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Page last updated at 10:04 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 11:04 UK

Tour de France - stage six as it happened



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By Peter Scrivener

1643: And that's it from me. Thanks for all the texts and chat on 606. Sorry I couldn't bring you news of a Millar win. Tomorrow we head off into the Pyrenees with a lung-busting 224km ride from Barcelona to Andorra Arcalis. The finish line is over 2000m above the start line and there's an hors category climb to finish. Nice. Bevo is back in the saddle. Early start at around 1000 BST. Don't be late.

1641: Small, and I do mean small, consolation for Millar - he is awarded the most aggressive rider of the day. The look on his face tells you he'd rather be wearing yellow tomorrow than sporting a red number on his jersey.

Yellow jersey
Just to clear everything up from today then. Hushovd takes first from Freire with Jose Rojas in third. Cancellara keeps his yellow jersey. Cavendish keeps his green (by one point) and Auge takes the polka dot into the mountains.

1635: pigeons in the park on 606:
Get involved on 606
"They chased Millar down because of the sprint points, Spanish pride etc etc. Worrying re GC doesn't come into it - in fact once they hit Barcelona behind him they'd have known Millar wasn't a threat - the man's not good uphill."

Get involved on 606
thewholehog on 606: "Heroic by Millar. If he hadn't been so high in the g/c and if those with him had been able to contribute for longer, then he would have had a better chance. That last 2km at the finish was always going to be tough. As it was, he went down fighting, in the best traditions of the Tour. Marvellous effort.

1623: Blimey. Tremendous finish at the top of Montjuic. Freire must have thought he had that in the bag, only to see Hushovd come flying by.

Green jersey
You've got to feel for Millar who gave his all, but it's not all doom and gloom for the Brits as Cavendish came home in a fantastic 16th place to keep the green jersey.

1618: Norway's Thor Hushovd takes 35 points and that could strip Cavendish of the green jersey. Hushovd came out of the wheel of home favourite Oscar Freire to take the line in a little over four hours 21 minutes. The yellow jersey stays with Fabian Cancellara who came home 10th in the same time.

1616:Thor Hushovd wins stage six

1614: Millar giving it one final go. Up out the saddle again. But the peloton are almost with him. A quick look under his shoulder and he knows it is game over. A brave effort by Millar. And here come the attacks. Tony Martin in the young rider's white jersey is up there.

1612: Thousands lining the streets of Barcelona. The yellow flags are out and there is a sort of wave going on, although it's probably not as impressive as the organisers would have hoped for. Millar's lead down to 20 seconds as he starts this little climb in the final two kilometres.

1610: Boonen back on the bike but not looking too comfortable on a spare bike. Millar under the 5km to go banner. He's beginning to role a bit and the peloton is working hard. Millar out the saddle again. Lead down to 30 seconds with 4km to go.

1608: Millar out the saddle as he makes one final effort - 7.5km to go. Another big crash sees Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen come a cropper on a corner. About five others go down with him. Inside 6km, 40 seconds lead.

1606: Rabobank starting to wind it up. But a big crash in the middle. Lots of riders down including specialist climber Laurens Ten Dam from Rabobank. Columbia come to the front - caught a glimpse of Cavendish's green - a Brit one-two anyone?!

1603: The general reckoning is that you need to be one minute clear for every 10km remaining to stay out in front. He's going to win by five seconds by that calculation then. Nothing to worry about. Streets still damp, although no real rain.

1600: The peloton don't seem that interested in chasing Millar down. He's out to one minute 13 seconds and if he keeps that, he will be in yellow. He started the day 67 seconds behind Fabian Cancellara. His head is down, his legs are pumping. He's on a straight section though which can only help the bunch. He needs some twists and turns and quickly. 10km to go.

It's good news for a British rider
Cofidis rider Remi Pauriol broke from the peloton going over the climb and has now caught Txurruka. Millar still pounding it out up front - his lead over the main bunch is now up over one minute. He's 45 seconds clear of Txurruka and Pauriol. He's got 15km to survive. Don't forget, there's that sharp 60m climb just before the finish. Millar in time trial mode.

1550: In amongst all the excitement of Millar's break, Auge and Chavanel were swallowed up by the peloton. Txurruka descending better than Millar and is catching him - 10 seconds adrift, 18km to go.

