Pozzato Wins Stage 5 of Tour
Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) has won Stage 5 of the Tour de France. Pozzato blasted through the peloton to win the rolling, 182.5-km ride from Chablis to Autun in 4:39:01. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Daniele Bennati (Lampre) finished second and third, respectively. Fabian Cancellara (CSC) remains the yellow jersey.
The stage was ridden under sunny skies, and the action began early. After a couple of abortive sallies, Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) attacked at 13. 5 km. His first attempt failed, but William Bonnet (Credit Agricole) and Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) joined him in a successful escape. At 30 km, the trio led the peloton by 4:00, with Gianpaolo Cheula (Barloworld) attempting to bridge up to the move. Eventually, Cheula joined the break, which led the field by 11:00 at 39.5 km.
CSC did not lead a chase because the Danish squad wanted to avoid using too much energy defending the yellow jersey. The break's advantage rose to 14:40 before the bunch began to pursue. A number of teams went to the front, and the break's lead dropped to 9:28 at 73 km and 7:08 at 83 km. At 98.5 km, the bunch was 5:15 behind the break.
At 135.5 km, Chavanel attacked his companions, and only Gilbert could follow. With 47 km remaining, the bunch was 2:13 behind the pair.
With 26 km left, Alexander Vinokourov, one of Astana's coleaders, crashed. The Kazakh tore his shorts and scraped his elbow, hip, and knee. Vinokourov used six of his teammates to catch the peloton. but the Astana man lost 1:20. The day was a bad one for Astana, as Andreas Kloden, the team's other coleader, crashed early in the day and suffered a hairline fracture of the coccyx. He might not start Stage 6.
With 11 km remaining, the break was reeled in. David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval) countered but was brought back. Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom) escaped, but Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) joined him. The Frenchman returned to the peloton. Cancellara joined Popovych, and the two nearly rode off of the road when they took a turn too fast.
The Lampre-led peloton snared Cancellara and Popovych. David Millar (Saunier Duval) attacked in the last km, but the bunch caught him with 200 m left. Pozzato tore up the left-side of the road and then weaved through riders to pip Freire on the line.
In the overall, Cancellara leads Kloden by 0:33 and Pozzato by 0:35. Stage 6 will not change this state of affairs. The rolling, 199.5-km run from Semur-en-Auxois to Bourg-en-Bresse will end with 45 km of straight, flat roads. The result should be a bunch sprint. With the first Alpine stage coming up on Saturday, the sprinters will go all out to snare a victory. Who will win the stage? Freire? Tom Boonen (Quick Step)? Daniele Bennati (Lampre)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!