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Tour de France 2013: Stage 5

Hello and welcome to live coverage from the Tour de France. It's stage five from Cagnes-sur-mer to Marseille.

After the excitement of yesterday's team time trial, the peloton are back on their road bikes for 222.8 km of racing.


Ted King, who missed the time cut by 7 seconds yesterday, is at the start this morning but it doesn't look as though he's been given a last minute reprieve. The start is roughly 15 minutes away with riders starting to make their to the sign in and the start line.

This is a finely balanced stage where riders of different types will feel they have a chance. It rolls through the Provençal hills just inland from the coast. The climbs are not tough and not hard enough to stop the sprinters putting a cross next to this stage. They won't have many chances this year and will want to make the most of ones like this.

However, the baroudeurs, who love to spend hours in a small group at the front in the hope this could turn out to be the glorious day that makes such escapades worthwhile, will rate their prospects. The pace will be frantic from the start as riders attempt to get into that escape group. In all likelihood, the break will be reeled in before the day's final climb, which will bring the puncheurs up.

The Côte des Bastides and uncategorised Col de la Gineste, just 12.5km from the finish, are perfect territory for these explosive climbers, as they are tough enough to stretch the bunch but not long or difficult enough to enable specialist climbers to hold sway.

This is how things stand in GC coming into today's stage.
 

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 12:47:24
2 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
3 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:01
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:03
7 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
8 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling
9 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:09
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff

If Impey finishes ahead of Gerrans in the sprint he'll take the yellow jersey and become the first African to wear the jersey. Jean Francois Quenet knows Impey from his very early racing days and has written this story for CN about the rider. It's well worth a read as we count down to the start of the stage.

GreenEDGE with two wins in two days and the yellow jersey to boot have already stated that they'll ride to defend the jersey. There are a couple of possibilities though. They could work and help organise a sprint in the hope that Matt Goss can make it 3/3 or they can allow a non threatening break on GC go clear, and therefore win a few friends for the days ahead. With Matt White back in the car at the race, it's more likely that they'll be going all out for the stage win though, they may even put a rider in the break, perhaps Clarke, who is second in the KOM competition on five points.  Pierre Rolland leads with 10 points.

Gerrans in yellow is on the start line. He's really the Orica GreenEDGE talisman and comes up with the big wins just when the team really needs a result. He's not a prolific winner in terms of the number of races he wins, but the quality is really there. Stages in all three grand tours, a Milan San Remo, a GP Quebec and two editions of the TDU to his name.

The third category climb today at km 22, could well be the launchpad for a successful move. Europcar may wish to keep the bunch together and set Rolland up for the points though. It's been a rather curious tactic from the team, with a rider of GC potential using up vital energy in the opening few stages just for the small  offer of points available at this stage in the race.

In the battle for the green jersey Peter Sagan and his tidy new facial hair have a lead over Marcel Kittel and Alex Kristoff.

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 74 pts
2 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 57
3 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha 48
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 41
5 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 40
6 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 39
7 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 36

Cavendish has just 25 points and if he's fighting fit today he'll be looking to jump up the standings and narrow the Cannondale leader's advantage.

First shameless plug of the day, but you can find all our Tour de France videos on our YouTube page, right here. You can subscribe to the channel in just one* click.

 

*Two if you count the one to leave this page.

And the riders are off. Gerrans in yellow leading the peloton through the neutralized zone. The first Australian in yellow since Cadel Evans of course.

We're pleased to welcome Henk Vogels in the CN blimp just before we take off for the stage. Henk, what did you make of yesterday's stage and also GreenEDGE's performance in the last few days?

Henk Vogels:

"Mate , I was very emotional last night , I shed a tear !, it was brilliant to see them win and ride so well , now that the pressure has been lifted it seems like they can now do anything."

 

CN: Do you think the team can push on, keep yellow and then go for more stages?

Henk Vogels:

Gossy ,albasini , Meyer will now be on the move , and Gerro after he loses the jersey on the high mountains

 

CN: And finally, what about O'Grady, who along with you and Sunderland formed the Australian nucleus of the GAN team in the mid 90s. He's still going strong after all these years.

