Le Tour de France 2016 kicked off last Saturday with stage one and the 'Grand Depart' being hosted by the stunning island community of Le Mont Saint Michel.
A dramatic first stage saw one of the favourites for the overall classifications, Alberto Contador, crash 107km into the race and British sprinter, Mark Cavendish, claim his 27th stage victory at the Tour de France. Miraculously Contador finished the race and has continued to battle through this week, albeit with some serious bruising and a look of pain on his face. After stage six Contador sits in 25th position, 1m 21s behind his GC rivals.
Mark Cavendish has gone on to take two more stage wins, on stage three and again yesterday on stage six. Now totalling a magnificent 29 stage victories in the Tour de France, passing Bernard Hinault in total number of stage victories and taking second place behind Eddy Merckx who won 34 stages during his career.
Stage five saw a breakaway rider take the victory with Greg Van Avermaet taking not only the stage win but the yellow jersey in the process. He dropped the last of his breakaway companions with 17km to go and won with a 2m 34s margin over the second place rider and 5m 7s over the rest of the peloton.
Today on stage seven the race heads into the Pyrenees with the first official mountain stage, L'Isle-Jourdain to Lac de Payolle. Taking in only one category one climb, the Col d'Aspin, right at the end of the day just before a steep descent to the lake and the finish line, the main GC riders should be taking this stage easy. With a downhill finish and two tough days ahead the main contenders will be looking for a safe finish. Tipped to be a stage for the British rider Steve Cummings, we will need to wait and see what the day holds.
At the start of stage seven the jersey holders are:
- Yellow jersey (maillot jaune) - Greg Van Avermaet
- Green jersey (maillot vert) - Mark Cavendish
- Polkadot jersey (maillot a pois rouge) - Thomas de Gendt
- White jersey (maillot blanc) - Julian Alaphilippe
With week one nearly behind us Le Tour pedals ever forward towards Spain, Andora, Provence and eventually the Swiss and French Alps, and even more spectacular cycling.