Freire Wins Stage 5 of Tour
Three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has won Stage 5 of the Tour de France. Freire won a bunch sprint to take the rolling, 225-km run from Beauvais to Caen in 5:18:50. Current world champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step) finished second, and Inaki Isasi (Euskaltel) finished third. Boonen remains the maillot jaune.
The racing started early. After a couple of abortive sallies, Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r), Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), Bram De Groot (Rabobank), Daniele Righi (Lampre), Bram Tankink (Quick Step), Stephane Auge (Cofidis), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), and Bjorn Schroder (Milram) escaped at about 20 km. Davitamon, Bouygues Telecom, and Credit Agricole chased the break and had nearly caught it when Dumoulin and Schroder attacked. The bunch let the pair go.
By 86 km, the duo?s lead had ballooned to 12:50. The peloton began to chase. By 109 km, the pair?s advantage had dropped to 10:50. Quick Step rode tempo at the front. At 140 km, Davitamon joined the Quick Steppers.
Dumoulin and Schroder tried hard, but they had no chance when Credit Agricole and Lampre joined the two Belgian squads at the front. With 10 km left, the break?s lead was 1:20. Seven km later, the field was together.
Liquigas took over at the front and smothered an attack by Fabio Sacchi (Milram). Quick Step led the field into the last km. With 200 m left, Freire, who usually waits until the last 50 m to make his move, stole a march on the field. The Spaniard held off Boonen and Isasi to win.
In the overall, Boonen leads Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) by 0:13 and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) by 0:17. Stage 6 will probably not change this state of affairs. The rolling, 189-km run from Lisieux to Vitre will lead to a finish line cavalry charge. Who will win it? Tom Boonen (Quick Step)? Oscar Freire (Rabobank)? Robbie McEwen (Davitamon)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!