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Tour de France 2010: Stage 5


The fifth stage of the Tour is another one for the sprinters.  Will Ale-Jet zoom to his third win?  Will Mark Cavendish finally get back to his winning ways?  Or will we see a surprise winner at the finish line in Montargis?

Good afternoon and welcome back to the Tour. We continue moving south today, 187.5 km from Epernay to Montargis. There are some bumps along the way, but nothing that should prevent the sprinters from doing their thing in the finale.

The weather could play a role today.  It is already around 30° Celsius and will only get warmer.  Plus there is brilliant sunshine.  Hope the guys put on lots of sun protection today, and that they remember to drink as much water as they possibly can.

Will it really come down to that expected mass sprint today? Because this is also really a perfect stage for a breakaway. Today's and tomorrow's flat satge are a good chance the GC candididates to give themselves a breathing spell before four upcoming mountain stages.

Did we say it was warm today?  How about hot, or even hot or maybe even HOT!  It is already 33° Celsius, and absolutely no wind at all.

There are now only 188 riders in the Tour.  Ten teams have each lost one rider.  The most recent is Euskaltel's Amets Txurruka, who broke his collarbone in a crash yesterday.

4km remaining from 187km

Good news for Robert Gesink (Rabobank) from yesterday. He crashed near the end of yesterday's stage and finished 179th, 2:08 down. But since it was in the last three kms, he was awarded the same time as the winner.

And some not-so-good news for Lance Armstrong of RadioShack. He failed to sign in yesterday and was fined 100 Swiss francs. He wasn't the only one though, six other riders were given the same penalty.

174km remaining from 187km

The stage started in Eparnay, a big name in the production of champagne. There are two other industries which are big here, though: sugar refinery, and the production of hats and caps.

169km remaining from 187km

166km remaining from 187km

There have been 4 total winners in our Easton-Cyclingnews Wheelset a Day Giveaway.

In case you're not yet familiar with the contest, Easton Cycling has teamed up with Cyclingnews to give you a chance at a major upgrade to your bike in celebration of the Tour de France. Each day, during our live Tour de France coverage we'll ask a trivia question. Answer correctly at our contest page to be entered into the draw for that day's prize.

Easton, of course, makes some of the most durable high-performance wheels in cycling. Just ask World Champion Cadel Evans and US National champion George Hincapie, who both ride for Easton-sponsored BMC Racing Team. And Easton has pulled the best of their line for our giveaway:

158km remaining from 187km

For those of you playing our Easton-Cyclingnews Wheelset a Day Giveaway during the Tour de France, here is your trivia question for the day: US National Champion George Hincapie is attending his fifteenth Tour de France. Where was the American born?

Dan Benson has just called in to tell us that there was another crash in the neutralised zone earlier.  Team Sky's GC contender Bradley Wiggins hit the ground, but he's ok.

Mark Renshaw of HTC-Columbia is not only Mark Cavendish's lead out man, but also his roomate here at the tour. He says the Manxman isn't all that worried about not winning so far,a dn that the team mood is still good.

This was the Tour's fourth visit to Eparnay. The first stage of the 1963 Tour ended here, with Eddy Pauwels winning it. Stages started her in 1978 and 2002.

144km remaining from 187km

The leading trio has tackled the second category four climb. Van de Walle got 3 points, Gutierrez 2, and El Fares 1.

Let's take out daily peek at the various rankings, just so we remember what is going on. Fabian Cancellara i(Saxo Bank) is still the number one:

136km remaining from 187km

There is really a brliliant blue sky today, with not a cloud anywhere in sight.

Thor Hushovd of Cervelo still leads the points ranking, but Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) is getting closer and closer.

Over in the polka-dot department, Jerome Pineau of QuickStep is leading with 13 points ahead of teammate Sylvain Chavanel and Rein Taaramae (Cofidis), both with eight points.

123km remaining from 187km

Geraint Thomas of Sky is best young rider so far, ahead of Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas).

115km remaining from 187km

Stéphane Auge (Cofidis) has topped for a rear wheel change after a puncture. He's off quickly and will soon be back in the peloton.

After the vineyards of the first part of the stage, the break and the peloton are now riding through huge wheat fields in the heart of France.

Fabian Cancellara's Saxo Bank team is leading the chase with some help from HTC-Columbia. Cancellara is again on his yellow bike, with matching yellow helmet and sunglasses. However no matching yellow shorts for Fabian. He is a more of a traditionalist.

The gentle rolling hills of the Seine-et-Marne region are dotted with small villages with some spectacular churches, small castles and chateau.

100km remaining from 187km

90km remaining from 187km

The three riders in the break are following the white line down the middle of the road. They are riding smooth and taking equal turns like a trio in a team pursuit.