Henk Vogels:

 

He's a once in generation talent and a megahardman of Aussie sport.

 

Thanks for joining us Henk. I'm just passing over to Susan for a few minutes of live coverage.

Ted King was indeed not allowed to start today, so we have 185 riders now. There was a movement on Twitter to allow him to continue, but the race jury refused to change its decision.

And only two km into the stage we had a six-man break group form. Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar),  Kevin Reza (Europcar),  Romain Sicard (Euskaltel), Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil), Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun)  and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) now have 1:05 on the peloton

217km remaining from 228km

And the gap has already skyrocketed to 5:05.

Astana's Enrico Gasparatto has made contact with the pavement but is up and going again.

Meanwhile the gap is now at 6:10.

This huge gap make Japanese rider Arashiro the virtual leader. He came into the stage only 3:42 down.

The break group is now nearing the day's first climb,the Côte de Châteauneuf-Grasse at km 22. The cat.3 climb is 1.4km long with an average gradient of 8.4%.

Lutsenko is the second-youngest rider in the Tour, by the way. He will turn 21 in September. Youngest, of course is Vacansoleil's Danny Van Poppel, who is only 19.

207km remaining from 228km

Let's make that gap 8:10 now!

Dan is back so I will slide out of the blimp pilot's seat and give him back the controls.

Dan can't get his seat belt fastened, so I will keep the wheel here for a while longer.

There were only a minimum of mountain points to be had, and they went to de Gendt ahead of Delaplace.

205km remaining from 228km

The peloton had better watch out: the gap is already 10:30....

Perhaps the peloton doesn't realize the race has actually started? They cross over that mountain ranking 12:15 after the lead group.

Dan has finally figured out how to buckle up, so here he is!

Thanks Susan.

190km remaining from 228km

38km of racing covered and the gap is now at 12:10. The six leaders are working well together with the Europcar duo on the front right now. De Gendt in the break today which is a slight surprise. He's been ill in the opening few stages, his GC aspirations all but over.

 

It's like that he's switched targets though with KOM jersey now his primary objective.  Rolland, back in the bunch will be hoping that his two teammates can thwart the Dutch rider's attempts today.

A slight cross/headwind at the moment but that's not impacting the break as they ride along at 64kph on a slight downhill section.

 

No real reaction from the bunch with Orica setting a steady pace on the front.

Sunny blue skies and temperatures of 23 degrees for the peloton. A far cry from some of the temperatures and conditions we saw at the Giro back  in May.

 

The break have covered just shy of 55 km, with the lead still at around 12 minutes.

Frank Schleck, his ban ends later this month and in an exclusive chat with CN, he has said that he's ready and looking forward to racing. You can read the story right here.

Udo Bolts, the former German rider who used to write the Bolts from the Blue column for Croydon based cycling magazine, has come forward and talked about the pressures of riding in the 90s peloton and doping. Here's the story.

While over in the Tour of Austria, Thor Hushovd has found some form, and won yesterday's stage.

The wind has changed direction and the leaders are enjoying a slight tailwind at the moment.

In other news Jurgen Van den Broeck has talked about his aims and aspirations for a Tour podium place. Lotto has a superb TTT by there standards yesterday. If you ever have the chance to meet Daniel  Friebe he'll recount the time he passed them in a TTT on a folding bike back in 2009 I believe.

 

But van den Broeck is looking solid in the race so far but the big test for him and his GC rivals will come later in the race, in the mountains.

And we've also had a chance to look over Simon  Gerrans Scott TT bike. Here's the write up and the exclusive gallery.

156km remaining from 228km

72km covered and the gap has dropped slightly to 11 minutes, with the bunch passing through Feyance.

The leaders are just under 20 km from the next climb, the fourth cat Col de l'Ange.

We've been racing for two hours, the gap to the six man break is at 11:05 now.

