Stage six: Epernay-Metz

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We’re heading for Metz, a beautiful city in Lorraine.

Precious little, again. The hills start tomorrow, so ASO have done the riders a favour and avoided any climbing for the third consecutive day – there’s a fourth-cat climb midway through the stage, but it won’t have any strategic significance beyond earning a few euros for the first rider over (who’ll be an FDJ man).

See: stage four. Also: stage five. It’s another sprint.

The hills will start to appear on the horizon at the end of the stage.

A huge bowl of Potée Lorraine, which is similar to sauerkraut. Plus, vin gris du Toul. That’s white wine made from red grapes.

The finishing sprint, again. It’s the last one for over a week.

1907 Emile Georget
1908 Lucien Petit-Breton
1909 François Faber
1910 François Faber
1911 Luigi Lucotti
1920 Philippe Thys
1921 Félix Sellier
1922 Federico Gay
1923 Romain Bellenger
1924 Arsène Alancourt
1925 Hector Martin
1926 Aimé Dossche
1927 Nicolas Frantz
1928 Nicolas Frantz
1929 André Leducq
1930 Charles Pélissier
1931 Raffaële Di Paco
1932 Raffaële Di Paco
1933 Alfons Schepers
1934 Roger Lapébie
1935 Raffaële Di Paco
1936 Matthias Clemens
1937 Walter Generati
1938 Marcel Kint
1948 Giovanni Corriéri
1950 Jean Goldschmit
1952 Vittorio Magni
1953 Fritz Schaer
1955 Willy Kemp
1957 André Trochut
1959 André Darrigade
1961 Anatole Novak
1964 Rudy Altig
1967 Herman Vanspringel
1979 Christian Seznec
1980 Rudy Pevenage
1999 Lance Armstrong


Cycling magazine, July 5, 1980
Stage two, Frankfurt-Metz, 275km

The longest stage, taking the riders over mainly flat roads from Frankfurt due south to Metz, just on the other side of the French border, was expected to be a bit of a bore as the heads had an easy day in preparation for another marathon stage with numerous climbs on Sunday.

After 15 kilometres, four second-string men went away, Yvon Bertin (Renault), Rudy Pevenage (Ijsboerke), Jacques Bossis (Peugeot) and Pierre Bazzo (La Redoute).

With 50 kilometres covered, and the bunch at 6-50, the rain began to fall, and would continue with no sign of easing for more than seven hours. With 96 kilometres to go, the sodden quartet had what was to be their maximum lead of 25 minutes.

Into Metz, just inside the 200-metre mark, Bertin jumped, arching his back as he tackled the rising finish. But Pevenage had other ideas. Switching to the left with Bazzo on his wheel he had time to punch the air in joy. Bertin had the consolation of the yellow jersey, while Bazzo had collected enough points to take over the green jersey. They both had time to receive their jerseys and bouquets before the bunch swept into the finish 9-53 in arrears.

– Metz has hosted 37 stage finishes at the Tour de France. It was a regular between 1907 and the 1960s, but has only appeared once a decade since.
– Italian rider Raffaële Di Paco won three stages into Metz, in 1931,32 and 35.
– On 10 occasions, the winner of the Metz stage has gone on to finish in the final top three. That’s not going to happen this year.
– Good news for André Greipel. Three different Andrés have won in Metz – Leducq in 1929, Trochut in 1957 and Darrigade in 1959.
– The last winner in Metz was Lance Armstrong, in a time trial in 1999. The former non-time triallist won by a minute, with only three riders within three minutes.

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Maps courtesy of Amaury Sports Organisation