Massive pileup mars sixth stage of Tour de France

METZ, France — Peter Sagan of Slovakia avoided a bloody, across-the-road pileup to capture a stage for the third time at the Tour de France on Friday while Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland also steered clear of the mayhem to keep the yellow jersey.


With about 16 miles to go in the 129-mile ride from Epernay to Metz, at least two dozen riders spilled across a rural road. Many were downed and dazed, looking for team staffers in a jumble of injured riders and bikes.

“It was like a trench hit by a (grenade) when I entered the crash to give my bike to Bauke,” Rabobank’s Laurens Ten Dam said on Twitter, referring to teammate Bauke Mollema. “Lots of blood and screaming. Carnage.”

The U.S. Garmin-Sharp team bore the brunt of the crash.

Tom Danielson, who finished in last year’s Tour in eighth place, was already nursing a separated shoulder from a crash earlier in the week. In Friday’s spill, he was briefly knocked unconscious, and later rushed to a hospital for hip, collarbone and elbow injuries. He was one of at least four riders to drop out of the race because of the crash.

“God knows how it happened,” said Garmin veteran David Millar said believes the riders were going at least 43 mph at the time

A Tour medical report listed 27 riders as injured on the day – two hospitalized from the first crash, and eight from the second.

Overall, Cancellara leads ahead of Wiggins by seven seconds. Cadel Evans is sixth, 17 seconds back.


STAGE: A flat 129-mile ride from Epernay to Metz across the green vineyards of the Champagne region

WINNER: Peter Sagan of Slovakia

YELLOW JERSEY: Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland.

STAT OF THE DAY: Six. The number of riders who dropped out of the race after crashing during the stage’s two big pile-ups, including former three-time world champion Oscar Freire of Spain and American rider Tom Danielson.

TODAY’S STAGE: A 123-mile ride to the ski resort of La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges. The stage features the Tour’s first category-one climb, a brutally steep 4-mile ascent with the final few hundred yards at an average gradient of 14 percent.

– Associated Press