André Greipel finds a way to beat Marcel Kittel
Greipel wins! Take that, pedals!
Cycling’s beefiest, stompiest sprinter finally got a result on stage six. Usually one of the fastest finishers, Greipel had been oddly anonymous up until now and I’ve heard it said that he might have lost his nerve a bit. There was no sign of that today though.
How did he beat Marcel Kittel?
That’s the question you’re doubtless asking being as Kittel’s won all the sprints up until this one.
Sometimes you can cruise along in the peloton and it’s only really the guys at the very front who are using much energy. On other days – when there are sidewinds, say – everyone has to hammer along simply to stay with the group. Today was one of those days and guess who didn’t stay with the group. It was a ferocious run-in to the finish and Kittel lost touch with just a couple of kilometres to go.
Kittel may have three sprint wins out of four, but Peter Sagan has six top-five finishes out of six. The green jersey competition already looks a complete nonsense. In a way it’s a shame, but it’s also an indication of how good Sagan is.
A small bit of general classification news in that the two main French contenders, Pierre Rolland and Thibaut Pinot, both lost a minute after getting caught in the wrong group when the bunch split in the crosswinds.
An interesting one. Here’s the profile. It’s very long and almost entirely flat, but those two little hills at the end make things very interesting. They’re fairly steep and the second comes only 5km from the finish, so someone could definitely pull a sly one. If it’s a sprint, it’ll probably be from a reduced bunch. I had John Degenkolb’s moustache in mind as a likely winner, but apparently he’s bust his buttock and is riding in quite a lot of pain.