Although the first week of the Tour has had more than its fair share of excitement, it’s lacked the one thing that it’s continually associated with, fast and dangerous sprint finishes. Apart from Erik Zabel’s two wins there has been no team willing, or strong enough to control the peleton for a whole stage. Telekom seem more interested in the fight for the leaders yellow jersey, and rightly so, while the usual sight of
However, today’s 211km-stage form Commercy to Strasbourg did take on a more familiar pattern. There was the suicide break full of riders who have more sense than to mix with the sprinters in the final dash for the line. Once the break had been reeled in numerous teams propelled their fast men to the front, but it was Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu of the AG2R team who came home the winner. The Eastern bloc rider won only his second stage (his first came in 1999) and gained some much needed morale for his team who have done little since the race started in Dunkirk. Kirsipuu came through in the final few metres, ahead of Zabel of Telekom, Damien Nazon and yellow jersey holder Stuart O’Grady.
For the riders who’ll be fighting it out for the general overall, it was a day of conserving as much energy as possible before the mountains begin. David Millar bravely continued to stay with the lead group but lost over 16 minutes by the time he reached the line. At the top of the overall leader board, there were no changes.
Stage 6 Commercy-Strasbourg 211km
1st Jan Kirsipuu (Estonia, AG2R) 4h’50m’39s
2nd Damien Nazon (Fra, Bonjour)
3rd Jan Svorada (Slo, Lampre)
4th Erik Zabel (Ger, Telekom)
5th Stuart O’Grady (Aus, CA)
6th Jimmy Casper (Fra, FDJ)
7th Nico Mattan (Bel, Cofidis)
8th Christophe Capelle (Fra, Big Mat)
9th Alexei Sivakov (Rus, Big Mat)
10th Romans Vainsteins (Lat, Domo)