Mark Cavendish Sprints to Stage 5 Victory in Tour de France 2011

News & Results

07/6/2011| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Mark Cavendish sprints to win in stage 5 of Tour de France 2011 for Team HTC-HighRoad. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Mark Cavendish sprints to win in stage 5 of Tour de France 2011 for Team HTC-HighRoad. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Mark Cavendish Sprints to Stage 5 Victory in Tour de France 2011

Team HTC-HighRoad's British sprint ace Mark Cavendish won a windy and crash-marred stage 5 of the 2011 Tour de France in a mass sprint earlier today, while Thor Hushovd of Team Garmin-Cervélo and Norway kept the leader's yellow jersey.

Team HTC-HighRoad's British sprint ace Mark Cavendish won a windy and crash-marred stage 5 of the 2011 Tour de France in a mass sprint earlier today, while Thor Hushovd of Team Garmin-Cervélo and Norway kept the leader's yellow jersey.

Defending champion Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-SunGard) fell on his back in a crash and RadioShack rider Janez Brajkovic quit the race after another spill where he crashed hitting his head on the barriers during the 102-mile stage from Carhaix to Cap Frehel.

Cavendish collected his 16th Tour de France stage victory of his career so far and his first this year by speeding past Philippe Gilbert of Team Omega Pharma-Lotto -- who finished second -- and Team Movistar's Jose Joaquin Rojas in third.

"I am really happy. It was a difficult finish," Cavendish commented after his win and added "I put everything into it. If we win, it's not because we're lucky, it's because we're good."

The top standings didn't change because the vast majority of riders crossed in a pack right behind the sprinters. Hushovd kept his one-second lead over Team BMC Racing's Cadel Evans of Australia in second. Frank Schleck of Team Leopard-Trek is third overall, 4 seconds back.

The ride was mostly marked by crashes that brought down some of the biggest names in the pack, which shrank to 195 riders after two competitors dropped with injuries.

"It was very nervous, and because of that you get a lot of crashes, because there are 200 riders who want to be in front," said Hushovd, who retained the jersey for a fourth straight day.

"It was really windy, with narrow, winding roads," Team BMC Racing's Cadel Evans told Roadcycling.com and our mobile sister site Roadcycling.mobi after the stage and added "We worked hard to stay in front all day. I just kept hearing on the radio over and over again, 'crash, crash, crash' and sort of kept going, and then I saw Gesink all covered in dirt. It was a dangerous day."

The two-time Tour de France runner-up emphasized how much he's appreciating the loyal and strong teamwork he has received from particularly German Marcus Burghardt and Manuel Quinziato. "They're used to riding the (spring) classics and riding in the front all day, and dodging traffic islands is their specialty. I'm very grateful to have them here for that as well as their role in the team," Evans concluded.

Contador went down briefly but returned -- with cuts on his left shoulder and on his back. Many riders were jostling to stay at the front on the narrow roads, setting the stage for possible spills.

The Spanish three-time Tour de France champion was entangled in a crash about the 44-mile mark and took off his helmet briefly, then gave a thumbs-up to signal to signal to viewers and his competitors that he was all right.

The highest-profile withdrawal was RadioShack's Janez Brajkovic after crashing about a mile later. The 27-year-old Slovenian was evacuated to a hospital in an ambulance, where doctors judged that he had suffered a mild concussion, the

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