Tour de France: Andre Greipel wins stage five as Mark Cavendish wilts
Chris Froome remains 12 seconds down on leader Tony Martin overall
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 08/07/15 8:54pm
Mark Cavendish had to settle for third place as Andre Greipel claimed his second win of this year’s Tour de France on stage five and Tony Martin retained the overall race lead.
In a repeat of Sunday’s second stage, Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) launched an early sprint with 300m to go and faded as Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) powered past in the last 100m.
Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step) followed in the peloton to maintain his 12-second lead at the top of the general classification over second-placed Chris Froome (Team Sky), who in turn stays 13 seconds ahead of third-placed Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).
Froome’s other closest rivals for overall victory also survived a wet and crash-strewn day to cross the line in the main bunch, meaning the Briton remains 36 seconds ahead of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), 1min 38sec in front of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and 1min 56sec up on Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
There was bad news for Team Sky, however, as Richie Porte was caught on the wrong side of a split in the peloton midway through the stage and lost more than 14 minutes, which means that should anything happen to Froome, the Australian will not be in a position to take over as team leader, as he did last year.
Greipel said: "I've very happy to have achieved so many victories in my career at the Tour de France. It's just a shame I can't stand up there with the whole team on the podium. I'm very happy having won two stages already. It's very nice."
Stage five took the riders 189.5km from Amiens to Arras in northern France and although the route was flat, rain and the threat of crosswinds made for a stressful day in the peloton.
While the winds never fully materialised, the wet roads caused no fewer than five crashes throughout the day, the first of which claimed a big-name victim in Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), who was forced to abandon the race with his injuries.
All of the other sprinters and general classification contenders safely made it to the closing kilometres and it was Cavendish’s Etixx – Quick-Step team that led the bunch into the last 1,000m.
The Manxman had three team-mates in front of him, but they were then swamped by other teams and it was Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) who ignited the sprint by accelerating with 350m to go.
Although now detached from his team, Cavendish was well-placed but bizarrely opted to set off in pursuit of Kristoff and Demare rather than wait, and he paid the price when he ran out of steam in the last 100m.
Greipel, on the other hand, showed more patience and was rewarded with the eighth Tour stage win of his career, while Sagan also surged through to take second place. The win extended Greipel's lead of the points classification to 32 points over Sagan. Cavendish is 65 points back in fourth.
The Tour continues on Thursday with a 191.5km rolling stage from Abbeville to Le Havre. Find out more about it here.
Stage five result
1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal, 4:39:00
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo, same time
3 Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step, st
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha, st
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka, st
6 John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin, st
7 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr, st
8 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar, st
9 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
10 Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, st
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step, 17:19:26
2 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +12secs
3 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, +25
4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal, +38
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo, +39
6 Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, +40
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step, +46
8 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, +48
9 Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky, +1:15
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step, +1:16
13 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +1:50
17 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +2:08