Stage 5: Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille, 228.5km
Climbs, crashes and competitors be damned: Mark Cavendish donned his skinsuit, his team committed themselves to getting him in position and et voila! Tour stage number 24, merci beaucoup.
The peloton let a breakaway of six – Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil=DCM), Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) and Kevin Reza (Europcar) – go early on and then let Orica-GreenEDGE ride out front for most of the day.
The stage started to get eventful with 32km to go and a three-minute gap to the break, when Argos-Shimano and Lotto-Belisol started to drill it on the front. With the pace high and the peloton skittish, nearly 20 riders went down like dominoes at the 16km mark, including Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp), Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano). Dusted off and back on the bikes, the peloton swallowed up the last of the breakaway riders, Lutsenko, and then proceeded a nervy game of watch and wait.
Things got serious once the trains went under the flamme rouge, with seven OPQS riders leading the charge to the line. Before you could blink, Cav came off the wheel of Gert Steegmans to take his first win of the 2013 Tour, blowing away Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
VeloVoices rider of the day
It’s not to be underestimated how hard it is to win one stage of the Tour de France. With the guys committing like that, to help me on every little climb, it really does give you something extra.
It traditionally takes him until stage five to start winning [it’s the fourth time in six years he’s opened his account on stage five – Ed] but once he starts, there’s usually no stopping him. Mark Cavendish said himself that he still wasn’t anywhere near 100% from his bout of bronchitis, but that didn’t stop him winning at a canter here.
This win puts him fourth in the list of most stage wins in the Tour – and he’s young enough to make a charge for the line that one Eddy Merckx has set at 34 stage wins.
Opinion & analysis
Just when we thought the green jersey competition might be a damp squib, the blazing win by the British national champion took him from 17th place to 2nd with 76 points to Peter Sagan’s 111. It will still be a big ask for Cavendish to get within real striking distance of the maillot vert as all Sagan needs to do is do what’s he done the last few days – come second or third in the sprints to pick up valuable points and limit the damage of any Cav stage wins. However, tomorrow’s sixth stage – flat with just one small , early climb – at least offers Cavendish the opportunity to further close the gap.
Stage 5 result
1. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) 5:31:51
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) same time
3. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) s/t
4. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) s/t
5. Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) s/t
1. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) 18:19:15
2. Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE) same time
3. Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) s/t
4. Michal Kwaitkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +0:01
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +0:01
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) +0:03
7. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:03
8. Richie Porte (Sky) +0:03
9. Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) +0:09
10. Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) +0:09
Green jersey: Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
Polka dot jersey: Pierre Rolland (Europcar).
White jersey: Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
Team classification: Orica-GreenEDGE.
Link: Official website