SUPER-BESSE, France Kim Kirchen became the first Luxembourg rider in 50 years to take the yellow jersey in the Tour de France while Riccardo Ricco of Italy sprinted to a mountaintop victory Thursday in the sixth stage.
Kirchen claimed the overall lead after Stefan Schumacher fell in the final yards. The German had worn the yellow jersey for two days since winning Tuesday's time trial.
Ricco was one second ahead of two top riders Alejandro Valverde of Spain and Cadel Evans of Australia after the 122-mile ride through the peaks of the Massif Central from Aigurande to the ski resort of Super-Besse.
As on Wednesday, three Frenchmen broke away shortly after the start Sylvain Chavanel, in search of the King of the Mountains jersey as best climber, Benoit Vaugrenard and Freddy Bichot. At one point, they led the main pack by more than five minutes.
Chavanel took the two early small climbs, plus the first major climb of the Tour, over the Croix-Morand Pass. He was caught 12 miles from the finish before the final climb, as were the other two, but Chavanel took the polka-dot climber's jersey.
Schumacher rode into the wheel of Kirchen during the jostling at the line and fell. Kirchen managed to remain on his bike and finished fifth.
The last Luxembourg rider to claim the yellow jersey in the Tour was Charly Gaul, the race winner in 1958.