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Live Reporting

Paul Fletcher

All times stated are UK

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  1. Farewell

    Friday's route on the Tour de France

    So, that is all from me today - when what had been a largely sedate stage exploded into life with the late crash leading to chaos and heartbreak.

    Stage seven on Friday takes us from Livarot to Fougeres (190.5km) - and Peter Scrivener will be back in the chair for that one.


  2. Post update

    Rob Hayles

    Former GB cyclist

    Quote Message: That really is a sad sight for Tony Martin amid absolute confusion at the finish. As he went down he touched a wheel in front of him. He went down extremely heavily. If it is a fracture then that is his Tour over.
  3. Chaos

    Well, there was some serious confusion at the end there. Czech puncheur Zdenek Stybar came from nowhere to win the stage, which ended in chaos frankly.

    Everybody was trying to work out just who it was who had opportunely burst off the front, while the TV cameras were understandably focused on the mess down the road, with Tony Martin and Vincenzo Nibali involved.

    Will Martin be able to continue? That must be doubtful.

    Tony Martin
  4. Post update

  5. Post update

    There are so many unknowns at the moment that Donald Rumsfled might want to get involved. 

  6. Tough times for Martin

    So because the crash occurred inside the last 3km there is no change to the GC - although there are obviously huge question marks over whether Tony Martin will be able to continue in the race. 

    Tony Martin
  7. Post update

  8. Chaos

    Will Tony Martin get the same time as the rest of the group? Unsure right now. Looks like Martin has done his collarbone. He is being nursed home by three team-mates. 

  9. Zdenek Stybar wins stage six

    There is a break off the front from Etixx - Quick-Step's Zdenek Stybar, who gets a lead on the rest.

    The rest of the guys - Sagan and all - chase him down but they cannot catch him.

    Stybar wins
  10. Ouch!

    And Tony Martin.

  11. 900m to go

    Crash - Nibali down.

  12. 1.5km to go

    Tony Martin is second place in the line, bends all over the place. Mark Renshaw is first, Mark Cavendish is third at the moment. Peter Sagan well placed.

  13. Sharp finish

    So, as has already been suggested the finish today features a hill with an average of 7% that flattens out 500m from the line.

    Pete Holmes, below, looks pretty fresh as he reaches the top of Michaelgate. Wonder how he felt a few hundred yards later?  

  14. 2.5km to go

    All looking ominous for Kenneth Van Bilsen now. He must be shattered. Yes, he is swallowed up.

    The hill before the final sprint is approaching.

    6th stage
  15. 4.5km to go

    "He is not going to stay away," says Simon Brotherton of Van Bilsen.

  16. 5km to go

    Kenneth Van Bilsen is about to be swallowed up, his advantage is about 13 seconds.

    Sedate? Not any more.

  17. 8km to go

    Nice touch - a shake of the hands between Daniel Teklehaimanot and Perrig Quémeneur as they are finally swallowed up by the chasing group. Van Bilsen has a 23-second advantage.

  18. Post update

    So, the three-man breakaway becomes two, with Belgian Kenneth Van Bilsen firing off the front. The breakaway had a 37-second lead over the chasing group (and they are chasing now for sure).

  19. Time for Degenkolb?

    John Degenkolb

    It has been a cracking Tour for Germans so far, with three stage victories.

    Could that become four today? Slovakia's Peter Sagan, Norwegian Alexander Kristoff and Giant-Alpecin's German rider Degenkolb have all been tipped as strong contenders.  

    This stage had been earmarked before the race as one that suited Paris-Roubaix winner Degenkolb.

    "He gets over short climbs, he's a sprinter with great Classics qualities, in fact he's becoming a Classics specialist," said Giant-Alpecin coach Christian Guiberteau.

    Degenkolb not won only won Paris-Roubaix this year having finished second in 2014, he also won Milan-San Remo in March and Gent-Wevelgem last year.

  20. What does Quebeka mean?

    So, it's been a cracking day for MTN-Quebeka.

