Voeckler Wins Stage 5 of Tour
Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) has won Stage 5 of the Tour de France. Voeckler, a former yellow jersey wearer, was the sole survivor of an early break. He held on to win the flattish, 196.5-km run from Le Cap d'Agde to Perpignan in 4:29:35. Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) outsprinted Mark Cavendish (Columbia) for second at 0:07. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) remains the maillot jaune.
In the first 20 km, two groups of three riders sallied off of the front. At 29 km, the trios merged into a sextet. The fugitives were Anthony Geslin and Yauheni Hutarovich (both from Francaise des Jeux), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Albert Timmer (Skil), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), and Voeckler. At 50 km, the bunch led the break by nearly eight minutes.
The peloton woke up. Astana began the chase, and Garmin and Columbia eventually joined the Kazakh squad at the front. At 116 km, with the escapees' advantage down to 3:00 and the riders approaching a turn that would result in a change of wind direction, Saxo Bank took command.
The Danish team forced the peloton into echelons. A lead group of about 60 riders formed, which included most of the heads of state. Astana joined Saxo Bank in attempting to drop some riders, and the acceleration reduced the fugitives' lead to 1:00 with 10 km left.
The break members began to attack each other. Ignatiev launched a series of attacks, each of which Voeckler covered. With five km left, the Bouygues Telecom man countered, and his companions had no answer.
In the overall, Cancellara leads Lance Armstrong (Astana) by .022 seconds and Alberto Contador (Astana) at 0:19. Stage 6 will not change this state of affairs. The rolling, 181.5-km ride from Girona, Spain to Barcelona, Spain could end in a bunch sprint. However, with an uphill finish and a Category 4 climb in the last 30 km, a breakaway could win the day. Which will it be? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!