Tour de France: Greipel feeling bubbly after Champagne success

Germany's Andre Greipel, left, sprints towards the finish line in the sixth stage of the Tour de France
Germany's Andre Greipel, left, sprints towards the finish line in the sixth stage of the Tour de France
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Andre Greipel believes he answered his critics after extending Germany’s Tour de France sprint supremacy with victory in Champagne country on Thursday.

The 194-km sixth stage from Arras to Reims took place on wet roads, with crashes accounting for a number of riders. The Giant-Shimano team of Marcel Kittel were conspicuous by their absence in the closing stages until it emerged the winner of stages one, three and four had a problem and would not contend the sprint.

It was Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), left out of position in the first three sprints of the Tour, who benefited, the German champion finishing arms aloft for the sixth Tour stage win of his career.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was second, with Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r La Mondiale) third, while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) finished safely in the pack to retain the race leader’s yellow jersey he claimed on stage two in Sheffield.

Greipel said: “I felt a lot of pressure after the first few stages but finally we have a victory. It’s a good answer from Lotto-Belisol to the critics.

The Tour now moves on to the 234.5km stage seven from Epernay to Nancy