Andre Greipel surged late for the second successive day to claim the fifth stage of the Tour de France. Lotto rider Greipel finished fastest to claim the sprint finish in a carbon copy of his win on Wednesday at the end of the 196.5 kilometre run from Rouen to Saint-Quentin.
Swiss rider Fabian Cancellera held onto the leader’s yellow jersey by seven seconds from Briton Bradley Wiggins with Australia’s defending champion Cadel Evans in seventh, at 17sec.
Andre Geipel says: ““Again I’m really, really happy. That was one of the hardest sprints I’ve ever done in my career. I don’t know how I managed to get back up to the front group because somehow I could avoid the crash of Farrar. And then Henderson was waiting for me and the Lotto-Belisol train was working perfectly again. I think there was some good bike handling; you can see from the footage that Farrar did… well, I don’t know what he did – if there is no space, you cannot get through a gap. But somehow I could stay on my bike even though both my feet were clipped out of the pedals. What can I say? It was just lucky.
“Avoiding crashes is a mix of luck and the efforts of my team-mates who try to make sure we are in the right place by riding in the front. “It cannot get better than this.
“The team set up the sprint for me and I just had some power left.
“On Monday the team already showed that we are there, that we are competitive and we can win no matter who is there. Today was a really nice sprint.”
On the road and for the second time in 24 hours there was a multi-bike pile-up less than three kilometres from the finish in which one of the victims was Slovakian champion Peter Sagan, winner of the first and third stages.
An escape of four riders went during the first kilometer, only to be brought back in the final 200m of the stage, what an effort. Its always quite sad when when these guys give it there all for the entire stage just to be caught so close to the end.
Tomorrow is another stage for the sprinters, and I think we will see Mark Cavendish try take one back over Greipel. Its going to be an interesting 207.5km.