If you watched the finish of Stage 5 of the Tour de France today, you might have caught yourself shouting, “Don’t turn around… just go!”
That’s what I yelled as the four-man breakaway – Mathieu Ladagnous (FDJ Big Mat), Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel), Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis) and Julien Simon (Saur Sojasun) — kept checking behind them for the closing peloton as they came within about 100 yards of the finish.
They’d been out front of the122-mile race from Rouen to Saint Quentin all day, but now their margin had been erased and the peloton was bearing down.
The momentum of the peloton was so great, however, that when they were passed, the four looked like they were friends out for a leisurely Sunday ride — just 100 yards from the finish.
Winning Stage 5 on Wednesday was German Andre Greipel (Lotto), celebrating his second straight victory of this year’s Tour. He passed Matt Goss (Orica GreenEdge), who finished second. Mark Cavendish finished in 4th, fading on the last slope.
As usual, the finish was marred by a crash. This time, it looked like Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) was leaning into a rider and went down first. That caused a chain reaction pile-up.
[Reviewing this a few days later, it turns out Farrar was the one knocked down. Here's how the incident is described at CyclingNews.com:
"Garmin-Sharp's Tyler Farrar, his arm dripping blood after being taken down in a squeeze between Tom Veelers (Argos-Shimano) and a Lampre rider, was furious following his second major spill in as many days. He attempted to enter the Argos team bus to have it out with Veelers, but was pulled away by team staff.
Veelers explained via the team's press release: "Tyler wanted to get in the wheel of Koen de Kort, but I was already there. He didn't respect my train, but that's his problem. I get why he’s upset, because a crash is never very pleasant.' "]
The Wenatchee, Washington, sprinter won the Tour de France stage on July 4 last year, and hasn’t won since. At this year’s Tour, it seems he finds himself on the deck while the other racers are finishing. Let’s hope he’s OK.
Meanwhile, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack) continues to benefit from winning the yellow jersey in the prologue as he remains the overall leader. Washington native Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) is in fourth place and still holds the best young rider’s jersey.
Top 10 overall
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan
2 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling – 7 seconds behind
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep - same
4 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team – 10 seconds
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling – 11 seconds
6 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team – 13 seconds
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team – 17 seconds
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale – 18 seconds
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Sharp – 18 seconds
10 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan – 19 seconds