    Anyone know what Qhubeka actually means? No, me neither until I stumbled across this....

    "It is a word from the language of the Nguni people of southern Africa that means 'to carry on', 'to progress', 'to move forward'.  Qhubeka  is a foundation that provides bicycles as a means of transport to underprivileged populations."  

  21. Post update

  22. Post update

    The speed appears to be picking up at the front of the peloton - there are 20km remaining and the lead of the three-man breakaway is now down to just over a minute.

    Expect that to keep falling. 

  23. Post update

    It is shaping up to be a good day all round for MTN-Quebeka.....

  24. Post update

  25. Post update

    What a great, great story - Eritrea's Daniel Teklehaimanot taking the polka dot jersey.

  26. Post update

    Rob Hayles

    Former GB cyclist

    Quote Message: Well done - what a great ride by Daniel Teklehaimanot. Once he kicked for the line it was never in doubt that he would cross first - the single point enough to give him the jersey. MTN-Quebeka have got what they came for.
  27. Polka dot jersey

    We've just gone past the final category four climb of the day - and the good news is that Daniel Teklehaimanot has crossed in first place to take the polka dot jersey.

    He has become the first Eritrean to take the jersey in the history of the race.

    He looks well pleased and gives a thumbs-up sign to the TV cameras afterwards.

    Teklehaimanot, who has been away in this break for most of the day, now has three points with previous leader Joaquim Rodriguez on two.  

  28. Post update

    Thomas Voeckler has been reeled back in by the peloton. There are 32km to go.

    It is a lovely warm day as the riders continue on the road to Le Havre. Today can be doing nothing to harm tourism in Normandy.

    The lead is at one minute 20 seconds.

    Peloton during stage six
  29. Inopportune timing

    Quote Message: I have news of Alejandro Valverde's happened just after he had stopped for a wee. Blame the bib shorts. And it is good to see Michael Matthews getting a lot of love for his stoic refusal to quit. A few directors have been telling me that it has been hard to watch his suffering from the team cars as they have driven by. As their boss Matt White told me, Orica - GreenEdge certainly "copped it bad" in that pile-up on Monday. They only have six men left in the race and half of those are wounded. Sunday's team time trial could become a very long one. from Matt Slater BBC Sport at the Tour de France
    Matt SlaterBBC Sport at the Tour de France
    Alejandro Valverde
  30. Post update

    Oops, a few riders got it wrong at a corner and BMC's Damiano Caruso took a tumble. It is not like yesterday's slippery pile-up action though and he is soon back on his bike.

  31. Staying clear?

    The big story right now concerns whether the three-man breakaway can stay clear to the final category four climb - worth one point - at Cote du Tilleul.

    They were about 45 seconds clear after the sprint but that time has quickly climbed back to beyond two minutes.

    Thomas Voeckler has gone off the front of the group and is a minute down the road from the breakaway.

    If the breakaway does stay clear and if MTN-Quebeka's Daniel Teklehaimanot crosses the line first then he will take the polka dot jersey.

    They are inside 10km from that climb.

  32. Green jersey

    The battle for fourth place is contested - with double stage winner Andre Greipel finishing sixth.

    It means that in terms of the green jersey standings Andre Greipel has 161pts, Peter Sagan 128pts and Mark Cavendish 94pts.

    Andre Greipel wears the green jersey
  33. Intermediate sprint

    The lead is just above one minute now. The three men in the breakaway are first through the intermediate sprint, Perrig Quémeneur first over the line.

  34. Post update

  35. Ouch!

    I have to say, that looks very, very painful. Is he still smiling?

  36. Where is the best place in the peloton?

    Rob Hayles

    Former GB cyclist

    Quote Message: Generally speaking, up near the front but not on the front as that is the hardest place, where you are working 30-40% harder to go at the same speed. If you sit in the wheels and are protected from the wind, that is the best place to be. In the top 20 or 30 riders - that is generally the best, it is safer, there is a little bit more vision and you can keep your momentum through the bends. The further back you are the more potential there is for crashes.
  37. Post update

    The lead is now less than three minutes. More camera shots of simply superb coastline. #jealous

    We're not far from the day's intermediate sprint.

