PETER SAGAN of Slovakia earned his third win in seven days, ruling Stage Six in another crash-marred race in the Tour de France.
Sagan avoided the big spill that involved over 20 riders, including most of the US Garmin Sharp team, with still some 16 miles to go in the 129-mile ride from Epernay to Metz. The pack was said to be riding at least 43 kilometer per hour when a big part of it crashed.
A first crash involving at least 20 riders occurred 22 miles into the stage.
At least six riders will no longer rejoin the race, including Garmin’s Tom Danielson, who suffered hip, collarbone and elbow injuries.
Twenty seven riders were injured during the race, with Wouter Poels of Vacansoleil, Mikel Astarloza of Eustaltel-Euskadi and Davide Vigano of Lampre also abandoning the Tour.
Three-time world champion Oscar Freire had a broken rib and has also withdrawn, as did Maarten Wynants, who suffered two broken ribs and had a punctured lung.
Overall leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland avoided the crash and retained the yellow jersey, while two other top contenders Bradley Wiggins and last year’s champion Cadel Evans also avoided the spill.