Tour de France stage victory as green-jersey leader Peter Sagan got caught up in a crash near the end.
Greipel beat out Australian Matt Goss of Orica-GreenEdge and Juan Jose Haedo, an Argentine with Team Saxo Bank, in a sprint finish yesterday at the end of stage five: a 122-mile (196-kilometer) flat ride between Rouen and Saint-Quentin.
“It was one of the hardest sprints I’ve ever done,” Greipel, a German with the Lotto-Belisol team, told Eurosport.
Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara kept the race-leading yellow jersey. He has a seven-second advantage over Bradley Wiggins and Sylvain Chavanel. Defending champion Cadel Evans is 10 seconds further back.
The 20-stage race continues today with a 129-mile ride on mainly flat terrain between Epernay and Metz.
With less than two miles of yesterday’s stage left, a rider went down and as others swerved to get out of the way, Sagan went over his handlebars onto the pavement.
The 22-year-old Sagan, who won two of the first three stages, got back on his bike and kept the green jersey as leader of the points classification.
The crash slowed Greipel and other riders in the peloton, improving the chances of one of the members of the four-man breakaway of winning the stage.
Jan Ghyselinck of the Cofidis team and Pablo Urtasun of Euskaltel tried to dash for the line. They were caught by the sprinters a few hundred meters out.