Chris Froome
Froome again escaped damage as the Tour was beset with another crash.Getty Images

Chris Froome was inches away from being caught in a late pile-up in a crazy finish to the Tour de France's sixth stage in Le Havre.

The Brit somehow avoided going down in the crash around 900 metres from the finish in the coastal town in Normandy.

But Froome could be back in the yellow jersey as leader Tony Martin did crash and has broken his collarbone, an injury which sees him become the second leader to withdraw from the race.

Martin and Italy's reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali hit the tarmac as Etixx Quick-Step rider Zedenek Stybar took advantage to win the the stage.

The incident happened in the final three kilometres which means everyone gets the same time.

But German rider Martin, nursing his shoulder, crossed the line helped by two Etixx QuickStep team-mates putting his Tour into doubt.

Martin, 30, said: "In these sort of crashes you fall with your full weight and the injuries can me more serious.

"I will have to go for a scan and see what the injury is."

Froome went to Nibali's Astana team bus after the crash to check on the Italian who is understood to have escaped injury.

The focus will be fully on Mark Cavendish in 10 July's stage seven as he looks to end his two-year victory drought on Le Tour in Fougeres.

Cavendish has been beaten by his German rival Andre Greipel in the two sprint battles so far and is now under pressure to show he is still the number one.

The Manxman's Etixx Quick-Step team director, Patrick Lefevere, said: "He has to prove that he's still the fastest sprinter on earth.

"The Tour has so much publicity, he needs to win here, of course. Let's not be silly, he has to win here. First for himself, but for the team, as well.

"The most important thing is to win the first stage, if you win the first, the second becomes easier because after one week, if you don't win, the stress comes.

"Then you start to make little mistakes and you have to avoid this."

If Cavendish, 30, misses out on the 118.3mile blast from Livarot he may have to wait until the final day in Paris two weeks on Sunday for his next, and final, opportunity.