This certainly isn't an easy stage to control so if there's to be a sprint a number of teams will have to cooperate. With Cavendish still suffering from illness a number of teams might fancy their chances against the Omega Pharma sprinter.

144km remaining from 228km

The leaders have covered 84 and the gap is stable, the Orica GreenEDGE squad have sliced around 15 seconds off the break's advantage, which now stands at 10'43.

140km remaining from 228km

140 km to go  now as De Gendt takes a turn on the front with Sicard on his wheel.

Ryder Hesjedal is towards the back of the bunch at the moment and on his own. There's no imminent danger but the Canadian will want to move up.

 

Omega are lining out behind the Orica GreenEDGE team at the moment with Cavendish tucked in at the back.

De Gendt is first to the top of the climb, picking up one solitary point.

The gap has come down to 10 minutes though, with 134km to go.

The punch have strung out now, and Orica are doing all the work on the front. Gerrans is tucked in at around 6th wheel at the moment.

Cannondale, with Sagan still hunting for his first stage win of the race, like all but one of the sprinters, is moving up as well.

GreenEdge, leading the team classification, are all in yellow helmets, a measure introduced last year by ASO.

Hesjedal is still very close to the back of the bunch, riding alongside Hoogerland.

No let up from De Gendt who takes  the maximum points on offer at the intermediate sprint. The peloton are still around 10 minutes down but it will be interesting to see which sprinters compete for the remaining points.

After that sprint the leading 6 reform and get back to work, still with 124km to go.

Steegmans is looking after Cavendish with Matt Goss also close by. Both sprinters really need a boost to keep their green jersey aspirations on track. First and foremost they'll be looking for a stage win to open up their 2013 accounts.

Now Lotto move up for Greipel as the bunch approach the sprint.

Van Poppel is leading out.

Cavendish perhaps a bit boxed in on the Lotto train there but Greipel takes that one, with Sagan then maybe Kristoff ahead of Cavendish.

Sagan in green has now dropped back to the end of the peloton.

Sagan is talking to the occupants of the Cannondale team car. He's taking a bottle and continuing to chat before making his way back to the bunch on his own.

Now Sagan is having his cleats looked at by the Cannodale mechanic.

115km remaining from 228km

With 113 km to go the gap is down to 9'40 with Lotto joining GreenEdge on the front of the peloton.

The peloton have just passed through the feedzone, a good time for the CN blimp to top up on coffee too.

Just over 100k to go and the six leaders are on a slight descent at the moment. The sprinters' teams are starting to get to work though.

 

The break really is up against it though. We've only had one bunch sprint in the race so far and that was disrupted by a crash so the likes of Cavendish, Greipel, Bouhanni, Goss, will be motivated.

Bouhanni is off the back of the peloton at the moment. He's been back to the car and had a can of drink in his back pocket.

Susan back again for a spell.

Sylvain Chavanel is back amongst the team cars, catching a ride behind the Lampre car at the moment.

The sprinters hope to have another chance today, so we see Lotto Belisol and Argos Shimano helping with the chase work.

90km remaining from 228km

90km to go, and the gap is at 8:15.

Arashiro hands teammate Reza a bidon.

The peloton does seem finally to have woken up. It is now strong out single file giving chase. Argos-Shimano and Lotto Belisol's contributions seem to be having an effect, as the gap is now under eitght minutes.

Lots of punctures for RadioShack Leopard. Both Jens Voigt and Andreas Klöden have to stop.

And here is Dan back at the controls!

The six leaders are still plugging away, their advantage still at 7'35. The bunch are still in control of this but they need to keep the momentum up.

As Argos Shimano throw a couple of men towards the front of the bunch. This is probably more of a day for Degenkolb rather than Kittel.

Arashiro wins the point over that last climb as Kloden is still  back with the team car.

Kloden makes it back to the rear of the field with Zubeldia as Argos still position one rider on the front of the peloton.

70km remaining from 228km

70km to go with Sky also moving up towards the front in a bid to keep Froome out of trouble.