  38. Tough guys - part II

    We've already seen one Aussie - Adam Hansen - heavily strapped up.

    Michael Matthews had a heavy crash on stage three that he reckons left him struggling to breathe overnight.

    Yesterday he was out the back and looking like toast. Not so, the 24-year-old battled back and took his place on the start line today. Before the riders left Abbeville he reflected on the pain. We'll ignore the fort bit.

    By the way, his red numbers are because he was awarded the most aggressive rider award for his courage in hanging on yesterday.

  39. Taking your time

    As Simon Brotherton points out, there are still more than 60km remaining today. The peloton is trundling along at an average speed of 37km an hour (I know, I know, I can't either).

    We're looking at the best part of 17:00 BST by the time they cross the line.

  40. Concerned about Cav?

    SMS Message: Cav's team are letting him down - his leadout train isn't working. Renshaw is there, but there should be a line of at least 5 bossing the front of the field in the final few KMs. Martin himself said he dropped off yesterday as his job was to protect yellow. He dropped off far too early. from Lewis, London
    Lewis, London
  41. Post update

    I've often wondered what the tactics are when it comes to applying suntan cream during a warm stage. The peloton seems in pretty relaxed mood right now. That will change later, at least at the front end. 

    The riders at the Tour de France
  42. Keep it steady

    The three breakaway riders - Europcar's Perrig Quémeneur, Cofidis's Kenneth Van Bilsen and MTN-Quebeka's Daniel Teklehaimanot - have a lead of about four-and-a-half minutes with 71km remaining.

    Teklehaimanot will be desperate to claim the final climbing point (which comes 30km from the end) and take the polka dot jersey.   

    Breakaway riders
  43. Post update

    Rob Hayles

    Former GB cyclist

    Quote Message: There is no wind whatsoever at the finish. The racing has been absolutely full-on from the word go all week but it should be a little bit easier for the riders today.
  44. Tough guys

    I've got to be honest, I don't fancy this.

    Ever ridden through the pain? What is the worst crash you have been involved in? Any accompanying photos would be great - unless they're too gruesome, of course.

    Let me know by texting 81111 or using #bbccycling

  45. Post update

    Spanish isn't my strongest suit, some would argue English isn't. But interpreting the tweet below one is left with the conclusion that Movistar's Alejandro Valverde has taken a tumble, seemingly on the gravel as he returned to this bike. He seems to be OK.

  46. Listen up

    You can now listen to Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles talking us through the remainder of this stage as the peloton reaches the 75km to go mark via the play button on this page.

    SMS Message: Agree on Sagan winning the stage! Chris Froome will Vroooooom into yellow again, and I think he will not lose it this time! Martin has got as much chance of keeping the jersey as Cav has beating Griepel. from Freddie from London
    Freddie from London
  47. Post update

    Quote Message: Many of you, OK, a few, have been asking about the BBC team's tips for today: Sagan or Valverde for the stage, with two of us saying Martin will lose the yellow jersey to Froome. Isn't it pretty flat between Dieppe and Le Havre? Well, yes, compared to umpteen other parts of France it is. But the finish line in Le Havre is right in front of the fort that used to guard the port from British raiders and other riff-raff. Forts tend to be on high ground and this is no different. There is an 850m climb with a gradient of 7% to get up here before the road levels out to leave 650m to the line. That bit is straight and perhaps even slightly downhill. But the climb is one of those that feels longer and harder than the road book says. When I asked Mark Cavendish about today he said it wasn't one for a pure sprinter. Team director Brian Holm thought he could do it but he is a notorious optimist. from Matt Slater BBC Sport at the Tour de France
    Matt SlaterBBC Sport at the Tour de France
  48. Post update

    You can tell it is a steady old day when the photographers following the race are pulling out some seriously arty shots. 

