Martin defends yellow on 6th stage of Tour
LE HAVRE, France (AP) The latest from the sixth stage of the Tour de France (all times local):
Fulfilling ''his childhood dream,'' Daniel Teklehaimanot became the first African rider to claim the polka-dot jersey for top climber at the Tour de France on Thursday.
Teklehaimanot, one of the two riders from Eritrea competing in cycling's biggest race, took the King of the Mountains shirt from Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez after taking part in a three-man breakaway.
The lanky Teklehaimanot, who rides for the South-African MTN-Qhubeka team, sprinted to the summit of the three small climbs of Thursday's stage, earning enough points to overtake Rodriguez.
''I can't believe it. That was my childhood dream to get the polka dot jersey at the Tour de France,'' he said. '' This is a day I will never forget. It is a big step for African cycling. We are trying to give 5,000 bicycles to African students. Being on the podium will help our project and I want to help make a difference for my African people.''
Teklehaimanot's performance was praised by Kenyan-born Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour winner, who wrote on Twitter: ''big day for African cycling!''
Race leader Tony Martin's Etixx-Quick Step team says he has withdrawn from the Tour de France because of his broken collarbone
Team spokseman Alessandro Tegner told The Associated Press by telephone: ''I'm with him right now, he is out of the race.''
Martin is the second leader to pull out of the race this year after Fabian Cancellara, who broke two vertebrae in his lower back in Monday's crash-marred third stage.
Tony Martin has confirmed that he suffered a broken collarbone in the late crash during the sixth stage of the Tour de France.
''Collarbone is broken. We will discuss further steps,'' said Martin, who is unlikely to be on the starting line of Friday's seventh stage.
If Martin withdraws from the race, 2013 Tour champion Chris Froome will take the yellow jersey but could decide not to wear it as a mark of respect for the injured German rider.
Froome has already worn it for one day earlier in the race.
Riding at the front of the pack, two members of cycling's ''Fab Four'' hit the ground after race leader Tony Martin caused the crash in the finale of the sixth stage of the Tour de France.
Colombian climber Nairo Quintana reached the finish with his right arm bloodied, with defending champion Vincenzo Nibali also going down.
''It's a superficial knock, and I hope the elbow is all right tomorrow,'' Quintana said. ''I'm fine right now. I'm not noticing anything but I hope I'll be ok.''
Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour champion who was also involved but did not fall, took to Twitter to make clear he was not responsible for the pile-up, adding that he ''managed to get through with minor graze to the knee.''
Tony Martin put on an ashen-faced on the podium as he received another yellow jersey from race organizers.
Martin fell at slow speed in an uphill section of the road near the finish, injuring his left arm.
The German rider says ''when you are not going very fast, you fall with your whole body weight. Hopefully we will avoid the worse and I will be able to start tomorrow.''
Martin will undergo X-rays to determine the extent of the injury.
Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, who was also involved in the crash, said ''I hit my shoulder and leg, it's always problematic when you fall.''
Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali crashed in the final kilometer of the 6th stage of the Tour de France won by Zdenek Stybar of Czech Republic.
Nibali hit the tarmac after race leader Tony Martin fell in front of him. Martin stayed on the ground for a while before making it to the finish line surrounded by his teammates, with his left arm folded close to his chest.
Another favorite, Colombian Nairo Quintana, was also involved in the pile-up. Both Quintana and Nibali got back on their bikes and completed the stage. They will be credited the same time as the main pack as the crash happened within the final 3 kilometers.
After spending most of the day at the front of the race, Daniel Teklehaimanot has earned the right to wear the best-climber's polka-dot jersey at the Tour de France.
The Eritrean rider from MTN-Qhubeka cyclist gave the thumbs up as he claimed a third point in the King of the Mountains classification with a sprint to the summit of the Cote du Tilleul, with 29.5-kilometer left before the finish in Le Havre.
Teklehaimanot, who took the jersey from Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez, is not expected to keep it once the race reaches the high mountains next week.
Angered by the late testing at the Tour de France, FDJ team doctor Gerard Guillaume says serious criminals are less hassled than riders at cycling's biggest race.
After three riders from the French outfit were targeted by anti-doping tests after 11 p.m. on Wednesday night, Guillaume said cyclists should be treated in a more respectful way and, when it comes to evening time, should be given more time to recover from their intense efforts on the road.
''Even if the sport has made many mistakes in the past, I think it's going somewhat too far,'' Guillaume said on French TV. ''The first controls of the day took place at 6 a.m. Let me remind you that there are no (police control) for members of criminal organization before 6 a.m. in France. I guarantee you that it would make the front page of L'Equipe newspaper if it happened in football.''
Following the publication of Cycling Independent Reform Commission's report into the sport's doping culture, the UCI has introduced tougher anti-doping measures which include the possibility of waking up athletes in the middle of the night for testing.
Eritrean rider Daniel Teklehaimanot has scored his first points in the battle for the King of the Mountains crown.
Teklehaimanot won the sprint at the top of the Cote de Pourville-sur-Mer after securing his first point at the Cote de Dieppe to move level with Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez, who is currently wearing the best climber's polka-dot jersey.
Teklehaimanot, who won the mountain classification at the Criterium du Dauphine, has already made history at the Tour as the first rider from Eritrea to compete in the three-week race when he launched the opening time trial off in the streets of Utrecht last weekend.
The MTN-Qhubeka rider is part of a three-man breakaway that escaped after 5 kilometers Thursday en route to Le Havre, alongside Perrig Quemeneur and Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis). They currently hold a lead of 4 minutes and 39 seconds over the main pack.
German rider Tony Martin defends the yellow jersey as riders set off on the sixth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday.
Martin safely protected the leader's jersey on a rainy fifth stage that featured another big crash, and which saw Martin's countryman Andre Greipel sealing a second stage win in a sprint finish.
Stage 6 is a 191.5-kilometer route starting from Abbeville and finishing in Le Havre, France's biggest commercial port.
It once again favors sprinters like Greipel, who will be eyeing a ninth career Tour stage win.
Martin leads British rider Chris Froome by 12 seconds and Tejay Van Garderen by 25.