TROYES, France (AP) — On lengthy, principally flat sultry levels like Thursday’s, all Chris Froome and the opposite leaders within the Tour de France need to do is take it simple.

Let the sprinters have their day within the solar and put together for the following mountain levels this weekend.

Till a seaside umbrella floats throughout the pack.

That was the one incident of word amid hours-long stretches of uneventful biking throughout Stage 6, which was received with ease by German sprinter Marcel Kittel.

“There was a little bit of wind and the parasol took off and ended up within the highway,” mentioned Froome, who needed to veer out of the way in which. “That is the Tour.”

In any other case, Froome mentioned, he spent the day chatting with different riders and admiring the views because the peloton rode into champagne nation and thru Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, the hometown of France’s wartime hero and former president, Gen. Charles de Gaulle.

“That is probably the most enjoyable day within the Tour I’ve ever had,” Froome mentioned after 5 hours within the saddle. “I really fairly take pleasure in these lengthy days.”

On the conclusion of the principally flat 216-kilometer (134-mile) leg from Vesoul to Troyes — the race’s second-longest stage — Kittel had little hassle within the dash end, with Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish each now not within the race.

As the opposite contenders bunched collectively on the fitting aspect of the highway, Kittel burst ahead round them on the left and simply created a cushty hole permitting him to rejoice as he crossed the road.

It was Kittel’s second victory on this 12 months’s race and 11th total in his Tour profession.

“I used to be actually assured in my workforce,” Kittel mentioned. “I used to be additionally actually assured in myself right this moment. There was only a second after I broke free and began to go forward.”

Stage four winner Arnaud Demare completed second and Andre Greipel was third.

Sagan, the world champion, was disqualified for elbowing Cavendish to the bottom two days in the past. The autumn resulted in Cavendish, who has 30 Tour wins, abandoning the race with a damaged shoulder.

Kittel mentioned the absence of Cavendish and Sagan has altered the racing in that their groups are now not battling out the dash finishes.

He was repeatedly requested after his win about their absence.

“It is a bit unhappy that it is all about this choice,” he mentioned. “The extent that we now have right here for the sprints continues to be very, very excessive.”

A 3-man breakaway rode out entrance for a lot of the stage. Perrig Quemeneur, Frederik Backaert and Vegard Stake Laengen had been caught by the peloton with three kilometers to go.

Froome remained 12 seconds forward of Sky teammate Geraint Thomas and 14 seconds forward of Fabio Aru of Italy.

Richie Porte in fifth place total and different riders eyeing victory in Paris on July 23 had been merely happy to get the lengthy, scorching stage over with out incident.

“It was such a protracted day. In all probability, you realize, might have had the identical outcome with half the gap however it’s a pleasant one to get achieved,” Porte mentioned.

On such days, Porte mentioned, “there’s nothing to realize however there’s a lot to lose. … It was fairly a frantic end.”

The Tour stays in Troyes for the beginning of Stage 7 on Friday, a 213.5-kilometer (133-mile) leg that once more units up nicely for sprinters with a end within the Burgundy wine city of Nuits-Saint-Georges.

Friday is “one other lengthy day and I believe the intention of that’s simply to sap the power a bit,” Porte mentioned. “They certain are lengthy days.”

Copyright 2017 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.