    Tony Martin
  49. Post update

  50. Post update

    Tuck in, you've earned it.

    The riders pass through the feed zone at Veules-les-Roses and the main pack has a deficit of slightly more than four minutes.

    The final KOM point for the climbers is 30km from the finish line but we have an intermediate sprint before that. 

  51. All about Teklehaimanot

    Daniel Teklehaimanot

    So what about Daniel Teklehaimanot, who is looking to hold on in the breakaway to collect the final point he needs to move to the top of the KOM standings and claim the polka jersey?

    The 26-year-old won the polka dot jersey at the recent Criterium du Dauphine. That was a big deal - the first World Tour jersey won by the MTN-Quebeka team. He is riding the Tour for the first time and has won numerous races in Africa.

    He was diagnosed with tachycardia (a heart rate the exceeds the normal resting rate) earlier in his career. That was corrected by surgery.

    Ever seen him race?

  52. Post update

    Quote Message: After a few days in the trenches, Le Tour hits the beach again today and there is a relaxed look to proceedings so far. I do not expect a huge amount of action until the intermediate sprint with about 50km to go, and then the final charge up the Cote d'Ingouville in Le Havre. A speed bump in the Tour's general scheme but a serious and stage-defining obstacle after four-and-a-half hours in the saddle. from Matt Slater BBC Sport at the Tour de France
    Matt SlaterBBC Sport at the Tour de France
  53. Who will win today?

    Simon Brotherton and Matt Slater are tipping Peter Sagan to win today, while Rob Hayles is going for Alejandro Valverde.

    Matt and Rob reckon Chris Froome will hoover up the 12 seconds he needs to take yellow off Tony Martin. Simon predicts the German will keep the jersey.

    What do you reckon? Let me know by texting 81111 on using #bbccycling

    Peter Sagan
  54. Check out the podcast

    There will be live commentary on the website from 15:00 BST, with Simon Brotherton joined by Rob Hayles.

    If you cannot wait until then, then check out the podcast as Simon, Rob and Matt take a look back at stage five.

    That features an interview with stage winner Andre Greipel plus Mark Cavendish and his lead-out man Mark Renshaw.

  55. Snap happy

    No real reason for this entry, other than I very much like the rather arty photo.

    A tad above 100km left.

    Eritrea's Daniel Teklehaimanot
  56. Post update

    Some superb TV pictures as the Tour wheels its way along the coast. I'll be honest, I really do quite fancy some of that. Delicious.

    No crashes so far today, everything going along very nicely indeed thank you.

    By the way, although Daniel Teklehaimanot and Joaquim Rodriguez both have two points at the top of the King of the Mountains classification, Rodriguez is still in the jersey because he was the first up the race's only category three climb so far - up the Mur de Huy.

  57. Polka dot jersey

    And now it is two. Daniel Teklehaimanot draws level at the top of the polka dot standings with Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez. Both have got two points.

    However, it is surely unlikely the MTN-Quebeka man can stay away and potentially pick up the one more point available today to move him top of standings. The three-man breakaway currently has a lead of five minutes.

  58. Sleepless nights

    While we're talking about Cav, there was a fascinating article on the website prior to the start of the Tour when Mark Cavendish lifted the lid on the secret world of sprinting .

    I thought this sentence was particularly fascinating in the light of his disappointment on Wednesday.

    "It's bigger news, and has bigger consequences, if I don't win. I'll be more caught up in it if I don't win. Then it'll be a sleepless night."  

    I wonder how he slept last night?

  59. Concerned about Cav?

  60. Polka dot jersey

    And MTN-Quebeka's Daniel Teklehaimanot claims the one point available after crossing the côte de Dieppe first.  

  61. Polka dot jersey

    Katusha rider Joaquim Rodriguez currently has the polka dot jersey, with two points to his name.

    There are enough points up for grabs today to ensure that somebody in the breakaway could snatch the jersey if they won all of the three category four climbs on offer.

    Two of them are coming up soon (72km and 77.5km), the third is some way down the road at 162 km.

