- Tour de France, Stage Six
Sagan makes it a hat-trick; Cav left to rue crash
Liquigas rider Peter Sagan claimed his third stage victory of the Tour de France following a strong finish in Metz, while Mark Cavendish and general classification contender Frank Schleck were left to rue a big crash.
The Slovakian, making his Tour debut this year, produced another mature performance, timing his burst perfectly to easily outsprint Andre Greipel with Matthew Goss of Orica-GreenEdge crossing a distant third.
Cavendish's wait to draw level with Lance Armstrong on 22 stage wins continues after a crash 26km from the finish rendered him out of the equation in the closing stages.
General classification favourites Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins, along with current yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara, dodged the carnage and began hunting down the day's four-man breakaway.
The escapees were reeled in with 1.3km left to ride - at which point Orica-GreenEdge and Lotto-Belisol came to the fore.
Greipel, bidding to become only the 12th rider to win three consecutive Tour stages, was maneuvered into position brilliantly by his team. However, it proved futile as a rampant Sagan came through under the radar to storm to glory.
As well as Cavendish, Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Schleck were also heavily affected by the earlier crash, losing time in the battle for the GC.
Wiggins, who came home four seconds behind the sprinters, remains seven seconds behind Cancellara in the overall standings.
Stage Six result
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale - 4:37:00
2 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team
3 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
4 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
5 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
6 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team
7 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
8 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team
9 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
10 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team - 0:00:04
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan - 29:22:36
2 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling - 0:00:07
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team - 0:00:10
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team - 0:00:13
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team - 0:00:17
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:00:18
8 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:00:19
9 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan
10 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan - 0:00:22