Stage 5 was fairly uneventful for much of the day. Even the Probikekit #WTdF Twitter commentator was finding it tough going. With this 196km stage being one of the flattest at this year’s Tour, it was inevitable that the peloton would just roll along for most of the day after a couple of hard days riding. A four rider breakaway consisting of Julien Simon of Saur-Sojasun, Pablo Urtasun of Euskaltel, Matthieu Ladagnous of FdJ and Jan Ghyselinck of Cofidis sat out front for much of the stage until the big teams decided to reel them back in.
With no wind and not a single climb seen on this stage it was another chance for the sprinters to take the limelight. With 10km to go Team Sky and BMC were dictating the speed of the peloton while also protecting their GC contenders up front. After recent incidents in the last few days the main GC contenders were particularly twitchy about getting caught up in another crash. And then right on cue Tom Veelers and Tyler Farrar collided thus causing another crash within the 3km mark which split the peloton.
Most of the main sprint contenders managed to avoid the chaos apart from Peter Sagan who lost out on points towards the green jersey as a result and Team Saxo Bank rider Jonathan Cantwell who looked in a rather bad way lying flat out on the pavement shortly after. Both riders later completed the race.
The break away group wasn’t caught until the final 500m when Ghyselinck of Confidis made a late break but his tired legs were no match for the sprinters.
Mark Cavendish looked to have more protection during the run up to the finish line but simply ran out of legs before the end. Goss took off first but it was Henderson who set Greipel up for a great position and to take a second stage win in a row.
The GC contenders stayed the same with Cancellara sitting pretty in yellow and Wiggins and Chavanel both 7 seconds behind.
The commotion of the race didn’t end there with Tyler Farrar attempting to confront Tom Veelers on the Argos Shimano bus after the race. Obviously the American sprinter felt he was hard done by.
Stage 5 results:
1 André Greipel (Lotto Belisol Team)
2 Matthew Goss (Orica GreenEdge)
3 Juan José Haedo (Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank)
Stage 6 Epernay – Metz (210km Flat Stage)
Stage 6 sees the pro peloton set off from champagne country in the north of France and head east towards the historic town of Metz. This is the last real chance for the teams to get their sprinters maximum points before the Tour heads to the hills. This will be a good opportunity for some of the smaller teams to gain some more media exposure from an early break so expect to see some early attacks. A total of 40 stage finishes have been seen in Metz with six winners of the Tour de France taking victorious there. It is unlikely we will see the overall winner of the Tour take the stage win here but the finish should prove exciting for the speedsters.
TdF tipple recommendation
Épernay is best known as the principal “entrepôt” for champagne wines, so what better way to enjoy this stage than with a glass of bubbly. But remember not to get too carried away, it’s only those on the podium that can spray champagne all over the place!
One’s to watch
Cav seemed to have run out of legs towards the end of stage 5, showing that he may still be rather shook up after his stage 3 crash. Greipel will be going into this stage off the back of two wins in a row. This added confidence combined with another textbook lead out train by his team mates will lead to another win for the German so the Gorilla is my one to watch for this stage.
Robert Jacquinot stops for a bite to eat during the 1922 Tour.
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