Tour de France 2014: Marcel Kittel can enjoy a drop of Champagne on stage six
After the sound and fury of the cobbles of stage five, it is back to more sedate ground for a flat run into the heart of Champagne country.
There are just two fourth-category climbs so the overall race contenders should be content to sit back and watch the fireworks explode ahead of them. While the stage is likely to finish in a bunch sprint, the threat of crosswinds and some tricky bends near the end will give faint hope to the inevitable plucky breakaway.
It is a forlorn hope, though, with Marcel Kittel around. Now that Mark Cavendish is a distant memory, the way appears clear for Kittel.
Though he faced more competition than he has been used to on stage four from Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Démare, it is clear that the German is several bike lengths ahead of his rivals. Add in the fact that his lead-out train is the best in the race and it becomes hard to look past him for yet another win.
Reims has hosted two Tour de France stage finishes, in 2002 and 2010, and the winners, Robbie McEwen and Alessandro Petacchi, each went on to claim the green sprinter’s jersey in Paris. But with Kittel so dominant in the sprints and Peter Sagan seemingly content to follow in second to secure the points competition, expect that pattern to be broken this year.
Reims is not just a sprinter’s paradise, however. In 1958 the city held the inaugural women’s road World Championships, won by the Luxembourger Elsy Jacobs.
The real Champagne will be on ice until Paris. This is a day for the yellow jersey to hide from trouble.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
Diego Costa injury: Chelsea striker a doubt for Everton match after suffering muscle injury
Arsenal vs Besiktas player ratings: Alexis Sanchez? Jack Wilshere? Mesut Ozil? Who was the star man at the Emirates Stadium?
Champions League draw: Liverpool meet Real Madrid, but should they fear facing the reigning champions?
William Carvalho to Manchester United: Midfielder on the cards for Louis van Gaal after Arturo Vidal doubts grow
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
- 5 Friends reunion: Jennifer Anniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...
£600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...