Tour de France 2014's Stage 6 threw up a new winner in the form of Andre Greipel of the Lotto-Belisol team.
The German warded off Alexander Kristoff of the Katusha team and Samuel Dumolin of the Ag2r La Mondiale team during the end sprint.
"I think there was a lot of pressure on us, and also on my shoulders. Everybody did the job they had to do to get me in the position for the sprint and I had enough power to win. I am very happy that we finally have a stage win," The Guardian quoted the winner.
Stage 5 also saw a new victor in Lars Bloom, after Marcel Kittel had reigned supreme in the previous three stages.
Clammy conditions once made their presence felt as the peloton rode on from Arras to Reims during the 194 kilometre race, reported VeloNews. If the previous stage saw crashes, this stage was no different as Xabier Zandio of Sky, Egor Silin of Katusha and Jesus Hernandez Tinkoff-Saxo were compelled to retire from the race due to injuries.
Many riders fell during the course of the race. Zandio had a particularly bad time as he broke his collarbone. Kittel, winner of three stages, did not have much of an impact in Stage 6 as he had a flat tyre.
Green jersey holder Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Tom-Jelte Slagter and Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp), Arnaud Démare and William Bonnet (FDJ), and Rein Taaramäe and Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) rode on despite suffering crashes.
Vincent Nibali's position as yellow jersey holder still remains unaffected. Giant Shimano were asked to reduce their pace shortly before the intermediate sprint with a distance of 75 kilometres to be covered by Nibali, the leader of the peloton. This would offer other teams the opportunity to come together again.
Michal Kwiatkoski, Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Polish contestant, provided a stiff challenge in the last kilometre. However, Greipel managed to hold on and secure his position as the winner of the stage.
"It was a good attack from Kwiatkowski, and we had to stay calm," Greipel remarked.
Sagan, fifth in Stage 6, retained the green jersey and was given the prize for Best Young Rider. He, however, was far from satisfied with his performance.
"That was bad to crash again today but I have nothing broken, so I'm fine. A guy crashed in front of me and another crashed behind, he's the one who took me down. But after two crashes I'm still here while other riders have had to go home. I just hope that my bad luck is gone. Today I've been boxed in and I came fifth without even sprinting, so it's all good for the green jersey. Maybe tomorrow is my chance for a stage win finally, but first I have to recover from my crash," the Cannondale man stated.
Some contestants have made their displeasure evident about cobbles being included. Race director Christian Prudhomme, however, thought otherwise.
"The cobbles are an integral part of the race. A Tour de France winner has to be able to ride on every kind of road. There were many crashes on the asphalt, but not so many on the cobbles. The job of a cyclist is exceptional but difficult. What they have done contributes to their legend, being admired by people around the world. We would do it again," Prudhomme was of the opinion.