Cavendish Wins Stage 5 of Tour de France 2013
Not long after the start, Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) attacked, and Yukiya Arashiro and Kevin Reza (both from Europcar), Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun), and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) sallied off of the front. The peloton did not chase, and the escapees’ advantage ballooned to 12:45 at 37 km. Team GreenEdge rode tempo at the front, and the gap between the bunch and the break narrowed to 9:35 at 102.5 km.
With 100 km left, Lotto-Belisol and Argos-Shimano went to the front on behalf of their sprinters, and the gap narrowed further. With 75 km left, the six leaders were about seven and a half minutes ahead of the bunch.
With 53 km remaining, De Gendt attacked, and Arashio and Lutsenko followed immediately, with Reza joining the trio later. With 20 km to go, the quartet’s lead was down to 2:00.
On the uncategorized Col de la Gineste (216 km), a crash occurred. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano), and about 15 other riders hit the deck. All remounted their bikes, but Vande Velde has a neck injury and might not start Stage 6. With 15 km remaining, 1:10 separated the bunch from the break.
At the summit of the Gineste, the break led the bunch by 0:30. Lutsenko attacked, and Reza joined him. With seven km to go, the pair led the bunch, which Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Cannondale, and Lotto-Belisol led, by 0:14. Three km later, the peloton reeled them in.
With two km left, Omega Pharma-Quick Step took over at the front, but Lotto-Belisol challenged. With 200 m remaining, just as Cavendish launched his sprint, a large crash occurred. A handful of riders contested the sprint, which the Manxman won easily. The mishap involved or delayed most of the field.
According to Cavendish, the stage was relatively easy because other teams chased. “Team GreenEDGE did the chasing today,” he said, “which was nice. For once, we could sit behind and save it for the end. Jerome Pineau told me about the final climb. I knew it was always going to be difficult. When I turned left, I immediately recognized it from one of my first races as a professional. I knew exactly what climb it was as soon as I hit it heading into Marseille, and luckily I held on and I had the whole team around me to take me to the last kilometer.
"We never really caught the break until the last minute, so we really had to take off. Sylvain Chavanel, Tony Martin, Michal Kwiatkowski, and Peter Velits chased down the break. We had to use our train up early to catch them back. You could see how committed everybody was today for the sprint and the win. Matteo Trentin went in the final and he went really, really well. He held off two guys going on the right and took a massive turn into the last corner with Gert Steegmans on his wheel. Steegmans stayed patient and he went so fast, I have to say I didn't even really have to accelerate off his wheel. I just carried on the speed he took me to and only for the last 250 meters and that was it. We won. I'm super, super happy with the win today. The guys worked exactly like they wanted to the whole stage. We started the sprinting off just like we did in the Giro d'Italia. Yesterday was frustrating. We were less than a second from the stage win. Now we can celebrate, we've got good morale in the team and we boosted it even more today."
In the overall, Gerrans leads teammates Daryl Impey and Michael Albasini. Stage 6 should be another stage that does not change the general classification. The 176.5-km run from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier will be flat, and the sprinters should control it. Will Cavendish win again? Will Kittel or Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) challenge him? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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