Andre Greipel wins sixth stage of Tour de France

Andre Greipel wins sixth stage of Tour de France
Germany's Andre Greipel celebrates as he crosses the finish line. (Lionel Bonaventure / AFP/Getty Images)
Andre Greipel

of Germany won the sixth stage of the

Tour de France

in a sprint as the pack entered Champagne country, and

Vincenzo Nibali

of Italy retained the yellow jersey on Thursday at Reims, France.

The German champion collected his sixth career Tour stage victory by outpacing Norway's

Alexander Kristoff

in second and France's

Samuel Dumoulin

in third at the end of the 194-kilometer (120-mile) ride from Arras to Reims.

The peloton faced intermittent drizzle over the mostly flat course, which was well suited for sprinters.

The top 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.

Overall, Nibali has a two-second lead over teammate

Jakob Fuglsang

of Denmark.

Peter Sagan

of Slovakia was third, 44 seconds back.

Two-time Tour champion Alberto Contador, a day after losing about 2 1/2 minutes to Nibali, was dealt another setback on Thursday: His Saxo-Tinkoff teammate

Jesus Hernandez

dropped out after a crash.

The race got its biggest surprise on Wednesday after defending champion Chris Froome, carrying from an injured wrist, dropped out of the race after crashing twice.