SAN DIEGO, July 3, 2013 – Stage 5 of the 2013 Tour de France provided a changeup for the riders and fans after Tuesday’s blistering team time trial. The 142 mile route through southern France from Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille provided beautiful scenery and the potential for one of those early go-for-broke breakways, where a group of riders hopes for their one bit of glory and fame on the Tour.
But the sprinters haven’t much chance for glory yet, so it was no surprise that an early breakway in the race was brought back so the speed demons could fight to contest the stage win at the finish line.
And contest it they did, with the “Manx Missile” Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma Quickstep, showing how he earned his nickname, getting his first stage victory of 2013. He got the perfect lead out from his teammate Geert Steegmans, which allowed him to blast past his rivals Peter Sagan of Cannondale, Andre Greipel of Lotto-Belisol and former Sky teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen. Cavendish now has 24 stage victories overall, fourth all time in Tour history.
Cavendish embraced his teammates in celebration and gratitude after the finish.“The pressure is now off, for sure because we’ve won a stage of the Tour de France. It would have been nice to win yesterday but it’s not to be underestimated how hard it is to get one stage win on this race.
“I didn’t feel great today but when the guys are committed like they were – not just in the final, but all the way today – it’s important to pay them back. They show their motivation by riding themselves into the ground and, like I always say, that really does give you something extra … If I’d lost that sprint, I really wasn’t paying the lads back. They were incredible … I’m super happy.”
Six riders made a breakaway attempt just a few miles after the start of the race. For well over 100 miles, the riders held off the peloton by as much as six minutes. Four riders held on, led by Thomas De Gendt of Belgium riding for Vacansoleil-DCM and Yukiya Arashiro of Japan riding for Team Europcar, one of the few Asian riders in the Tour. But they were caught up with perfect precision by the peloton with just four kilomters to go to the finish.
DeGendt said after the race, “On paper this was a day for the sprinters but as I studied the profile in the roadbook a little closer it became clear that it was actually quite a tough day … The last 40 kilometres are absolutely not flat, so the chance existed that I could have come out with a result from an early attack. Ultimately, after 220km of racing, you don’t always feel quite right. Still, we all tried to the end. It’s a shame that the peloton chased us down but… well, if you don’t try, you don’t know.”
There was a crash due to a touch of wheels in the peloton 10 miles from the finish, and a more serious crash right at the finish line behind the sprinters, with several riders getting scrapes and bruises.
The overall lead and the yellow jersey stayed for the third day with the Australian team Orica Greenedge on rider Simon Gerrans, a real triumph for this young team from Down Under.
No change in the specialists jerseys. Despite the stage win by Cavendish, Peter Sagan wears the sprinters green jersey, and Marcel Kwiatkowski is in white as the best young rider. Pierre Rolland remains the King of the Mountains, Team Orica Greenedge is holding the team lead.
Stage 6 might be considered one of those transitions stages, a bit of a placeholder after the long stage on Wednesday and the team time trial the previous day, and leading into mountain stages in the Pyrenees ahead. Because the sprinters have missed a few chances for glory, they will likely contest the stage on Thursday.
Orica-Greenedge has a sprinter as well as the yellow jersey so it’s natural that the Australian team will be at the front of the pack in stage six. There is a chance that Daryl Impey could take the yellow jersey from Simon Gerrans. If the South African rider finishes eight places ahead of the Australian, he would become the first from his country to lead the Tour de France.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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