O'Grady Wins Stage 5 of Tour; Voeckler Takes Yellow Jersey
Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) has won Stage 5 of the Tour de France. The Australian won a five-up sprint to win the twisting, rolling, 200.5-km ride from Amiens to Chartres in 5:05:58. Jakob Piil (CSC) finished second, and Sandy Casar (La Francaise des Jeux.com) took third. Fourth place finisher Thomas Voeckler (Brioches La Boulangere) has taken the yellow jersey from Lance Armstrong.
Casar began racing early. At 16 km, the Frenchman attacked into the wind and rain and took Piil, O'Grady, Magnus Backstedt (Alessio), and Voeckler with him. Because none of the riders was a GC threat, the U.S. Postal Service did not lead a chase.
By 90 km, the escapees' lead had ballooned to 16:11. Behind, U.S. Postal Service rode tempo. The peloton slowed to allow crash victims, including Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), and three Postal Service riders to get back on. Brad McGee (La Francaise des Jeux.com), who has suffered from back and hip problems, abandoned.
By 135 km, the bunch led the break by 17:20. The Posties picked up the tempo and narrowed the gap to 15:00. With 10 km left, the break members began to attack each other.
Backstedt made the first move, but the others reeled him in. With four km remaining, O'Grady took a flyer, but Voeckler and Piil rode him down. Backstedt started the sprint, but O'Grady passed him for the win.
In the overall, Voeckler leads O'Grady by 3:13 and Casar by 4:06. Stage 6 might change this state of affairs. The flat, 196-km run from Bonneval to Angers would ordinarily be a sprinters' stage, but the wind and rain that have plagued the Tour so far might make everyone but a few escapees disinclined to ride hard. Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out if that happens.
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