Tour de France overall race leader Tony Martin has been forced to withdraw from this year’s race after suffering a fractured collarbone.
The German Quick Step rider sustained the injury in a crash in the final kilometre of stage six.
Before the drama spilled onto the tarmac under the red flame the peloton had a little under 191 uneventful kilometres.
Three men broke clear early on but were caught with four kilometres left.
Three more kilometres later the nature of the race changed.
Martin appeared to clip the wheel of Frenchman Bryan Coquard and then veered right taking out title contenders Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana in a domino effect.
Both Nibali and Quintana survived relatively unscathed unlike Martin.
Unaware of the chaos behind Martin’s Quick Step teammate Zdenek Stybar powered out in front with a late solo attack on the uphill finish to Le Havre to claim his his first victory in the Tour de France.
It was a bittersweet day for the QuickStep team as Martin made his Tour exit.
A few hours after the race it was announced Martin had withdrawn from the 102nd edition of cyclings most prestigious event.
2013 champion Chris Froome has now been bumped up to top spot 13 seconds clear of American Tejay Van Garderen.
Friday’s seventh stage takes the peloton over the rolling countryside from Livarot to Fougeres and is perfectly set up for a high-speed sprint finish.