Cycle//Tour de France
by Jonathan Davies
Yellow jersey holder Tony Martin has been forced to abandon the Tour de France after breaking his collarabone in a crash less than 1km away from the end of stage six.
As his Etixx-Quick-Step teammate Zdenek Stybar raced away to claim the stage victory, Martin appeared to move sharply to his right and into a Europcar rider. That created a domino effect, taking last year's winner Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana with them. Chris Froome narrowly escaped a fall after colliding with Nibali. The crash came inside the final kilometre which meant the riders were given the same time.
Martin, in obvious discomfort holding his arm close to his chest, was helped across the link by teammates in the hope that he would be able to start stage seven. But team doctor Helge Riepenhof said the "collarbone is in lots of pieces".
He said: “One of the pieces came through the skin, which means it’s an open fracture. Therefore, even if it was Tony’s wish to start tomorrow, I have to say he is not allowed to.
“He needs surgery straight away, and that is why we are going to the hospital now. We will fix the collarbone there. He is already on antibiotics. It’s a serious injury, and that is why we can’t risk anything and why he cannot be at the start tomorrow.”
Martin's withdrawal from the race means Chris Froome regains the yellow jersey, which he may not have wanted. Having lost the jersey to Martin after stage four, Froome said he could see the benefits of not having the defend the lead.
Away from Martin's crash, stage six also saw one of the most heartwarming moments we're likely to see of this year's Tour. Already a part of history by riding for MTN-Qhubeka, the first African team to take part in the Tour de France, Daniel Teklehaimanot realised a life-long dream by winning all three of the stage's climbs to take the polka dot jersey.
"I'm really happy about what happened today. I can't believe it," he told the official Tour de France website.
"That was my childhood dream, to get the polka dot jersey at the Tour de France. I was excited about having it just for one day.
"After I scored two points, I was nervous that I wouldn't take one more, otherwise I would be left with nothing."
Classification after stage 6
1 - Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step) - 22h 13' 14" (abandon)
2 - Chris Froome (Team Sky) - +12"
3 - Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) - +25"
4 - Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) - +38"
5 - Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo) - +39"
6 - Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) - +40"
7 - Rigoberto Uran Uran (Etixx-Quick-Step) - +46"
8 - Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) - +48"
9 - Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) - +1' 15"
10 - Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick-Step) - 01' 16"
13 - Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) - +1' 50"
16 - Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) - +2' 03"
17 - Nairo Quintana (Movistar) - +2' 08"
21 - Romain Bardet (AG2R) - +3' 06"
30 - Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) - +6' 30"