With this stage falling on the 4th July the American riders in the peloton would have been hoping for a double reason to celebrate but sadly it was not to be. A 3 man break comprising of Yukiya Arashiro of Europcar, Anthony Delaplace of Saur-Sojasun and David Moncoutie of Cofidis spent much of the day out front but around the 27km from the finish mark the big teams put down the hammer at the front of the peloton and brought the break away group within reach.
As the line approached the big teams started to line up with their sprinters. Chavanel and Gilbert tried to shake things up with a late break 7km from the finish but were quickly tracked down.
As the peloton came within 3.5km from the finish there was a huge crash by Robbie Hunter which took out Mark Cavendish and Bernhard Eisel among others. Cavendish may have avoided the tarmac if he had a team looking after him but this is the price he knew he was going to have to pay at this year’s Tour.
Lampre looked to set up Petacchi in the final couple of k with Lotto Belisol creating a near perfect lead out for Greipel. Sagan tried to make a late burst round the outside but it was the gurn of Greipel who had the best lead out and sprinted to victory for the first time in this year’s Tour. Many of the race leaders managed to avoid the crash with the standings staying unchanged with Cancellara remaining in yellow with Wiggins still 7 seconds behind.
1. Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol Team)
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre – ISD)
3. Tom Veelers (Argos-Shimano)
Stage 5 Rouen – Saint-Quentin (196km Flat Stage)
Again wind could play a major part in this stage. You won’t be seeing any deep section here. The direction of the wind will have a big impact on this part of the race. 196km of head winds would not be ideal, neither would a westerly cross wind off the coast. The route is relatively straight in the run up to Saint-Quentin so this could be a good opportunity for a team to gain some time for their GC. A little rise at the end of the stage should lead to an exciting finish if any breakaway groups make it that far but generally it should be another day for the sprinters. Expect high average speeds and some lovely scenic views…not that that riders will be able to take them in.
TdF tipple recommendation
We’re not quite in the Champagne region just yet so you’ll have to wait a little longer. As we’re still in an area of apple orchids we recommended a nice cool cider, or “cidre” if you’re on the continent. Add some ice if it’s particularly hot to create the perfect addition to the viewing of any Tour coverage.
One’s to watch
Another flat stage means the sprinters will be flexing their quads in the run up to the line. After his crash yesterday Cav will be extra motivated to win this stage. As we’ve seen in the past he doesn’t like to loose and if he get’s over yesterday’s strop he will hopefully be firing on all cylinders!
Nutrition has always been an important part of cycling and here’s a great shot from the 1984 Tour showing riders of the pro peloton stocking up on fruit for the ride ahead.
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