Welcome to our live coverage of the conclusion to stage five of the 2012 Criterium du Dauphine. After yesterday's 53km time trial, the riders face something very different today - a 186.5km stage from Saint-Trivier-sur-Moignans to Rumilly that features the huge Colombier climb that peak out 70km from the finish. Stay tuned to see if Bradley Wiggins can keep hold of the yellow jersey in his quest to win the race for the second successive year.
And as we start our live coverage of the final couple of hours of the race, we have two breakaway groups. Just getting confirmation of them now for you...
75km remaining from 186km
Here's the leading group, who are currently around four minutes clear: Fofanov (Astana), Losada (Katusha), Reza (Europcar), Cayetano (Liquigas), Di Gregorio (Cofidis), Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Vichot (FDJ-BigMat), Navarro (Saxo Bank), Jeandesboz (Saur-Sojasun) and Mederel (Saur-Sojasun)
And they are being chased by six riders in the second breakaway group, who in turn are 50 seconds clear of the peloton.
The leaders are approaching the top of the huge Colombier climb and have dropped Reza, who is 22 seconds behind now
Hearing reports that Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar) has pulled out of the race. The 2011 Vuelta winner was lying in 37th in the GC this morning. More on this when we get it.
Speaking of the overall GC, here's where we stood after yesterday's fourth stage:
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 14:11:07
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:38
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:20
4 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:01:38
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:44
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:45
7 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:48
8 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Barracuda 0:02:00
9 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:02
10 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:02:18
Leading group of nine are now within site of the top of the gargantuan Colombier climb. Fast decent coming up. They are now 40 seconds clear of Reza.
Feillu and Kern have attacked from the main chasing group and are now in hot pursuit of Reza.
70km remaining from 186km
And the rest of the second breakaway group have now been swallowed up by the peloton. So we have four groups: the leaders, Reza, his two pursuers and the peloton. Got that? Phew
And while we gather our breath after those moves, we've got a couple of big news stories to tell you about. Firstly, it's been officially confirmed that Alberto Contador will return to racing with Saxo Bank, ending speculation about his future. Read the full story here.
And secondly, reports in France are suggesting that Team Sky could be about to split with Pinarello and sign a deal with Specialized. Sky have played down the reports and you can read more here.
And back to the race. On the sharp descent from the Colombier, things have become a little more streamlined. For now anyway. We have a leading group of nine rider and the three pursuers have now been swallowed up by the peloton.
And we now have live pictures from the host broadcaster.
55km remaining from 186km
And now as they start the final climb, BMC have made a decisive move from the pack. Perhaps mindful of Cadel Evans falling back on GC leader Wiggins, they have pulled a group away from the peloton in chase of the leaders. Evans, Hincapie, Van Garderen are all there. Nibail (Liquigas) is there too. No counter from Sky yet.
And Sky, led by Boasson Hagen, have made their move now to cover the BMC attack.
BMC actually have four riders in their attack group. Michael Schar is there too and taking his turn on the front.
Leaders are 1km from the summit of the final climb with a lead of 1:33 to the BMC group and 1:52 to the peloton.
50km remaining from 186km
Interesting move by BMC. Sky have dominated for much of the race so far and might be feeling the pinch somewhat. We'll soon find out. They are closing the gap to the BMC group gradually but will they be vulnerable to further attacks over the last 50km?
And Wiggins has decided to chase down the BMC group on his own. Bold move by the yellow jersey holder. Perhaps a signal that his teammates are struggling today.
Kashechkin and Kern are pushing hard from the chase group and trying to drop them. Meanwhile, Michael Rogers is trying to close on to the group in support of Wiggins.
Chasing group are now descending again. Wet and slippy under the wheels. They are only 39 seconds behind the leaders.
Nibali (Liquigas) going with Kashechkin. He has passed Kern and looking dangerous.
And Wiggins has gone off in search of them.
And up at the front, Mederel has dropped the other eight riders and attacked. He's 41 seconds clear all of a sudden.
And back down the road, in the main peloton, Europcar are trying to drag the group back to the breakaways.
And we're back with our leading pack of nine. Mederel has been caught.
30km remaining from 186km
Leaders keen to keep the field splintered and prevent Sky from dictating the pace. With 30km to go, the tactic seems to be working so far.
Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) has made a move from the peloton and dragged some riders with him. Three main groups have now formed.
Nobody in the leading nine man group is a GC threat to Wiggins and the main group. They appear happy to allow them to go, but will need to keep their eye on Sanchez.
Under 20km to go now. Sanchez has 26 seconds on the yellow jersey group. That group has Michael Rogers and Chris Froome in it, protecting Wiggins.
Leading group is now down to eight but gap has increased on main peloton to over a minute. Meanwhile, in between, a nine-man chasing group has formed. 12km to go.
9km remaining from 186km
Looks like the leading group may to take the win here. Under 10km to go now. Which one of them is anyone's guess though...
Could it be Navarro? He has attacked off the front and has five seconds already
Vichot goes in pursuit and catches Navarro. He takes his turn on the front.
Peloton are closing, slowly but surely. They are now 48 seconds down with 6km left.
Vichot still pushing on the front with 5km to go. He looks strong. He's opened up a 15-second gap. The others don't seem to have an answer. Yet.
Vichot hasn't won this year but he seems to be closing in on one here with 2.5km left
He's 24 seconds clear with 1.5km left
He's easing up now, savouring the win
VICHOT TAKES THE WIN
Tight for second, but Martinez edges out Fofanov
Main peloton, including Evans and Wiggins, come home just over a minute down.
Confirmation of stage and GC top tens coming soon...
That win was easily the best one of 23-year-old Vichot's career to date. And a great boost for FDJ on home soil.
TOP TEN - STAGE FIVE
1 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 4:42:17
2 Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:00:26
3 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
4 Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
5 Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Liquigas-Cannondale
6 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team
7 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Team Saxo Bank
8 Maxime Mederel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
9 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:46
10 Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank
TOP TEN GC AFTER STAGE FIVE:
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 18:54:23
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:38
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:20
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:44
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:45
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:48
7 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:02
8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:02:22
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:02:47
10 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:02:55
So a great day for Vichot, who enjoys the best afternoon of his career after his canny final attack, and for his team, who have got the stage win they craved on home soil. Sky were forced to work extremely hard througout today and this may be a sign of things to come over the weekend, with the race reaching its climax on Sunday.
We'll have all the results, reaction and photos from today right here when it all filters through.
Join us again tomorrow for stage 6, which promises to be a stern test for the riders and a potential game changer in the GC.
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