With Froome out, Tour de France heads to Champagne
ARRAS, France (AP) — Tour de France riders are heading toward Champagne country.
The pack has set off on a 194-kilometer (120 mile) Stage 6 on Thursday — a day after defending champion Chris Froome droped out of the race after crashing twice and suffering a wrist injury.
The course from Arras to Reims is mostly flat and should favor a sprint finish, though rainy weather could have an impact.
Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali cemented his overall lead on Wednesday in a mud-splattered run on cobblestones. The Astana team leader was too strong for his main rivals in the absence of Froome: Spaniards Alberto Contador, a two-time Tour champ, and Alejandro Valverde.
Overall, Nibali has a two-second lead over teammate Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark in second. Slovakia’s Peter Sagan is third, 44 seconds back.