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Tour de France | Stage six

09 July 2017

Gesink crossed the line 37 seconds in arrears to take second place, while another 24-year-old French debutant - Guillaume Martin of Wanty-Groupe Gobert - won the sprint for third place, 50 seconds back, when the main pack came home.

Italy's Fabio Aru climbs the last hill during the 160,5km fifth stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race.

On a day that again favoured the sprinters, German Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) took advantage of Peter Sagan (expelled) and Mark Cavindish (injured) watching from the sidelines to claim his second stage.

In a stage featuring two category-four climbs, breakaway rider Quemeneur took the honors on both summits for Direct Energie.

"I'm not really pushing myself for victories because I want to break the record of Erik Zabel, I just want to keep it coming, stay relaxed and get the best from myself and for the team in the sprints, and then see how far that can get me".

Britain's Chris Froome had a minor scare when he went off the road in a descent, but the Team Sky rider kept his cool in sweltering heat to retain the overall leader's yellow jersey.

"We'll definitely get a very good idea of who's really going well and above all who's climbing well", Thomas, now lying second overall after his spell in the Tour lead, said on Friday.

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Froome remained 12 seconds ahead of Sky teammate Geraint Thomas and 14 seconds ahead of Stage 5 victor Fabio Aru of Italy. "The hope is that you have riders still very close to him (when the race hits the decisive stages)", he explained.

That was the question at the Tour de France yesterday.

FACT OF THE DAY: For the first time since 2011, Alberto Contador wrapped the opening week of racing on the Tour de France.

But on Sunday's stage, with a trio of Hors Categorie climbs in the Jura - ascents so hard they forcibly remain outside the organisers' ranking of climbing difficulty - there will be no room for those sorts of doubts.

"This weekend is the first real big shake up".

Kittel leapfrogged Arnaud Demare in the green jersey competition after receiving maximum points through victory, the Frenchman finishing well back in 11th (6 points).

Dan is now fourth overall at 25 seconds, so there is the possibility we could have an Irishman in yellow by Sunday.

Tour de France | Stage six