Reims: Andre Greipel returned to form in style by sprinting to victory in Thursday's sixth stage of the Tour de France.
The German continued his country's impressive Tour form by winning the 194km stage from Arras to Reims. Compatriot Marcel Kittel had won three of the first four stages.
Norway's Alexander Kristoff was second with Samuel Dumoulin of France third. Race leader Vincenzo Nibali kept hold of the yellow jersey as he and the rest of the overall contenders finished safely in a reduced peloton.
An early four-man breakaway failed to ignite a stage that had a sense of anti-climax following the drama of Wednesday's cobbled stage.
Things only got heated in the final 10km, after the escapees had been caught, when the pace rose and crosswinds contributed to a split in the peloton.
French champion Arnaud Demare was caught out, as well as his compatriot Thibaut Pinot, the top French hope in the general classification.
Having dominated the three previous sprints for stage wins, Kittel seemed to be suffering the effects of a fall on Wednesday while his team were strangely missing from the front of the peloton.
Before the final kilometre he had dropped out of the reckoning.
Without Kittel it was anyone's sprint to win but Greipel, hitherto out of sorts in the sprints, powered through to win his sixth Tour stage.