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Tour de France 2011: Stage 5

Today's Tour stage is short and sweet – and which of the sprinters will be rejoicing at the end of the day?

Hello and welcome back to our live coverage of the Tour de France.  Our stage today is only 158 km, and is expected to end in a mass sprint.  But we will spend some time on the English Channel coast and that means wind!  And echelons!

We do have a climb today, though, the Cote de Gurunheul, category 4, at km 45.5. The day's intermediate sprint is at km 70.

The stage hasn't actually started yet, but they should be underway any second now.  The "sharp" start will be then in about 10 minutes.

There they go!

Everyone riding ll together through a lovely wooded area.

Philippe Gilbert drops back to the team cars for a chat -- but with the Garmin-Cervelo team car!

So far this Tour we have only had one mass sprint, which was won by Tyler Farrar.  And the American won on the Fourth of July, no less....

And now we have the real start!  KM 0.

Who will be the first to attack?

A handful of riders jump but don't get away.

Three riders have a handful of seconds on the field, but we are not at all ready to declare them a break.

A fourth rider has joined them, and the field has given this group its blessing to go.  Now let's see if we can't get some names for you.

Jose Gutierrez (Movistar), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), Sebastien Turgot (Europcar) and Antony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) are today's Fab Four.

154km remaining from 158km

The quartet already has a lead of about two minutes and growing rapidly.

Weather! We have weather today!  And not in a good sense. The temps are ok, at aboout 20° Celsius. But other than that we will probably have that wet stuff coming down again.  And wind, ranging from 30 to 40 km per hour.

The sun is shining at the moment but there are a lot of very dark clouds up there....

Yesterday's finale couldn't have been more thrilling, and really couldn't have been much closer. It took a look at the finish-line photo to determine that Cadel Evans (BMC) had beaten Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard).Those last few kilometres are quite unforgettable.
 

Garmin-Cervelo is firmly in charge of things here, being at the front of the peloton.

Meanwhile, the gap has jumped to about three minutes.

Delaplace has the honour of being not only the youngest rider in the break group, he is also the youngest rider in the whole Tour.  He is only 21 years old, with his next birthday coming up in September.

Just in case you have forgotten, we still have Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) in yellow, one whole second ahead of Evans. with Fränk Schleck (Leopard Trek) in third at four seconds.

Pablo Urtasun of Euskaltel punctures and quickly receives help.

Two Cofidis riders are working their way back to the peloton through the team cars.

Jose Rojas of Movistar leads the points classification narrowly over Evans, with Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) third.

And now a puncture for Cavendish.  He is cool and starts rolling his way back up.

133km remaining from 158km

Faian Cancellara is the next to have a mechanical problem.

Meanwhile the gap is up to 3:46.

Don't really know what the problem is for Cancellara.  He gets off and watches as the mechanic fixes something or other.  He doesn't look particularly stressed about it.

It's nature break time!  For lots of riders!  Lots and lots.....

Cancellara is now back in the peloton.  He dragged a little group along with him.

The sun had disappeared for a while, but now it has come back again.  No doubt the riders would all be very happy if it would stay there.

Gutierrez is having some problems with his handlebars and is attempting to fix them himself.  Whilst riding full-out....

To return to our look at the various rankings:  Cadel Evans is covered in red polka-dots today, having a whopping two points in the mountains classification.

Best young rider is still Geraint Thomas of Sky, and Garmin-Cervelo is top team.

122km remaining from 158km

The gap is now at the five minute mark, and that is a signal to the field to pick up its pace.

Are you playing along with our Easton Trivia Challenge?  Our question yesterday was, “Which current Tour de France rider won stage 4 of the 2007 Tour de France?”  The answer, of course is, none other than World Champion and Yellow Jersey Thor Hushovd.

Join us later on for today's question.

The day's climb is approaching:  Côte de Gurunhuel - 2.3 km climb with a maxium gradient of 5.1 %.

Lots and lot of people on the side of the road on this climb!

Delaplace jumps out and claims the one mountain point for himself.

A pair of bagpipers, accompanied by an accordianist, celebrate the mountain ranking.

Seriously.

This means that Cadel Evans will continue to wear the KOM jersey for another stage.  He has two whole points, and everyone else in the ranking has just one.

The peloton now crests this fearsome climb.

How tight are things still?  Well, we still have 22 riders within one minute of the lead.

A bit further back is defending champion Contador, who is currently 41st, at 1:42.

106km remaining from 158km

The gap is still slowly creeping up, now at 5:42.

Speaking of sprinters – well, we think we mentioned them earlier at some point – Romain Feillu of Vacansoliel had a few words to say about Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), calling him as arrogant as Riccardo Ricco.  Read more here. 

A crash!  seven or eight riders have really all gone down in a big knot.

Sylvain Chavanel was holding his shoulder but seems to be ok.  Several Rabos were involved, as was Bradley Wiggins to some extent, but no fears, everyone is back on their bikes and catching up with the peloton again.

101km remaining from 158km

101 km to go, and the gap is at six minutes.  The field has slowed down a bit to allow everyone to get back.  We now hear that also Levi Leipheimer of RadioShack was also involved.

