Tour de France: Cavendish wins, Armstrong waits, cows swim
Mark Cavendish released his pent-up emotions Thursday when he sprinted to his first Tour de France stage win and then openly wept, saying he had felt the pressure of so far not repeating his six-win performance at last year's race.
Cavendish shouted in exaltation Friday, outsprinting game American Tyler Farrar to the finish line and winning the hot, windy Stage 6 at the Tour de France. Cavendish of Columbia-HTC finished the longest stage of the race in 5 hours 37.42 minutes, just nosing his bike ahead of Farrar, who rides for Garmin-Transitions and is competing despite a broken bone in his wrist.
The 141.4-mile route began in Montargis and was part of a draining day on the bikes with temperatures on the road approaching 100 degrees. The cows in the fields were often seen standing in ponds of water, creating their own swimming pools.
In the last mile or so, it was clear that Columbia-HTC and Garmin-Transitions were setting up Cavendish and Farrar, but Cavendish had just enough oomph at the end to edge past Farrar.
The overall leaders remained unchanged with Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara of Saxo Bank still wearing the yellow jersey and seven-time champion Lance Armstrong of Team RadioShack in 18th place overall, 2:30 behind Cancellara.
Among the other favorites for the overall title, Australian Cadel Evans of BMC Racing is third, 39 seconds behind Cancellara; 2009 runner-up Andy Schleck of Saxo Bank is sixth, 1:09 behind; and defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain and the Astana team, is ninth, 1:40 behind.
-- Diane Pucin in Gueugnon, France
Photo: From top, L to R, the pack riding past a field of flowers, Lance Armstrong (R) riding with Spain's Alberto Contador, Brtitain's Mark Cavendish celebrating on the finish line and overall leader Fabian Cancellara celebrating on the podium. Credit: Pascal Pavani-Lionel Bonaventure, AFP/Getty Images.