Andre Greipel Powers to Stage 5 victory in 2012 Tour de France

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07/6/2012| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Team Lotto-Greipel's Andre Greipel (Germany) powers to second Tour de France stage victory in stage 5 of the 2012 Tour de France. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Team Lotto-Greipel's Andre Greipel (Germany) powers to second Tour de France stage victory in stage 5 of the 2012 Tour de France. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Andre Greipel Powers to Stage 5 victory in 2012 Tour de France

In yet another crash-marred finish, Andre Greipel of Germany led a frenzied bunch sprint to win the fifth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday for his second straight stage victory.

In yet another crash-marred finish, Andre Greipel of Germany led a frenzied bunch sprint to win the fifth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday for his second straight stage victory.

Fabian Cancellara retained the yellow jersey for a sixth straight day after the mostly flat 196.5-kilometer trek from Rouen to Saint-Quentin was almost tailor-made for sprinters except for a slight uphill near the end.

The barreling pack overtook three breakaway riders with barely 100 meters left, and Greipel wheeled out in front a split-second ahead of Matt Goss of Australia, who was second, as Juan Jose Haedo of Argentina took third. Mark Cavendish was fifth.

Like in Greipel's sprint-finish victory a day before, a late crash tarnished the stage, and he counted himself "lucky" to avoid a spill two days in a row.

"Somehow I stayed on my bike," said Greipel, who turns 30 on July 16. "It was quite a tough finish there ... and it was also luck on our part to catch the breakaway."

The top standings didn't change: Bradley Wiggins, the leader of Cavendish's Team Sky, was second overall, seven seconds behind the Swiss leader. Defending champion Cadel Evans was 17 seconds off the pace in seventh.

By holding the lead, Cancellara earned the right to wear the coveted yellow jersey for the 27th time in his career, a record for a rider who has never won the Tour.

"When you make history in this kind of way at the Tour, it's more special," said Cancellara, a time-trial specialist and the only man in yellow this year after winning Saturday's prologue.

As sprinters jockeyed for position with just over 3 kilometers left, Tyler Farrar of the United States tumbled in the middle of the pack. But his bike kept on going, and brought down at least two other riders including Peter Sagan of Slovakia, the winner of the first and third stages.

Farrar straggled across the line later alone, blood streaming down his right elbow and right knee. He then stormed into the bus of the Argos-Shimano team, looking for its sprinter Tom Veelers. Farrar angrily shouted, "You don't do that to someone!"

The race got its first minor dose of rain on Thursday, and another dropout: Germany's Marcel Kittel, who has endured gastric troubles for the last few days, pulled out to reduce the field to 194 riders.

GC favorites Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky Procycling) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) finished safely to maintain 2nd place and 7th place, respectively, in the general classification. Seven seconds and 17 seconds, respectively, behind Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) as the race edges closer to the mountains of the Alps.

Team BMC Racing Sports Director John Lelangue told Roadcycling.com the team's approach in the first week has played a big part in keeping Evans out of danger. "We're riding in the front like a sprinter's team, making a good train, and avoiding the risky zone," he explained.

"We have one more stage tomorrow and then we come to the mountains. We still have the whole team here, nobody has

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