Surprise Finish for Andre, a Giant

Cycling Tour de FranceAndre Greipel, nicknamed “gorilla,” unexpectedly sprinted to victory in Reims, France. Photo by Laurent Cipriani/AP.

Everyone expected Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) to win another stage at the Tour de France today, but in the final stretch, the German’s tire went flat. That unfortunate puncture left the door open for other sprinters to seize the day. Kittel’s compatriot Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) reaped the rewards, winning stage 6, 120 flat miles from Arras to Reims. Amazing day for the 31-year-old Greipel, whose large quads are consistently up front in the finish sprints, but hasn’t had winner’s legs… until today.

The biggest challenge for the peloton was the strong cross winds and the aches and pains suffered from yesterday’s cobblestone chaos. At least 40 of the 195 riders crashed in the wet and muddy roads of stage 5. The riders looked like the war wounded all wrapped in bandages. Ironically, today’s stage passed a famous World War I cemetery so that the Tour could pay homage to veterans.

No change in the overall standings: Vicenzo Nibali remains in the yellow leader’s jersey for a fifth day.

 

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