Tour de France stage six LIVE: Tours to Châteauroux

Live updates from the 160.4km stage that should suit the sprinters

Stage six has now concluded - Follow the live action from stage seven here


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage six of the Tour de France 2021!

The route for today looks to be a pretty straightforward sprint stage of 160.4km, with just the one category four climb to tackle midway through.

There's definitely one man who will like the look of today's route...

Today we start in the city of Tours, which hasn't hosted a Tour de France start since 2013. On that day, Mark Cavendish just so happened to take the win while riding for Omega Pharma-Quick-Step...

The stage today finishes in the city of Châteauroux, which hasn't featured as a finish since 2011.

Cavendish was the odds-on favourite even before he'd won on Tuesday, and today he is the clear favourite with the bookmakers, who have him at 2/1 to win, with Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) at 3/1 and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) at 4/1

It should be a relatively straightforward sprint stage for everyone today, there's a few turns into the finishing city but it's a long straight to the line which will make it a proper drag race for the fast-men

Expect a break to go up the road though, and expect polka-dot jersey wearer Ide Schelling to be in there to try and take the solitary point available today 

In non-Tour news, Deceuninck - Quick Step rider Iljo Keisse has been paid more than €35,000 in damages by a Dutch TV presenter who knocked him unconscious in an October 2017 fight. The presenter has also been sent to prison for two years, one year of which is suspended.

Cycling Weekly has not yet been able to confirm the veracity of this report, but Reuters cycling journalist Julien Prétot is reporting that Tour de France organisers ASO have pulled back from their intention of suing the spectator who caused the mass pile-up on stage one.

Today's stage doesn't get underway until just after 2pm local time, and with the mountains on the horizon, expect today to be a rather sedentary affair before a probable bunch sprint.

The Tour has visited today's finishing town, Châteauroux, twice in the past 14 editions. The winner of both occasions? None other than Mark Cavendish. 

The Tour de France will not sue the fan who caused the mass pile-up on stage one, according to Reuters.

The riders have set off on their roll out of Tours, we have about 2km until the official start.

Make sure you head over to our Twitter page to vote on who you think will win today! 

We are racing and immediately we got attacks from Lotto-Soudal and Ag2r-Citroën with the most recent move seeing Thomas De Gendt and Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet having a dig with 156km to go.

Groupama-FDJ are now frantically chasing for their sprinter as the other big sprint teams have sent riders up the road.

Anthony Turgis tried to bridge but failed as Stefan Küng hits the front of the peloton to really up the pace.

So much for this being a dull stage. The big powerhouses have come out to play in the breakaway as Arkéa-Samsic and Qhubeka-NextHash join Groupama-FDJ in the chase.

Oh De Gendt has attacked with Van Avermaet as Politt and Zimmermann try to jump across as the others slow for a moment.

Asgreen is being forced to drag Kragh Andersen, Skujins, and Rickaert back to the lead group. The 2021 Tour of Flanders winner, Asgreen is a rider that the rest of the break really don't want in there.

Greg Van Avermaet is furious with some of the riders in the break not working. Rickaert is sat at the back of the group as he has the yellow jersey in the peloton.

De Gendt attacks yet again. Van Avermaet of course follows but Zimmermann and Asgreen join which brings everyone back.

Arkéa-Samsic is now the team dominating the front of the peloton as they chase for  Nacer Bouhanni, who has been looking very fast so far at this race.

The break looks to be coming back as Van Avermaet now goes clear on his own. Which he looked pretty unhappy about. Team TotalEnergies, UAE Team Emirates and Bahrain Victorious on the front at the moment as the pace slackens. 

Roger Kluge has become the latest Lotto-Soudal rider to go clear as he looks to chase Van Avermaet down. 

Kluge has finally made it to Van Avermaet to make our break of the day. I imagine they'll haver a chat and then maybe even sit up. Neither of them look happy as they're basically wasting energy at 2-10 gap to the peloton with 118km to go.

Some stunning views on the Loire for the riders to look at now the pace has slackened.

