Greg Henderson does perfect job for team
Greg Henderson did his job perfectly and team-mate André Greipel won the sixth stage of the Tour de France.
Dunedin's Henderson, Greipel's lead-out man, set up the German well in the final metres to out-sprint green jersey holder Peter Sagan (Slovakia), Marcel Kittel (Germany) and Mark Cavendish (Britain).
Cavendish, who won his 24th stage yesterday, was involved in a crash late in the 176.5km flat ride from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier, but still put himself in contention for win number 25 only to go out too early.
As Greipel crossed the line for his fifth Tour stage win, the familiar picture of Henderson sitting up in the background, hands raised like Greipel, could be seen.
The official Tour de France website labelled Greipel's team-mates' work as ''the perfect lead-out''.
Henderson later tweeted the riders had reached 74km/h in a hectic final kilometre.
He added: ''Today we made no mistakes. What a beautiful feeling. Dedicated to @vdb_jurgen. Sorry u couldn't be there bro. Perfectly executed @Lotto_Belisol.''
His dedication was to team-mate Jurgen Van den Broeck who was forced to withdraw from the race through injury after a crash yesterday.
Greipel moves into second in the sprinter's green jersey race behind Sagan, but ahead of Cavendish.
''I've known for long we have a great team, but today's lead out to the sprint was fantastic,'' Greipel told his team Lotto-Belisol website.
''Lars Bak and Frederik Willems worked very hard during the race to keep us constantly in the front. The pace was set up by Adam Hansen, so we could go into the final km with three riders: Marcel Sieberg, Jürgen Roelandts and Greg Henderson. It's never easy to succeed a sprint, but today I was guided to the finish in a perfect way.''
Henderson finished 16th in the stage and moved up to 141st overall. Fellow Kiwi Jack Bauer was 20th on the stage, just five seconds behind the leading group and on the same time as previous Tour leader, Aussie Simon Gerrans.
However, because Gerrans and 108 other riders fell away from the leading group of 16, their official time was five seconds more forcing Gerrans to hand over the yellow jersey.
His Orica-GreenEdge team didn't lose it all together though, it now sits on the back of Gerrans' team-mate, South African Daryl Impey.
Impey, 28, became the first rider from Africa to lead the Tour de France, but after six of 21 stages it is still tight.
Seven riders are within eight seconds of Impey including race favourite Chris Froome while there are still 21 riders within 30-seconds of the race lead including Henderson's team-mate
Adam Hansen and Bauer's team-mates Andrew Talansky, Ryder Hesjedal, Daniel Martin and Thomas Danielson.
- © Fairfax NZ News