64km remaining from 228km

64 km to go and Thomas is off the back and waiting for the team car. The lead to the break is now at 7'18.

Omega haven't moved up yet.

Kloden, twice a podium finisher in the Tour, is now with the medical car and having his injures looked at. He drifts passed Bouhanni who is suffering with a stomach bug according to FDJ.

Sicard has a mechanical and the wheel change takes what feels like an age. He'll have to make a decent effort to chase back  on now.

 

Now it's Thomas's turn to have a mechanical.

Sicard makes it back to the break without too much fuss and then helps to set the pace.

 

54km to go and the gap is down to 6'43.

Thomas meanwhile is coming back through the cars and should be back with the peloton in the next few minutes.

But the hills are starting to take their toll on the riders in the break and De Gendt has pushed on, with Sicard, Reza and Delaplace dropped.

The gap between the two groups is at about 100 meters. Now Reza attacks and Sicard is spent. We could shortly have two  Europcar riders in the lead group.

 

And now we do.

Reza has made contact and now looks back to see if the final two riders can make it back but it's not looking good for Sicard and Delaplace.

The two chasers are at 44 seconds with the bunch at just over six  minutes.The break in the escape will only help to increase the peloton's chances of making the catch today.

Another pro rider has joined us in the CN blimp, Michael Creed. How are you?

CN: What did you make of the news that Ted King missed out on the time cut?

Up ahead the four leaders are driving towards the finish with just over 40km to go.

Creed: "Time Cut is something that has been changed in the past. If that rule had never been bent before, I'd understand. But, this seemed to be a bit harsh."

Meanwhile Argos have moved to the front with more riders and they're being backed by Lotto and even a few Omega jerseys are in the mix having not done too much work so far on the front. The gap to the leaders is down to 4'57.

The leaders are about to start on the final categorised climb of the day.

Lotto realise that they need to take the stage by the scruff of the neck because Cavendish isn't yet positioning too many of this troops near the front.

CN : have you been impressed with the racing so far? what's stood out for you?

Creed: Bakelants win was great. And he's a bit of a jokester, so that provided a bit of entertainment.The bus incident was amazing too. I think its great that every stage has the possibility to create a story we talk about for the rest of the year. Unlike, 90% of other races.

35km remaining from 228km

35km to go and the gap is now down to 4'30. The climb is 5.7km long and that's where the gap has to drop dramatically but the sprinters' teams can't push too hard in case they drop their main men.

CN: We've heard you're making a podcast now. What can you tell us about that?

 

Creed: I've always noticed that my friends don't come off great in a lot of interviews. People take stuff out of context or they can't hear the inflection or cadence of their speech. And sometimes they get attacked or judged for it. So, I wanted to show how awesome a lot of these people are. So I sit down with friends and just have a conversation. It's not a interview, I'm not a journalist. And I'm not going to try and get the bottom of things. Its just a conversation

The four leaders start the climb with a lead of 3'56. They've been out there since almost the start of the stage and there are a few shoulders starting to rock.

Sicard is about to be caught by the bunch. Delaplace too.

CN: Sounds interesting. Finally who is your tip for today?

Creed: I'm not sure of the route. But I think it would be real cool to see Cavendish post up with the british champ jersey.

The peloton are now on the climb and Omega have started to make their presence felt at the front of the bunch.

The four leaders are 1km to go from the summit of the climb with the lead at 3'25.

GreenEDGE have taken up the chase now and with 25km to go the gap is at 2'52.

This could be close in terms of the catch. The four leaders are working well as De Gendt gives his legs a shack while at the back of the group.

We're heading towards an uncategorised climb close to the finish, with Omega now on the front and trying to bring the escape group back.

 

The four leaders are on a downhill section and this will certainly help their chances.

22km remaining from 228km

Just over 22km to go and the gap is still at 2'20.

The bunch strike back and take off another 10 seconds in less than half a km. It's touch and go but the bunch should do it.

Reza attacks from the group and De Gendt hunts him down and we have four leaders again.

The leader can't afford to play any games at this stage.

The gap is 2'02 with 19km to go.