1548: Millar is over the top of the category four climb, some 26 seconds ahead of Txurruka. He's got 22km to hold out. Will he do it? Riding very carefully down the other side, taking care to stay off the white road markings as much as he can.

Get involved on 606
tgsgirl on 606: (See 1530)"The oracle is correct. He was stepping back to admire his beautiful church and bam! The end for the genius of Gaudi."

1542: Millar has got a long lonely 6.5km climb up the Cote de la Conreria, although the diminutive Txurruka has broken from Auge and Chavanel and set off in pursuit. Millar 40 seconds clear of Auge and Chavanel and 25 seconds clear of the Spaniard.

1539: About 29km from home, and with the lead reduced to 50 seconds, Britain's David Millar decided enough was enough and bolted like a startled deer off the front. He's opened up a 15-second gap, but surely it's suicide? Or can he emulate Voeckler from yesterday?

It's good news for a British rider
Millar has gone for it!

1535: Bit of a coming together in the peloton on a roundabout. Several riders down. Tyler Farrar and Michael Rogers two of those down. Think we can expect more of that in the closing 30km as the chase heats up.

1530: Shots on the TV feed of Antoni Gaudi's signature La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The cathedral, which was started in 1882, is yet to be finished, although a 2026 date has been earmarked. Turns out Gaudi was run over and killed by a tram - the oracle to my left insists it was while he was admiring his masterpiece. Bit of a long-winded way of getting round to the point that the helicopter is up, which means a) the rain is not too heavy and b)we may get our yellow wave after all

Get involved on 606
ScottyMuser on 606: "The climb could be key for this group, climb at roughly the same pace as the peloton do, and its probably theirs on the basis that it's easier to descend quickly in treacherous conditions in a small group like 4, rather than large peloton."

It's raining
Rain makes a noticeable return. Leaders gingerly negotiating the damp streets of a Catalan town. Could this play into the hands of Millar, Auge, Chavanel and Txurruka? Just under 40km to go and the lead staying constant at 90 seconds.

Text in your views on 81111
From Michael in Barnet, via text on 81111: (See 1455) "Although Brunel's bridge was good, it doesn't compare to lord Norman Foster's Milau viaduct as an all-time great bridge."

1513: Chavanel, Txurruka, Millar were the first three through the sprint. They've got just 45km and the small matter of the category four Cote de la Conreria to survive. Lead back up to one minute 40 seconds.

Text in your views on 81111
From Tim in London, via text on 81111: "Now doing a rain dance in the office to help dampen the peloton's ardour. Getting funny looks but worth it if our Dave gets the win. Come on!"

The sun is out
Not only is it not raining, but the sun has briefly broken through the cloud cover to welcome the Tour to Cardedeu. Millar et al has a lead of almost 90 seconds.

1505: Mercifully, the rain is staying away as the leading quartet bear down on the final sprint of the day at Cardedeu. That's a couple of kilometres away, as they are currently 51km from the finish.

Polka dot jersey
It has been confirmed that Auge's exertions have paid off today and he will be in the polka dot king of the mountains jersey tomorrow, assuming he finishes today of course. First shots of Cavendish, resplendent in green lid, green shorts, green socks, green shoes, green gloves and green jersey. Even his onboard computer is green. Anybody think this sprinting lark is important to him?

It's raining
Always amazes me how little effort these boys appear to be putting in. They never seem to be out of breath. Me, I get halfway up Highgate Hill in north London and I have to bow out at the traffic lights and turn right over suicide bridge. One day I'll make it, one day. Spot of rain in the air again.

1448: We're down to the last 60km, but the peloton not making any more inroads chasing the leading four. Astana doing a lot of the work, but the advantage remains at 100 seconds. Little wave from Cancellara to the TV camera. He seems fairly comfortable in yellow, sitting just off the pace.

1442: Half the Silence Lotto team drop back to help Evans.

1440: The Spanish fans are delighted with that. Txurruka deserves huge credit for bridging the gap on his own and now he's made it, you can bet he'll be pushing to try and keep them clear. One Spaniard, one Brit and two Frenchmen in the quartet. Cadel Evans drops off the back with a puncture.

