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Ricco takes Tour de France sixth stage
July 10, 2008 22:02 IST
Italian Riccardo Ricco won the sixth stage of the Tour de France [Images] on Thursday while Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen seized the overall leader's yellow jersey.
The Giro d'Italia runner-up, also known as "The Cobra", attacked in the final metres of a category-two climb to Super-Besse to beat Spain's Alejandro Valverde and Australian Cadel Evans, second and third respectively.
Team Columbia's Kirchen took fifth place to become the first Luxembourg rider since Charly Gaul in 1958 to wear the yellow jersey after German Stefan Schumacher crashed with some 500 metres to go.
The Gerolsteiner rider, who had taken the coveted jersey with victory in Tuesday's time trial, said he hit Kirchen's wheel before falling.
After 195.5 kms from Aigurande, he crossed the line with a 32-second deficit and dropped to third in the overall standings 16 seconds behind Kirchen.
Evans lies second, six seconds off the pace.
Among the favourites who lost time in the finale were Italy's [Images] Damiano Cunego, 32 seconds off the pace, and Luxemburg's Andy Schleck, 13 seconds further behind.
France's Sylvain Chavanel, a winner of the Fleche Brabanconne earlier this year, broke away after six kilometres and was joined by compatriots Freddy Bichot and Benoit Vaugrenard.
The trio opened a five-minute lead over an almost-napping peloton down to 176 men after Frenchman Aurelien Passeron, who collided with a spectator on Wednesday, could not start the stage because of a back injury.
Evans suffered a puncture by the feed zone 80 kms from the finish but was quickly brought by four of his Silence-Lotto team mates towards the front of the bunch led by Schumacher's Gerolsteiner team.
At the start of the ascent of the category-two Col de la Croix Morand, Vaugrenard was dropped from the leading trio and the sprinters, including Britain's Mark Cavendish, started to suffer at the back of the bunch.
As Valverde's Caisse d'Epargne team pushed the pace, the duo's advantage melted and after Chavanel gave up, Bichot was swallowed with eight kms remaining.
Although his attack failed for the second time since the Tour left Brest last Saturday, Chavanel took the polka dot jersey for the best climber.
Garmin-Chipotle's Christian Vande Velde counter attacked and was followed by Italy's Leonardo Piepoli, who was preparing the terrain for Ricco.
The tactics worked as Ricco, who had not been supposed to ride the Tour, pinned his rivals to take his first win on the world's greatest stage race.
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