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Tour de Suisse 2011: Stage 5

Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews coverage of stage five of the Tour de Suisse. The 204.5km stage from Huttwil – Tobel-Tägerschen is expected to end with a sprint finish.

The stage includes several minor climbs but is expected to end in a sprint finish.

The riders have covered 125km of the stage under a warm sun and dry conditions.

Yesterday world champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) won the stage, beating Peter Sagan (Cannondale-Liquigas) in the sprint, to take his first win in the rainbow jersey. You can read about his win and see a gallery of photographs here.

The racing today has been quite tame with an early breakaway of four riders going clear after just a few kilometres. The peloton was happy to let them quickly open a gap.

The four adventurers of the day are Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank), Alessandro Bazzana (Type 1), Jan Barta (NetApp) and Daniel Sesma (Euskatel-Euskadi).

74km remaining from 204km

The current gap between the quartet ajnd the peloton is 4:20.

Sesma is the best placed rider overall but he is 22:19 and so no threat to Damiano Cunego's overall lead.

The lead of the four hit ten minutes after just 30km of the stage but since then Liquigas-Cannondale and Team Sky have been on the front leading the chase.

Omega Pharma-Lotto has also done its share of the work for Andre Griepel, hoping the German sprinter can find his fast finish after a so-far disappointing season.

We've already had a couple of retirements today. Giro d'Italia stage winner Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) did not start due to his facial injuries he incurred in a post-stage one crash. He was riding to his hotel but hit a speed bump and landed on the left side of his face.

Fellow Italian Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale) has also retired mid-stage.

59km remaining from 204km

The peloton has closed the gap slightly but is palying a classic game of cat and mouse. 

The Tour de Suisse is the traditional final stage race for riders building towards the Tour de France. However the Ster KLM Toer also stsarts today in the Netherlands.

The Tour de Suisse is the traditional final stage race for riders building towards the Tour de France. However the Ster KLM Toer also starts today in the Netherlands.

The Tour de Suisse is the traditional final stage race for riders building towards the Tour de France. However the Ster KLM Toer also starts today in the Netherlands.

Many of the Tour de France contenders not in Switerland are currnetly at training camp. David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) is camped up in the Pyrenees not far from his base in Gerona, while several Astana riders are in St Moritz, Switzerland and or just over the border in Livigno Italy.

Many of the Tour de France contenders not in Switerland are currently at training camp. David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) is camped up in the Pyrenees not far from his base in Gerona, while several Astana riders are in St Moritz, Switzerland and or just over the border in Livigno Italy.

Many of the Tour de France contenders not in Switerland are currently at training camps. David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) is high up in the Pyrenees not far from his base in Gerona, while several Astana riders are in St Moritz, Switzerland and or just over the border in Livigno Italy.

Many of the Tour de France contenders not in Switerland are currently at training camps. David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) is high up in the Pyrenees not far from his base in Gerona, while several Astana riders are in St Moritz, Switzerland and or just over the border in Livigno Italy.

Many of the Tour de France contenders not in Switerland are currently at training camps. David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) is high up in the Pyrenees not far from his base in Gerona, while several Astana riders are in St Moritz, Switzerland and or just over the border in Livigno Italy.

Alberto Contador is currently in the Alps. Richie Porte is with him and told Cyclingnews here that he is riding L'Alpe d'Huez for the first time today. 

40km remaining from 204km

The breakaway is just 40km from the finish now and is  passing thorugfh the finish of today's stage. The final 200m rises gradually and should throw in an extra factor to the sprint.

The peloton is now passing through the finish and is no doubt noticing how narrow the finish is. 

The next hour of racing is set to be fast and in crescendo as the sprinters and their teams fight for victory.

35km remaining from 204km

The break is now just 1:40 ahead of the peloton, as Bazzana goes clear alone by a few seconds

The four are now back together but Sesma is struggling to hang on.

172km remaining from 204km

The four are now attacking each other, trying to take the final moments of television glory. Barta has now had a dig.

Bert Grabsche (HTC-Highroad) is now on the front, churning a big gear in pursuit of the break.

Race television os now showing some great on bike images.

The camera is pointing backwards with the rider's rear wheel spinnig andshowing just how close the riders are in the bunch.

Who is your favourite to win the sprint?

 

These are the big favourites: Mark Cavendish (HTC), Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Koldo Fernandez (EUS), Gerald Ciolek and Tom Boonen (QKSP), Matti Breschel and Oskar Freire (RAB), Ben Swift and Greg Henderson (SKY), Robbie MacEwen and Robert Hunter (RAD).

Garmin-Cervelo and Team Sky are also helping in the chase of the break.

26km remaining from 204km

Barta is on the last little climb of the circuit. It could cause a few splits in the peloton.

Garmin-Cervelo is riding to set-up Hushovd for a second stage win.

21km remaining from 204km

Euskaltel-Euskadi is on the front, leading the chase. They will be riding to set up Koldo Fernandez

The gap to the break is just 50 seconds now.

Ouch. The peloton is lined out as HTC-highroad lead the chase. Peter Velits took a tumble but is still doing his turn on the front.

Barta is still going for it furiously up front but the peloton is on his trial.

Bazzan is now hanging onto the back of the peloton after his long breakaway.

14km remaining from 204km

All together. Barta has now been caught.

Euskaltel-Euskadi are again on the front, mixing turns with Garmin-Cervelo riders. 

11km remaining from 204km

A sharp right turn has reshuffled the pack.

Here comes BMC, as HTC wait before giving it there are.

BMC has four riders on the front, including George Hincapie.

Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) is wearing the green sprinter's jersey and must be a favourite today.

8km remaining from 204km

A high-speed ruondabout lines out the pack even more. The speed is super high now.

The peloton is one long line, with some gaps appearing in the line.

BMC, HTC and Omega Pharma mixing it on the front.

5km remaining from 204km

Alan Perez Lezaun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has attacked but is hanging off the front of the peloton.

HTC is now on the front and have decided to take charge.

HTC has four riders in team pursuit formation.

Other riders are trying to take Cavendish's wheel.

Team Sky has hijacked the HTC lead out and taken over. 

Hushovd is also up there.

There are few bumps and hand offs.

2km remaining from 204km

Here come Euskaltel again.

This is tight and nasty.

Quick Step on the front.

left turn!

1km remaining from 204km

Boonen has gone very early on the uphill finish.

Sagan and hushovd and Goss all close.

A Vacansoleil rider is clear.

Phew... that was close.

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) almost caught the Vacnasoleil rider but instead it was Bozic (Vacansoleil) who came off his wheel to snatch the victory.

Bozic could hardly believe he'd won.

Top three:

1 Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale

The sprint finish was hectic and high speed after Tom Boonen took a flyer. 

 

Mark Cavendish (HTC) seemed to lose his lead out and the riders were all over the road.

According to provisional results Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) was fourth in the sprint.

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) kept the overall race lead, 54 ahead of Mauricio Soler (Movistar).

Provisional stage results:

1 Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 4:44:48
2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
4 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad
5 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
6 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
7 Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard Trek
9 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
10 Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling
 

General classification after stage 5

1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD
2 Juan Mauricio Soler (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:54
3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:16
4 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:19
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad 0:01:21
6 Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:01:25
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:01:32
8 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha Team 0:01:53
9 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:00
10 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack 0:02:10

That's all from the Cyclingnews live coverage from the Tour de Suisse.

We'll have a full report and photo gallery of all the action shortly on Cyclingnews.

Join us tomorrow for live coverage of Thursday's sixth stage. It finishes in Triesenberg, in Liechtenstein, with a steep climb to the line. It will surely shake up the overall standings of the race.

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