1438: Auge, Chavanel, Millar up and over Collsacreu in that order and it's now predominantly downhill for the next 40 of the remaining 70km or so. Txurruka is no longer in no man's land and our leading group is now up to four.

BBC Sport's Phil Sheehan on Twitter: "Amets Txurruka is in no man's land between break and bunch. The first time I ever saw Txuruka I thought he was a 12-yr-old Euskaltel fan."

1430: The rain has abated as the leading trio continue up Collsacreu. Amets Txurruka has broken from the peloton on the climb and is 30 seconds adrift of the leaders.

Get involved on 606
City Hobgoblin on 606: "I'm not convinced Cancellara and Saxobank are going to bury themselves to keep a hold of the Yellow a day before a big mountain stage. It might be a good day for them to relinquish the jersey. They have far more important days coming up."

1425: Auge leading Chavanel and Millar down - he certainly doesn't want to be caught just yet. Another category three climb, Collsacreu, coming up.

1420: Looks like the peloton has had enough of the break and Astana have moved to the front and are putting some serious effort in. It's certainly stringing the riders out. Lead dropping to under 100 seconds.

1413: Garmin's Millar, Auge of Cofidis and Quick Step's Chavanel straining up the category three Cote de Sant Vincenc de Montalt. Lead has dropped to under two minutes. Big crowds on the climb, sheltering under umbrellas. Catalan flags in abundance. Auge went over first with Chavanel and Millar trailing. 83km to Barcelona.

Text in your views on 81111
From Dan in East Yorks, via text on 81111: "Just texting home to have the cava put on ice in case. Would love to see DM win today but 2 minutes 30 isn't enough, is it?"


Video diary - Nicole Cooke wins national title

Britain's Nicole Cooke and her team filmed behind the scenes as she won her 10th national title the weekend before last - take a peek before the fun really starts in the streets of Barcelona.

1403: Want an idea of how bad the weather is getting? The Costa Brava beaches are deserted. And if even the Brits are avoiding the sand to sleep off hangovers, you know it must be bad. David Lelay takes a little tumble on the slippery roads as they go through the feeding station - and needs a wheel change.

BBC Sport's Phil Sheehan on Twitter: "We've had a few shots of the back of Dave Millar's helmet with what looks like the new Cycleops Joule power-measuring device - his stem-mounted computer is, of course, the team-issue Garmin Edge 705 which provides, speed, heart-rate, power, elevation and map data."

1355: Second sprint has been 'contested' and Millar was first through with Chavanel second and Auge in third. So that's 85km down, a bit of lunch coming up in a couple of kilometres. Just in time too as the 200m climb up Cote de Sant Vincenc de Montalt follows. Lead hovering around the two minutes 30 seconds mark as a train cruelly speeds by. Race leader Cancellara getting a bit of a tow behind a Skoda.

Text in your views on 81111
From Sean in Edinburgh, via text on 81111: "The breakaway are all former team-mates are they not? They certainly have the skill and the nous to make a go of it today. ALLEZ MILLAR!"

Get involved on 606
DiamondD64 on 606: Just leaving our hostel in Barca to brave the rain and head up to Montjuic...hope it is worth getting wet for!

Get involved on 606
TheOwl100 on 606: (See 1317) David Millar has not only worn the maillot jaune before, but is the only British rider to have ever worn all the Tour de France jerseys."

1344: Never mind the weather Tim? That's alright for you to say! I've just seen the skies above Spain and it's looking pretty grim. The leaders are approaching 100km to go, the lead is a touch under three minutes and the waterproofs are starting to make an appearance.

Text in your views on 81111
From Tim in London, via text on 81111: "Never mind the weather - super Dave Millar for the win. Let's hope there's no repeat of last year's bike chucking incident!"

BBC Sport's Phil Sheehan on Twitter: "Once the riders hit the heavy rain it will be very demoralising I imagine. I don't even want to pop out for 2mins to buy a sandwich!"

1334: The leaders are pounding along towards the next sprint at Sant Pol de Mar at 85km, but their lead is no longer growing. Millar is sixth overall remember, so the peloton will be keen to keep tabs on him.

It's raining
Chavanel, Auge, Millar, in that order take the six, four and two points available for the sprint in Lloret de Mar. Lead is up near four minutes, but the worry is the few spots of rain that have started to fall.

