In the 229km Tour de Francestage 5 from Cagnes-sur-mer to Marseille, the Lotto Belisol team took the initiative early to bring back the break. The team was banking on its sprinter André Greipel to bring the first stage win home. But in the final kilometers, Lotto Belisol lacked the numbers to control the sprint, and eventually Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) emerged as victor.
Greipel lost the wheel of his lead-out man Greg Henderson in the final corner and finished fourth. After heading to the team bus and cooling down on the rollers, the German champion explained what happened.
"I think it was [Alexander] Kristoff. Some riders, they just don't care about what is next to them," he said. "I just had to get on my brakes and lost Greg Henderson's wheel."
The German sprinter was disappointed that he was unable to finish the hard work of his teammates. When looking back on the stage, Greipel felt that making the team work to bring the break back cost them the men that were needed in the final kilometres.
"We did a really good job the whole day. We believed in the sprint, and we put three guys in front to bring the breakaway back," he said. "We made it, but that's why we also sacrificed three riders for the lead-out. With four guys in the last kilometres, it was not that easy. There was not a lead-out train like we can do. Still, we were in the front. There was a bit of headwind in that corner, so it wasn't the perfect corner. From there, it was slightly a tailwind."
On a positive note for the day, Greipel easily won the intermediate sprint in the peloton for nine points, however he made it clear that he would much rather would have won the final sprint. "There was only one sprint that mattered so what's the point?" Greipel said.