 

Gilbert is close to the front and his helping Cadel Evans move out of trouble. Thomas has been dropped but he's certainly not alone.

Cannondale haven't tried to drop any of the sprinters today as AG2R come to the front.

De Gendt meanwhile is setting the pace at the front of the lead group. The gap is 1'50 with 18km to go.

Arashiro attacks. It's a bold move but it's not quite worked for the Europcar rider and it's all back together. Reza needs to strike now.

Contador has also moved towards the front of the race with the four leaders 16km from the finish with just 1'37 on the bunch now.

No sign from the back of the bunch in terms of sprinters dropped.

QuickStep are on the front so it's probably fair to assume Cavendish is in the bunch.

 

And there's a huge crash.

QuickStep are on the front so it's probably fair to assume Cavendish is in the bunch.

 

And there's a huge crash.

Gerrans is safely through but that was close to the front adn Rolland was caught up.

Last rider on the deck is from Garmin, Vande Velde I think.

About a dozen riders came down there. Rolland is off the back too but he's coming back. 

15km remaining from 228km

15km to go for the leaders. Apparently Vande Velde is back up and chasing.

Argos or keeping the pace high in the peloton and the gap is down to 1'14.

Now it's a 1'09.

The bunch can see its prey up ahead on the long flat run in.

Sagan and Cannodale are grouping together as Rolland makes contact with the peloton again.

The gap is now 41 seconds.

Now 39 with 13km to go.

Vichot is on the front right now in the French national champions jersey.

12km to go and the gap is down to 19 seconds.

Lutsenko attacks and Reza goes with him.

It's the long run in to the finish and Omega are on the front.

10km remaining from 228km

10 to go and Chavanel takes up the pace setting on the front of the bunch.

All of Omega are now on the front and controlling the field. Cavendish is at the end of the train with the two leaders just 17 seconds clear with 7.4km to go. Now it's 15 seconds.

Cavendish, Sagan, Greipel, all here.

Tony Martin himself is on the front as Canndonale moves up but they're not as organised yet as Omega.

Just 10 seconds for the two leaders.

Lotto push their way into contention as Reza sits up but it won't be long until it's all back together.

5km to go and we're all back together for the sprint.

All the sprint trains are trying to find their pace and line but Omega look the strongest at the moment on the left hand side of the road.

3km to go.

Vacansoleil and Euskaltel are in the mix too now.

Here come Omega again.

Greenedge too as Chavanel leads.

2km to go.

And Lotto launch their sprint.

Lotto are in control for now.

Cavendish looks a bit too far back.

Lotto vs Omega.

Omega now lead.

Steegmans leads.

And Cavendish takes it.

But there's a huge crash at the line with Gilbert in there.

What a great sprint though. With 1000 metres to go Lotto and Omega locked horns but it was Cavendish's team who moved into pole position with 800 to go and then Steegmans opened up a perfect leadout.
 

Then Cavendish was on the front and had enough to hold off the challenge from Greipel and Sagan.

Boasson Hagen was well positioned and takes second on the stage, then Sagan, Griepel, and Ferrari for the top five.

 

 

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 5:31:51
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
4 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
5 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
7 Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel Euskadi
8 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit) Garmin-Sharp
9 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun
10 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team

Smart riding from Cavendish and Omega today. They didn't commit too much to the early chase but had the numbers in the end.

Trentin rode very well as well, swinging off just before Steegmans.

Cavendish now on the podium for the first time in this year's race. He's narrowed Sagan's lead in the points competition to boot.

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 5:31:51
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
4 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
5 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
7 Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel Euskadi
8 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit) Garmin-Sharp
9 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun
10 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
11 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
12 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
13 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
14 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
15 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge

Now it's Gerrans who steps onto the podium, doing enough to keep the yellow jersey.

General classification after stage 5

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
2 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
3 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:01
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:03
7 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
8 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling
9 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:09
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our race report, images and results, right here.

Thanks for joining us and tune in tomorrow for more complete live coverage from the race.

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