Text in your views on 81111
From Fran in Inverness, via text on 81111: Hope that weather is better in Barcelona by the time the riders get there. It'll be carnage! Has a stage ever been called off for weather?

Get involved on 606
Here's BBC Sport's Alex Murray on 606 with more on the Barcelona finish: "If it's wet in Barcelona, looks like the fans will get some use out of the big yellow cards they've been given as the city wants to create a big yellow wave that follows the race in the final kilometres. If it works it should look pretty spectacular on the helicopter shots.

1322: Millar's trio are now over three minutes clear as they speed towards the first intermediate sprint of the day at 64km.

Text in your views on 81111
From Nick, still spreadsheeting in Blackpool, via text on 81111:(See 1310) "A yellow wave? Are the sewers overflowing?"

Text in your views on 81111
From Jon in Barcelona, via text on 81111: "I am on holiday in Barcelona and was checking sport updates on my blackberry when I read the Tour de France live text. I can assure you it is bucketing down here, with very loud thunder and lightning. Haven't stepped foot outside apartment today, it's like being back home in Manchester!

Get involved on 606
It's good news for a British rider
supersammy808 on 606: "Millar is now in the virtual maillot jaune. Has he ever actually worn it?"

1315: Over the second climb. Another cat four - the 176m Cote de Tossa de Mar - and Auge is first over, followed by Chavanel and Millar. The peloton follows a little over two minutes later. 55km completed, 125.5km to go.

1310: The weather in Barcelona may scupper race organisers' plans for a spectacular finish. I'd heard rumours of crowd participation and a yellow wave following the riders home.

It's good news for a British rider
A breakaway that has finally put some distance between the leaders and the peloton. Britain's David Millar is part of a threesome that includes Sylvain Chavanel and Stephane Auge - they are about one minute clear as they climb the second category four hill of the day with about 50km gone.

One suspects there were too many big names in that last breakaway party. And if you've still got any doubts about the conditions in Barcelona, BBC Sport's Phil Sheehan has taken a picture of the view from his commentary box.

1250: Another escape party has been reigned in. Britian's David Millar was involved, as was George Hincapie and Oscar Freire. And Carlos Sastre has been involved in a minor incident. Nothing to see here though as they approach the 50km mark.

1237: Zabriskie's lead was indeed short-lived as the riders went over the first climb of the day, the category four Cote de Sant Feliu de Guixols, a couple of minutes ago and he wasn't first over. Katusha's Alexandre Botcharov took that honour, and the three points, with Zabriskie second and Euskaltel's Amets Txurruka third. 32km down.

1235: Andy (see 1230) - the oracle sitting to my left suggests it could be 1994 when Chris Boardman won the prologue in Lille and Sean Yates took stage six.

1233: What did I tell you about the Garmin boys? David Zabriskie is the first to have a go - he puts a bit of daylight between himself and the peloton, but looks set to be caught.

1231: The whole bunch is still together through 25km. No real attempts at a breakaway either. Surely not everyone is saving themselves for the Pyrenees tomorrow?

Text in your views on 81111
From Andy, via text on 81111: "When was last time we had two Brits in the top 10 this far into the Tour?" Over to you...

Get involved on 606
Sir_Blitzo on 606: "I think you're underestimating our Dutch hope a bit (see 1156). He wasn't just there to help Menchov, we were hoping for a good final standing in his first Tour as well. (He's been brought gently for a reason after all). Robert Gesink's the biggest talent we've had in a LONG time, except for maybe Lars Boom, who's a freak in anyone's book."

The sun is out
The rain may be falling in Barcelona, but further north on the outskirts of Girona, the temperature is in the mid 20s with less of a breeze than we had yesterday, although a bit cloudy - wonder if anyone has warned them of what to expect?! Still no break though through the first dozen or so kilometres.

Get involved on 606
canyouridetandem on 606: "Does anyone think Lancelot will try to get into yellow today as I dont think that he has the legs for the mountains?"

Text in your views on 81111
From Mat in Sheffield, via text on 81111: "I once rode up the hill to the Olympic stadium in Barcelona on my BMX, and if these machines can't sprint up there then I might enter the Tour next year on a Raleigh Burner."

