Slovakia’s Peter Sagan won his third stage in his first week at the Tour de France as race contender Frank Schleck lost time.
The 22-year-old Sagan, riding in his first Tour, beat Andre Greipel by a bike’s length at the end of stage six: a 129-mile ride on flat terrain between Epernay and Metz. Matthew Goss was third.
Sagan, who rides for the Liquigas team, became the youngest stage winner since Lance Armstrong in 1993 when he took the first stage on July 1. He kept the green jersey worn by the leader of the points classification.
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.
Schleck, third overall last year behind his younger brother Andy, was among several riders to fall in a crash 16 miles from the end. He dropped six places to 37th overall -- 2 minutes, 43 seconds behind Cancellara.
Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal was also involved in the pile-up, and dropped 99 places to 108th overall. He’s 13 minutes, 38 seconds behind Cancellara.
The crash slowed Team Sky’s world champion Mark Cavendish, preventing him from getting in a position to fight for the stage win. Greipel had recovered after twice falling off his bike earlier in the stage.
David Zabriskie, who rides for the Garmin-Sharp team, started a four-man breakaway near the start. He went solo near the end and tried to take the stage win before being caught with less than a mile to go.
Zabriskie is one of four former teammates of Armstrong who agreed to testify in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s case against the seven-time Tour de France champion and some of his associates, the New York Times reported today, citing two people close to the investigation.
The 20-stage race continues tomorrow with a ride that ends with a mountain-top finish to La Planche des Belles Filles, a ski resort in the Haute-Saone region of eastern France.