The German champion collected his sixth career Tour stage victory in Champagne country and the celebrated capital of many French kings by outpacing Norway's
At the end of the 194-kilometer (120-mile) ride from Arras to Reims, Greipel burst out of the pack with less than 300 meters left, and clenched his fists, shouting, at the finish. His job was made a bit easier because Marcel Kittel, a fellow German who has won three stages and dominated the sprint finishes, got a flat tire right before the end.
"I had really good punch today, I am really happy," said Greipel, the Lotto Belisol rider who turns 32 next Wednesday. "Of course I'm not looking at Kittel. I don't need to hide. I am still one of the fastest in the bunch.
"There was a lot of pressure on us, on my shoulders," for a win, he added. "It's a big relief for us."
The top of the standings didn't change, as most of the contenders for victory in the three-week race trailed close behind the muscular Greipel. He was not a challenger for the overall title; like many sprinters, he does not fare well on the climbs that are crucial to winning in Paris. He's 37 1 2 minutes behind Nibali.
Overall, Nibali has a two-second lead over teammate
Among other possible contenders,
Porte, too, lost a teammate: Spanish veteran
"It was such a stressful day — horrible actually," Porte said. "The guys were around me all day, and while we lost Xabi Zandio to the crash, the rest of us kept out of trouble and we live to fight another day."
American Andrew Talansky, winner of the Criterium du Dauphine last month, was ninth 2:05 back overall. Spaniard Alejandro Valverde was 10th, 2:11 back, and compatriot Contador was in 18th, 2:37 behind.
Nibali said that while Froome's out, "I'm still afraid of Contador," and he expects the Spaniard and other yellow jersey aspirants to attack when the race enters the eastern Vosges mountains on Saturday — culminating with an tough uphill finish in Monday's Stage 10.
"It's true that you can lose a lot of energy defending the yellow jersey, but I've been riding well," Nibali said through a translator. "It's a heavy task to wear it … (but) to have the jersey could be a little advantage in the coming stages. We'll take it day by day."
With the Tour giving a nod to 100 years since the start of