Geraint Thomas, or “G” as he is called, is doing video blog for the Tour. Catch the latest update here. 

Leipheimer has now made his way back to the field.

Bradley Wiggins stops and gets a new bike.  He also takes off his jacket.

The four escapees approach the day's intermediate sprint.  As far as the green jersey is concerned, it doesn't matter which of them goes across first.

Turgot takes the honours, ahead of Valentinand Gutierrez.

Movistar and HTC at the head of the field -- the intermediate sprint is approaching for the peloton...

Juan Antonio Flecha hangs around at the back of the field and looks back to see where Wiggins is.

Rojas, Gilbert, Cavendish, BMC all looking to get in position for the sprint.

The sprinters are all over the road, and Cavendish aapparently feels like he was unfairly blocked.

Bozic of Vacansoleil takes it.

And another rash. Brajkovic is down and looks injred

Gesink also may be injured.

BRajkovic is still down, but is conscious.

Gesink is only now getting a new bike.

Brajkovic is sitting up.  His helmet is off and he is having some head wounds attended to.

An ambulance is there now.

Brajkovic is now standing up.

The next crash.  Contdor involved. He takes his helmet off.

He seems to be ok, altho his jersey is pretty ripped up.

Brajokovic is still being doctored.  We do not see Gesink and assume he is back in the race.

The gap has fallen by the way, and is now just under four minutes.

Contador is now in a group chasing the field.

Contador gives a thumbs up to say he is ok.

Brajkovic is not.  Nor is Gesink.  The Rabo rider is now loaded in an ambulance.

Wait, stop, we take that back.  Gesink is ok and riding.  It is Brajkovic who is in the ambulance.

Contador alnd Gesink are now in a group of 20 or so which is chasing the field.

The gap continues to fall, and is now at 3:28

It looks like the Contador/Gesink group has now caught the end of the field.

77km remaining from 158km

Looks like everyone is back in the field now.  When we hear something about Brajkovic we will of course pass it along immediately.

And another crash.  Nicki Sorensen of Saxo Bank is the victim.

He slides along a long way on the grass at the side of the road. Ouch.

Two RadioSHacks behind the field, trying to catch up.

The gap has really plummeted, despie the crashes.  It is now down to 1:40.

Looking at the replay, it looks like a race motorcycle was involved in Sorensen's crash.

Garmin-Cervelo back in the lead, with Hushovd right there with them.

The two RadioShacks are Chris Horner and Yaroslacv Popovych.  They are still amongst the team cars, and we don't know why they are so far back.

72km remaining from 158km

Only 45 seconds now.

It is not Popovych but Irizar who is with HOrner.

Popovych apparently was involved in one of the crashes, though.  He is also pretty far back and seems to be favouring one of his wrists.

70km remaining from 158km

The breakaway is coming to a rather surprising end.  They had a huge gap whch just sort of melted away unexpectedly.

Popovych pays a visit to the medical car.

And Christophe Kern of Movistar has had to abandon.

Nicki Sorensen is moving his way back up, too.

He lost his water bottles in his tumble, so he picks up several new ones.

Popovch is again -- or still -- at the medic's car, getting his left hand or wrist tended to.

Time for me to hand things over to Steve Farrand, who will take you up to the finish.

65km remaining from 158km

The peloton has eased slightly as some riders lick their wounds following the crashes and mad half hour.

The break is slowly gaining more time as the peloton rolls steady on the narrow roads.

Garmin-Cervelo and Leopard Trek are on the front, with Alberto Contador also keeping out of trouble by riding at the front. 

John Gadret (Ag2r) has punctured but is quickly going again and now riding through the team cars and back to the peloton.

Another crash! This time Boonen and Steegmans are down.


 

Boonen is sat in the road and seems a little stunned.

Boonen's race seems to be over. It looks like he's fractured his collarbone.

Boonen is bravely back on his bike.

He landed on his right shoulder and his jersey is ripped to shreds.

He's four minutes down on the peloton and seems to be struggling to hold the bars.

Garmin is on the front again. Race statistics has shown the US team has been on the front for 88% of the stage today. 

Once again Cyclingnews and Easton Cycling have teamed up for a competition during the Tour. We have some great prizes line up for you, ranging from a signed BMC team jersey to the grand prize, a complete BMC Teammachine SLR0. For more, just click here. (http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/win-a-bmc-teammachine-or-easton-schwag-during-the-cyclingnews-tour-de-france-trivia-challenge )

All you have to do is answer one trivia question and you are automatically entered. And you get 21 chances, one per stage!

Here is today's trivia question in the Easton/Cyclingnews Tour de France Trivia Challenge: Which rider has earned the most green jerseys in Tour de France competition?

Need a hint? Look here. http://www.letour.fr/2011/TDF/HISTO/us/statistiques.html

You are entered for the random drawing for prizes by filling in your answer here. (link: http://easton.cyclingnews.com/ ) Good luck!
 

The race is passing through Saint Brieuc and will soon pass through Bernhard Hinault's home town. 