It's good news for a British rider
Keep your eyes on the Garmin boys today. Seven of their nine riders live in Girona and team boss Matt White has given everyone free reign to do what they want. Although he said British pair Bradley Wiggins and David Millar are probably too high in the general classification, at sixth and 10th respectively, to get involved in a breakaway, but they are free to try if they want.

1206: A steady start to today's race - no early break - probably all struggling to get the wetsuits on in preparation. I got caught in London's monsoon the other day. Went out on my bike with my two-year-old on the back in bright sunshine. Ten minutes later I was heading for home with rain battering the pair of us. He seemed to quite enjoy it. I did not. Never been so wet.

Get involved on 606
Interesting weather update via bcnblue on 606: "Absolutely tipping it down in Barcelona at present and radar shows that's the case for last third of the stage. What ever happens in next few hours there's a good chance of standing water to be dealt with... could change a few tactics."

1200: So, we're down to 177 riders.

1156: A quick update on our Dutch friend Robert Gesink who crashed yesterday. It has been confirmed that he broke his wrist and will take no further part in the race. Sad news for the Rabobank rider who had been tipped to help team-mate Denis Menchov through the mountains.

Text in your views on 81111
From James in London, via text on 81111: "Is there really rain in Barcelona? I thought that the rain in Spain fell mainly in the plain!"

1145: Riders on a slow meander round Girona before the race begins in earnest. And BBC Sport's Chris Bevan is looking in again - he suggested that it's a shame Jimmy Buffet wasn't around for the food chat yesterday.

A celeb has been spotted
Bit of celebrity around the buses this morning. Skil-Shimano's Koen de Kort was delighted to see Dutch football legend Johann Cruyff pop his head in to say hello. Meanwhile, Lance Armstrong's "good buddy Jimmy Buffet" has been around the Astana team. Jimmy who? A country music singer-songwriter, that's who, according to the font of all knowledge who sits to my left (he also told me about yesterday's nudist colony...)

A few of you on the texts and 606 suggesting there's rain in Spain. This is backed up by Columbia's Mick Rogers on Twitter: "Just arrived at the start. I hear on the grapevine that it's raining in Barcelona."

Get involved on 606
cyclonic111 on 606 "I don't think too many of the heavyweight contenders are going to come out to play today. Why risk taking some out of the tank, when the real work starts in the mountains (tomorrow). The stage probably will be won by someone like Andy Schleck, who'll tear off with a couple of ks to go."

BBC Radio 5 Live
The race leaves Girona around 1145 BST and, as ever, we'll have live commentary through this website from Five Live with around 90 minutes of the stage remaining.

1124: That incline at the finish by the way amounts to a climb of just under 60m in the final two kilometres. Including a particularly sharp 500m section just before the final km.

Get involved on 606
ghost_of_cygan on 606: "I fancy a breakaway win, the incline at the finish will probably hinder a lot of the sprinters so I don't see it coming down to a bunch finish."

1116: The Tour rolled into the Catalan region of Spain overnight for today's stage. Girona is the departure town - its first appearance on the Tour - and the riders then head out to the coast and a pedal down the Costa Brava before cutting inland briefly on the way to Barcelona.

Get involved on 606
Interesting stuff from Armstrong and Stapleton in the post-race meetings with the press. What do you make of the comments? Get in touch, as always via text on 81111 or on 606.

Lance Armstrong
And the heat between Astana team-mates Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador upped a couple of degrees with the American saying: "I told Alberto that Wednesday was going to be complicated, so maybe he sees that I know what is going on in the Tour de France."

1100 BST:
Mark Cavendish
Morning all. Here's Columbia team boss Bob Stapleton on stage five: "People seem to be afraid of Mark Cavendish and want us to do the maximum amount of work while they do the minimum and that showed when they didn't quite catch Thomas Voeckler."

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see also
Hushovd overhauls Millar for win
09 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Voeckler wins Tour's fifth stage
08 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Armstrong just misses Tour lead
07 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Superb Cavendish triumphs again
06 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Cavendish storms to stage victory
05 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Tour de France stage two photos
05 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Cancellara wins first Tour stage
04 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Tour de France stage one photos
04 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Tour de France ones to watch
03 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Understanding the Tour de France
03 Jul 09 |  Cycling

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