Date: Thursday July 7
Distance: 220 km
After the previous day’s cobbles, a bruised and battered peloton will set off from Binche, Belgium – the third of four countries the race will visit – for a day that starts out in the Ardennes. Soon they traverse back into France, and after a slog of more than 200 km, the bunch will arrive at the third category Côte de Pulventeux – 800 metres with an average gradient of 12.3% – with just 6 km remaining until the line. The finish in Longwy, up the Côte des Religieuses (1.6 km, 5.8%), should also see fireworks. It’s a simply tantalising finale.
Who will win stage 6?
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl will be hopeful of righting a poor spring campaign (which was somewhat saved by Remco Evenepoel in Liège) with victory when the Tour visits its home country. The likes of Matej Mohorič and Dylan Teuns will also be stage-hunting for Bahrain Victorious, while Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux come closest to a home race on stage 6, Binche being home to title sponsor Wanty. After a desperately needed Israel-Premier Tech victory on stage 5, could Michael Woods or Jakob Fuglsang capitalise on the high morale and take back-to-back wins for the team?
After the cobbles a day before and La Super Planche des Belles Filles the day after, stage 6 is the likeliest so far that a break makes it to the line, so it will depend on who makes that selection. Groupama-FDJ’s Valentin Madouas? Trek-Segafredo’s Toms Skujins? Ag2r Citroën’s Benoît Cosnefroy? Should be a corker.