Robert Gesink is at the back of the peloton. He seems a bit battered and bruised after his crash.

Tom Boonen is struggling five minutes behind. He is on his own and blood is coming through his shorts on his right hip. He's struggling to hold onto the bars with his right hand.

46km remaining from 158km

The peloton has now swept up the break away riders. Will we see more attacks or a fast fiinish all together?

The peloton is lined out now. This is going to be a crazy last hour of racing.

They're going through Yffiniac, the birthplace of Bernard Hinault.

@inrng Wed, 6th Jul 2011 15:38:46

John Gadret is at the back again now. He's bene struggling with punctures and other problems today.

Addy Engels is now helping to pace Boonen but he is still suffering and off the back. He's 6:30 behind the peloton.

Remi Di Gregorio (Astana) flatted but is quickly away and chasing back on.

The peloton is in a woods but will soon hit the exposed coast road. The wind is expected to be a head/sidewind. 

Tjallinghi now gets a new bike. While up front we have the first attack.

32km remaining from 158km

We have Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Jeremy Roy (FDJ).

Rabobank sports director Erik Breukink informed Cyclingnews this morning that he wanted his riders to be as conservative as possible until the course turns right and crosswinds will torture the riders. “The most important thing for us is to protect Gesink. Taking the initiative in the formation of echelons fits into that plan as well,” Breukink told Cyclingnews. With Gesink hitting the asphalt earlier today that plan got disturbed. “There are a couple of good teams in this discipline like BMC, Leopard, Sky and maybe even Astana. They have nothing to lose in stages like this.”

28km remaining from 158km

The two riders already hsave 40 seconds. That's 40 seconds you can't afford to give away to a rider like Voeckler.

24km remaining from 158km

Here we we go. The speed is picking up now. It's super fast out there. The wind from the coast is espected to be a strong tail/side wind rather than a head/side wind. Hold onto your hats!

The peloton is lined out.

Boonen is now eight minutes back.

Liquigas and Leopard Trek now on the front. This finale will be about protecting the big-name team leaders. 

Tension will be high in the peloton.

The race is on narrow village roads. That helps the two breakways and slows the peloton.

Voeckler is giving it big licks on the front but surely the two can't hold off the chase for a further 20km.  

A rider has hit the barriers.

It's an Euskaltel rider

18km remaining from 158km

The two riders have a minute now. They could make it unless the peloton ups the speed very soon.

15km remaining from 158km

HTC is now on the front but the gap is 1:08.

Thor Hushovd is near the front, trying to stay protected and avoid any crashes.

Fabian cancellara isalso on the front, tucked over his handlebars.

10km remaining from 158km

Lampre has now taken over, protecting Petacchi for the sprint.

Once again Cyclingnews and Easton Cycling have teamed up for a competition during the Tour. We have some great prizes line up for you, ranging from a signed BMC team jersey to the grand prize, a complete BMC Teammachine SLR0. For more, just click here.

All you have to do is answer one trivia question and you are automatically entered. And you get 21 chances, one per stage!

Here is today's trivia question in the Easton/Cyclingnews Tour de France Trivia Challenge: Which rider has earned the most green jerseys in Tour de France competition?

Need a hint? Look here.

You are entered for the random drawing for prizes by filling in your answer here. Good luck!
 

The gap is down to 30 seconds now. Roy is fading after being in the break yesterday.

Ryder Hesjedal has just done a massive turn for Garmin-Cervelo.

Astana put a trio of riders on the front now. the gap is now just 18 seconds.

Voeckler's tongue is hanging out of his mouth now. He's suffering.

The peloton can see the two up the road.

Burghardt is again protecting Cadel Evans. The Aussie is wearing the plka-dot jersey today.

5km remaining from 158km

The frenchman are on the coast now but the peloton is on them.

Team Sky are riding to set up Swift or Boasson Hagen today. and protect Wiggins. 

HTC are riding for Cavendish and Goss.

Roy sits up but Voeckler goes again! 

2km remaining from 158km

Voeckler is going for it but he's going to be caught.

It has split behind but there are about 80 riders in the peloton.

Hondo leads the peloton to Voeckler. All together.

A down hill section now. this is super fast.

 

Martin is off the front. gonig for it.!

Boasson Hagen blast past him. Can he hold on?

No.

It's a sprint finish.

 

Cavendish gets it ahead of Gilbert and Rojas.

That is his 16th stage victroy at the Tour de France.

That was a tough finale but Cavendish timed his move perfectly. 

He came off Geraint Thomas' wheel and then powered to the line. 

Thor Hushovd was up there too and so kept the yellow jersey.

Provisional results:

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
2 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
3 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling
4 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
5 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
4 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
10 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo

General classification after stage 5

1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:01
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:00:04
4 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:08
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 0:00:10
6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
7 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:12
8 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
9 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek

As Cavendish celebrates and thanks his teammates, that about wraps it up for our live coverage today.

There will be full reults, reports, interviews and photo galleries on Cyclingnews very soon.

A demain for stage six from Dinan to Lisieux. At 226.5 it is the longest stage of this year's race.

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