The gap to the peloton is actually increasing again as the break and peloton play games with each other. The peloton is keeping the trio under control but eases the pace because it does not want to bring them back too soon. We can expect the gap to come down rapidly in the final 30km but the break will also accelerate and try to stay clear for as long as possible.

The Cyclingnews team is at the finish and Tech editor James Huang has just confirmed that the temperature is 35C. That's 95F. He describes it as 'Africa hot' 

It's time for lunch for the race. The break and the peloton have gone through and grabbed their musette. As ever there is a big crowd hoping to get a musette or bottle thrown away by the riders.

80km remaining from 187km

77km remaining from 187km

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The pace is rising now, with the peloton strung out in a long single line. Tough for the domestiques who have to go back to the team cars and then haul them back to their teammates.

The race has just crossed the Seine and Yonne rivers. We're not far south-east of Paris today.

The leading trio rides by another of those lovely fields of sunflowers.

Bert Grabsch of HTC-Columbia punctures.  Again.

The GErman rider jumps in behind the Milram car to get back to the peloton.  We don't know who is driving that car, but we do know that one of Milram's directeurs sportif here is Ralf Grabsch, his elder brother.

This intermediate sprint is slighlty uphill. The points go to El Fares ahead of van de Walle and Gutierrez.

Cavendish is back at the team car.  He is having shoe issues.

Van de Walle gets a new water bottle.  It is important to drink as much as possible on days like this.

We could have a very interesting finale today.  There are tight corners at 5.5km and 4.5 km, but the real fun comes in the final km.  There is a right hand turn at 600 meters, tight and extremely narrow.  We do not want to think about what might happen there....

52km remaining from 187km

What did it look like at the start this morning? You can take a peek here at our exclusive photos.

49km remaining from 187km

A very green-looking rider is dropping back.  Oh, it is Thor Hushovd visting the Cervelo team car.

Lampre has sent a rider to the head of the peloton.  He is followedd by two HTC-Columbias and a whole slew of Liquigases.

46km remaining from 187km

Menchov makes a quick stop at the team car for further bike adjustments.

Get those cameras ready, folks,  We see more sunflowers approaching.

We are not real agricultural experts, but we think it looks like an excellent crop of sunflowers this year.

Menchov gets some help in his journey back to the peloton.

Yukiya Arashiro of Bbox Bouyges Telecom had planned to be in today's break group. At least that is what he told us yesterday.

We still see quite a large number of bandaged riders.  We don't want to say Mummies on Bikes, but....

Congratulations to Kim and Caroline Kirchen.  They are now the proud parents of Liam and Mika.  And everyone is grateful that the father has survived for the birth.

31km remaining from 187km

Now we have a double dose of sunflowers -- big fields on both sides of the road!

Jens Voigt of Saxo Bank plays water carrier.

23km remaining from 187km

Cervelo has moved in to help with the lead work.  The gap is now 1:26.

Jonathan Vaughters told Christian Vande Velde to go home and forget about racing until he has the motivation to come back. The Garmin-Transitions rider crashed heavily on stage 2 and failed to start the following day due to his injuries.  Read more here.

20km remaining from 187km

Here is an interesting piece of trivia from Carl0880 of the CN forum:

16km remaining from 187km

Speaking of sprints, we had the final intermediate sprint of the day.  The points go to van de Walle ahead of El Fares and Gutierrez.

14km remaining from 187km

12km remaining from 187km

Lampre and Cervelo now helping at the front.

10km remaining from 187km

7km remaining from 187km

Gutierrez refuses to give in to fate and takes off from his two comrades.

Gutierrez stays away while the field makes that first sharp right hand turn.  Safely.

5km remaining from 187km

So much for that lead.   They will have him any second now.  The peloton survives another sharp turn.

Tony Martin pulls the peloton past  Gutierrez.

Garmin in the lead with three km to go.

Lots of turns and curves here, and we have a roundabout coming up momentarily.

Two km to go.  This is not the wides road we have seen.

Everyone wants to be on Julian Dean's wheel.

Final km.  There is a grop of 30 or so in the lead.

The last curve, and they come through safely.

Cavendish sees a hole and ploughs his way as first across the line!

Gerald Ciolek of Milram and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Sky fill out the podium.

Cavendish raised his ams in celebration.  No nasty gestures today!

Hushovd finished fifth, so he is stil comfortably leading the points ranking.

Looks like about two bike lengths between Cavendish and Ciolek.

No changes in the overall.

Marcus Burghardt of BMC leads a group over the line about three and a half minutes down.

Great relief this afternoon for Cavendish and his HTC-Columbia team.  Thanks for joining us and be sure to read along again tomorrow.


1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC - Columbia 4:30:50
2 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team
6 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
7 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team Katusha
8 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
9 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Transitions

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