Cavendish Takes Sprint Win at Tour de France
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) has won Stage 5 of the 2011 Tour de France.
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) has won Stage 5 of the 2011 Tour de France. Cavendish took a bunch sprint to win the rolling, 164.5-km run from Carhaix to Cap Frehel in 3:38:32. Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) finished second, and Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) took third. Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) remains the maillot jaune.
The break of the day formed early. In the first five km, Sebastien Turgot (Europcar), Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun), Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar), and Tristan Valentin (Cofidis) escaped. The quartet forged a six-minute lead by 64 km. Behind, Garmin-Cervelo paced the peloton.
Early in the stage, the first crash of the day occurred. Bradley Wiggins (Sky), Lauren Ten Dam (Rabobank), Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Christian Knees (Sky), and others hit the asphalt. Not much later, Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) went down. Both got up quickly and mounted their bikes, although the former had scrapes and bruises.
At about 70 km, a more serious crash took place. Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack), Robert Gesink (Rabobank), and another Rabobank man crashed. Brajkovic suffered a head injury and was taken to a local hospital, and Gesink suffered cuts and bruises. Soon after, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) crashed but was not injured.
Leopard-Trek took over at the front briefly, but Garmin-Cervelo reassumed command. At about 90 km, a photographer's motorbike knocked down Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank) and dragged his bicycle 200 m up the road. Sørensen was uninjured, and the photographer had his Tour de France press pass revoked.
Astana took over at the front. With 68 km left, the most epic of the crashes occurred. Tom Boonen and Gert Steegmans (both from Quick Step), and Lars Boom (Rabobank) crashed. Boonen was on the ground for a considerable period, and teammate Addy Engels dropped back to pace him. Boonen finished the stage more than 13 minutes behind the leaders.
With 45 km left, the peloton absorbed the break of the day. Fifteen km later, Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux) attacked, and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) joined him. The pair led by 1:08 with 15 km left.
HTC-Highroad went to the front, and Lampre-ISD and Leopard-Trek joined the American squad. With five km, the gap was down to 0:15. Voeckler set out on his own, but the bunch captured him with 1.6 km remaining.
With one km left, Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) attacked, and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) joined him. Hushovd joined the pair, with Rojas, Gilbert, Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad), Geraint Thomas (Sky), and Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) chasing hard. With 50 m left, Hushovd was overtaken, and with 25 m remaining, Cavendish burst into the lead for the win.
In the overall, Hushovd leads Cadel Evans (BMC) by 0:01 and Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) by 0:04. Stage 4 will be a rolling, 226.5-km ride from Dinan to Lisieux. The stage has an uphill finish, which makes it not quite right for the pure sprinters. Who will be in at the kill? Hushovd? Gilbert? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and roadcycling.mobi and find out!