Live

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

Refresh

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

The action gets underway at 13.55 local time (12.55 UK time), but we'll have plenty of build up ahead of the race itself.

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.

Stage six of the Tour de France 2021

(Image credit: ASO)

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...

Mark Cavendish wins stage 13 of the 2013 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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

No guesses who happened to win that day: Mark Cavendish won, as he did in 2008 when he took his first-ever Tour stage victory.

Mark Cavendish wins his first Tour de France stage in 2008

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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

Tour de France 2021 stage six finish

(Image credit: Tour de France)

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.

Read our story on the verdict here

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.

We will bring you more on this throughout the day.

See more

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.

Mark Cavendish will be looking for his second win of the race, as will Tim Merliers. Other sprinters like Arnaud Démare and Peter Sagan will be eying their first triumphs of the 2021 edition.

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.

You can read our full story on the latest development here

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

Likely to be a pretty slow day until the last 40km or so where the pace will kick off to get ready for the sprint.

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

See more

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.

They're joined by Kasper Asgreen, Søren Kragh Andersen, Toms Skujins, Jonas Rickaert, Nils Politt and, I think, Loïc Vliegen in what is a superstar breakaway!

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

EF has joined the chase too but team-mates of the break are blocking. The Intermarché rider in the break is Georg Zimmermann by the way.

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

But the gap is around a minute already. This could be very dangerous as the riders in the break are exceptionally strong.

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.

145km to go with a gap of 50 seconds between the two groups.

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

Asgreen kicks over the top, but he is a danger man in the GC as he sits at 1-49 in 11th overall.

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.

Asgreen has dragged him and the three others back to the leaders with 137km to go. The gap has come down to 39 seconds now.

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.

130km to go but just 24 seconds is now the gap as we continue to crisscross the Loire river.

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.

Connor Swift is the next man to hammer on the front of the bunch. Victor Campenaerts has been joined by a few more Qhubeka-NextHash men.

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. 

16 seconds for Van Avermaet with 128km to go.

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

The peloton have sat up completely with several riders stopping for a natural break and others chatting.

123km to go, Kluge now 38 seconds behind Van Avermaet who is now almost two minutes in front. Will they not bother with the break?

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.

Beautiful castles on the Loire river on stage six of the Tour de France 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

Read more: Marc Soler describes inability to stand up after Tour de France crash: 'I was really dizzy'

Marc Soler

(Image credit: Getty)

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

Read more: Tour de France organisers will not sue fan who caused mass pile-up on stage one

Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty)

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.

Alpecin-Fenix also working with Declercq and the Deceuninck - Quick-Step lads.

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

1. Greg van Avermaet, 20pts
2. Roger Kluge, 17pts
3. Sonny Colbrelli, 15pts
4. Michael Mørkøv, 13pts
5. Jasper Philipsen, 11pts
6. Michael Matthews, 10pts
7. Mark Cavendish, 9pts
8. Peter Sagan, 8pts
9. Danny van Poppel, 7pts
10. Arnaud Démare , 6pts
11. Nacer Bouhanni, 5pts
12. Daniel Oss, 4pts
13. Jonas Rickaert, 3pts
14. Connor Swift, 2pts
15. Jacopo Guarnieri, 1pts

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.

Ahead of the stage finish, here is the top-five in the race for green:

1. Mark Cavendish, 98pts
2. Michael Matthews, 88pts
3. Julian Alaphilippe, 84pts
4. Nacer Bouhanni, 79pts
5. Mathieu van der Poel, 78pts

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?

Anyway, Tim Bonville-Ginn back again to take you all the way to the line. Not too much has changed since I last left. Tim Declercq is working with the lads from Alpecin-Fenix with 27 seconds up to Van Avermaet and Kluge with 28km to go.

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.

Just 23km to go with 25 seconds of a gap to the duo up front as we come through Levroux.

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%.

Who's going to be right? A lot commenting for Sagan. Would be a very surprising win if he pulls it off.

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.

Deceuninck - Quick-Step once again take over and now hold on to the front along with a couple of Alpecin-Fenix side.

Meanwhile, at the front. Van Avermaet and Kluge have put the hammer down and now have 40 seconds with 10km to go.

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. 

It's 7km to go with 28 seconds now to the break. I'm 100% certain that it's all about the sprinters today.

Coming up to a big roundabout that splits the peloton in the middle and it was almost the same distance on both sides.

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.

Cavendish has his whole lead-out train now with him as we head into the final 4km. Team DSM come up for Cees Bol. Alpecin-Fenix have a little bit of work to do to get up.

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. 

The break has now been caught.

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.

Merlier caught between Cavendish and Philipsen as the leadout man, I think that will be fine.

1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, in 3-17-36
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkéa-Samsic, all at same time.

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

Read more. Full race report: Mark Cavendish powers to Tour de France 2021 stage six victory

Mark Cavendish wins stage six of the 2021 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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?

Find out here: Tour de France standings: The latest results from the French Grand Tour 

The leaders jerseys at the start of stage six in the Tour de France 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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

Mark Cavendish

(Image credit: Getty)