  62. Nice and easy today?

  63. Post update

    MTN-Quebeka rider Daniel Teklehaimanot is the highest placed rider in the general classification of the three men in the breakaway. He is currently 120th.

    The lead is just under six minutes with 125km left.

    The breakaway trio
  64. Concerned about Cav?

    SMS Message: There is a million and one variables that can impact a sprint finish... Both were boxed in & Greipel simply timed his sprint better, that's all. All sprinters are susceptible to losing sooner or later, have faith! from Pete
    SMS Message: Make that 29 top five stage finishes for Sagan now in less than 3 and a half Tours. That includes 13 second places, but no win since Stage 7 of 2013...And we think Cav is the one who keeps just missing out! #nearlymanofthesprints from Ed, Guildford
    Ed, Guildford
  65. Coming down

    This breakaway group of three might not be out on their own for all that long. They had a 12-minute advantage at one point. That is now less than seven minutes.

    The breakaway group
  66. A pleasant day out?

    Conditions look pretty good for the riders.

    And with this stage the closest to the UK, there will hopefully be a few Brits by the road cheering on the race.

    I took the nipper to Paris last year for the final stage. He loved the yellow flag and big green plastic hand that he still occasionally waves around. Now five, I'd suggest he focuses on learning to ride a bike. 

  67. Concerned about Cav?

    We asked whether you thought Cav would come good during the Tour - or whether it was all downhill from here.

    Text us on 81111 or use #bbccycling

  68. Race latest

    There were attacks off the front pretty much from the moment the riders rolled out of Abbeville at 11:45 BST.

    Cofidis's Luis Angel Maté was quickly reined in but Europcar's Perrig Quémeneur, Cofidis's Kenneth Van Bilsen and MTN-Quebeka's Daniel Teklehaimanot did open up some time over the peloton.

    By 15km their advantage was the long side of four minutes, right now, with almost 50km completed, they have an advantage of a shade under 10 minutes although it was bigger at one stage.

  69. Geraint Thomas's take on stage five

    The route from Abbeville to Le Havre

    As the tweet below from Geraint Thomas indicates, there will be a lot of coastal action today as the 191.5km stage takes us from Abbeville to Le Havre.

    Here is the Team Sky rider's take on today from his 2015 stage guide: "There's a little uphill finish so it could be one for Sagan or Australia's Michael Matthews rather than the pure sprinters. Maybe Valverde might get up there, too. It depends on what that little kick is like but certainly those riders' teams will try to take the legs out of the pure sprinters like Cavendish and Kristoff."  

  70. Get Involved

    Cav chose to heap praise on Greipel rather than suggest he was out of form.

    "He's a phenomenal sprinter, he's in the green jersey and that's the second stage he won this year," said the 30-year-old.

    But as the BBC's Matt Slater argued on Wednesday, although Cav is right to praise the man known as the Gorilla, "the fact is he used to beat Greipel, and almost everybody else, nearly all the time".

    Just a few years ago Greipel was a reserve sprinter behind Cav at HTC-Colombia but has now done him twice in the race so far. And let's not forget that this year's Tour is without Marcel Kittel, who took eight stage victories in 2013 and 2014.

    In 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Cavendish had his first stage victory at stage five - not so yesterday.  

    So, should we be worried about Cav and his ability to edge his stage victories towards the 28 held by Bernard Hinault (he currently has 25)?

    Or are we still backing him to come good and snatch some glory this year?

     Let me know by texting 81111 or using #bbccycling  

    Andre Greipel wins stage five of the Tour de France
  71. "He was faster"

    Mark Cavendish is beaten in a sprint finish

    Mark Cavendish might have moaned after the sprint went wrong on stage two, but he had no complaints after losing out to Andre Greipel yet again on Wednesday, with Peter Sagan snatching second.

    "Today I was just beaten," said Cavendish.

    "It was a bit chaotic. Greipel and Sagan just came past me in the end.

    "I actually did a good sprint, but I was just beaten by two other guys. They just went faster."