The second longest stage. With four 4th-category climbs and plenty of riding on the open plains of Burgundy, it offers arguably the best chance so far for breakaway specialists.
With the first medium mountain to follow the next day, it might even be a breakaway rider who takes the yellow jersey if the overall contenders decide to hold back for stage 7 and the sprinters’ teams have lost the will or energy to chase. Letting a less fancied rider and team take yellow on this stage could be a smart move as they’d do all they can to keep the race together in the days that follow.
Procycling’s favourite to win:
Bbox Bouygues Telecom’s Thomas Voeckler held the yellow jersey for 10 days in 2004 after coming home in a group that finished 12 minutes ahead of the bunch on a stage like this. Winner of a first-week stage last year, the canny Frenchman can spot an opportunity and capitalise on it. He’s been riding well this season but has been luck-less. His Bbox team have won and contended in races where they’ve traditionally been also-rans. Needing a new sponsor for 2011, their riders will have a big X next to stages like this.