Alpecin-Fenix, Deceuninck - Quick-Step and, rather intriguingly, Movistar Team are keeping the gap down. Its 112km to go with the gap settled at 1-58 to Kluge and Van Avermaet.

Sounds like Marc Soler was in a pretty bad way after stage one crash.

More 'Opi-Omi' news... Maybe the last too.

Inside the final 100km already and the gap is slowly closing as Tim Declercq has gone to the front. Just holding above a minute to Kluge and Van Avermaet.

The experienced pair of Roger Kluge and Greg van Avermaet have a lead of around 90 seconds over the peloton with 95km left to race. Funny break, this one. Almost impossible to see how the sprint teams won't bring them back, but chapeau to Van Avermaet especially for committing to it. 

83km now remaining and no change in the race situation, with an advantage of 1:28. When will the peloton look to catch them? Inside the final 20km or before? Van Avermaet has the power to potentially hold off a peloton that delays its catch.

There is a gap of 1:13 between the break of two and a peloton that doesn't want them to go too far ahead. 68km to race. 

Kluge and Van Avermaet have a lead of just over a minute now. The finish line is 58km from the duo. It seems a given that the sprinters will get their third opportunity to win a stage in this year's race.

Today is a picture-perfect Tour de France day: the peloton are rolling through the countryside, every village is packed with spectators and the sun is brilliantly shinning. All change this weekend, though: heavy rain is forecast in the Alps on both Saturday and Sunday, meaning the first trip to the mountains could be shape heavily by the weather.

The day's intermediate sprint has happened and it was won by Van Avermaet with Kluge in second. Behind, Sonny Colbrelli took the maximum honours remaining in the peloton, claiming 15 points in the race for the green jersey. Mark Cavendish, who currently leads the points classification, was the fifth across the line and picks up another nine points.

Results of the intermediate sprint

What impact has it had on the points classification? A few movers and shakers, most notably a big 15 points for Colbrelli that moves him onto 60 points.

It looks like Kluge and Van Avermaet will be caught soon, with just 35 seconds separating them from the peloton. We could be in a very formulaic final hour.

Thanks to Chris Marshall-Bell for taking on the middle slot of today's feed. That was an interesting intermediate sprint, wasn't it?

Pace is now starting to rise slowly but it is still Declercq along wit Petr Vakoč and Kristian Sbaragli working on the front followed by Tadej Pogačar and his UAE Team Emirates squad.

The final results on our Twitter poll for today has Cavendish taking 75% of your votes! With Merlier at 12%, other at 9% and Bouhanni, rather cruelly, at 4%.

Deceuninck - Quick-Step have now really come to the fore but suddenly even they are swamped a bit by other teams as Ineos Grenadiers almost freewheel en masse to the front for the first time.

If anyone can pull this surprise from the break off its Van Avermaet and Kluge. Two absolute powerhouses and they are really testing the peloton here on this wide main road towards Châteauroux. 

Wout van Aert is in position with Mike Teunissen as the Belgian champion, Van Aert, is going for the sprint for the first time in this race.

Bahrain Victorious looking good as Jacopo Guarnieri has hit the deck for Groupama-FDJ unfortunately for him. But his team-mate Démare is perfectly placed on Cavendish's wheel with 2km to go. 

Van der Poel has lost Merlier and Philipsen at the moment as Deceuninck - Quick-Step continue to control. Intermarché, Trek-Segafredo and Arkéa-Samsic come up looking strong for the final kilometre.

Van der Poel comes to the front with the full Alpecin-Fenix leadout train and they come across Deceuninck.

Mark Cavendish wins stage six of the Tour de France 2021!! That's 32 Tour de France wins! 

BUT! It did look like he came across both Merlier and Philipsen with Bouhanni coming up very late.

The Manxman won his second stage of the race in Châteauroux.

Who are the winners and losers in the early battles for the yellow, green, white and polka-dot jerseys at the 2021 race around France?

Read our Five talking points from stage six of the Tour de France 2021

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