Win for Cavendish on Stage 5 of the Tour de France

Britain’s Mark Cavendish has won the fifth stage of the Tour de France in a big bunch gallop defeating Belgium’s Phillip Gilbert and JJ Rojas with Geraint Thomas also in the mix.

It was lucky stage five for Mark Cavendish as he yet again opened his account for the year’s Tour de France on the fifth stage, just as he has done in previous years. The Isle of Man rider has in a few short years eclipsed the Tour de France palmeres of all the best sprinters of the modern era and will soon for sure be the most successful sprinter of all time.

His victory came after a crazy fast last hour of racing where, after the day’s break had been caught, two riders clipped off the front, French rider Thomas Voeckler and Dutchman and Jeremy Roy. With the big name teams controlling the front of the peloton for their respective team leaders, the leading duo held their lead until the closing kilometres where Voeckler was the most stubborn at coming back to the clutches of the peloton.

He was however brought back in the final two kilometres with HTC giving their man Cavendish the best armchair ride they could in the hurly burly world of a bunch kick. Martin kept the speed high on the super fast descent before Team Sky’s Boasson Hagen, second to Thomas in the young rider competition came past him and Thomas also had a go on the tough uphill finish only to watch his old Academy teammate, Cavendish, come off his wheel and race to victory, yet again putting any doubters to the sword and recording yet another victory, his 16th in the Tour de France.

Thomas who had not intentionally lead out Cav, said on Twitter  It’s true, “@MarkCavendish  & me are good mates. But I only lead him out when we wear GB jerseys!! He just knows the good wheels to follow ;)”

Cavendish meanwhile exclaimed after his victory on Twitter – “Wow, that wasn’t a finish I can call easy! 200m thought I was racing for 3rd. Team were incredible to keep me sheltered on a hard day.  That was proper hard, my legs were going at the end. I am really happy with that.” 

“I think what the organisers have done this year is to make it harder to have a proper bunch sprint and I think that is because we dominiated them last year. They have tried to handicap the sprints this year and that wasn’t a bunch sprint, that was hard, real hard at the finish.”

“I’m just passionate about my sport, I love to win and the team gave it everything today to make sure I could get to the line first,” Cavendish said, “There are a lot of difficult finishes this year and not so many bunch sprints, so I had to make sure I got this one, I had to be resilient.” “On top of that I’ve had some difficult starts to the big Tours, that was only different in 2009, but that’s just my character, not something to get obsessed with.”

“We put every other race on the backfoot to be sure we’re in top condition for the Tour and that paid off today, that’s why we win.” Cavendish has now taken twenty-six Grand Tour stage wins, including two stages of the Giro in 2011, as well sixty-seven wins on the road since turning pro in 2007. The HTC-Highroad men’s squad has racked up forty-one victories this season alone, making it the most successful WorldTour team of 2011.

@Mark_Renshaw meanwhile, Cav’s leadout man, said on Twitter “Today was very sketchy. Im sure it looked great on tv but it was bloody dangerous”.

It was a tough stage with riders crashing out and Team Sky’s overall contender Wiggins involved in a crash over 100 kilometres from the finish where he had to change bikes before being paced back to the bunch by his Sky teammates. “It was mad – the worst stage so far and I’m relieved it’s over now,” said Wiggins afterwards on Team Sky’s website. “It was a really, really horrible stage. I didn’t really crash that hard; I sort of crashed behind the crash and just bent my handlebars and brakes and things like that.”

@swiftybswift meanwhile said on Twitter, “Crazy day in the TDF after 3 days of near misses I finally went down today. Soft landing in the verge though. Great sprint by Cav. Tried to do my job best I could & helped Eddie to move up in the final few km’s just ran out of legs to help in that last km”

Previous Stages

Result – Stage 5
1. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad
2. Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas, Movistar Team
4. Tony Gallopin, Cofidis
5. Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling
6. André Greipel, Omega Pharma-Lotto
7. Sébastien Hinault, AG2R La Mondiale
8. William Bonnet, FDJ
9. Daniel Oss, Liquigas-Cannondale
10. Thor Hushovd, Garmin-Cervelo
11. Cadel Evans, BMC

18. Bradley Wiggins, Sky
40. David Millar, Garmin
104. Ben Swift, Sky

1. Thor Hushovd, Garmin-Cervelo
2. Cadel Evans, BMC @ 1 sec
3. Frank Schleck, Lepoard Trek  @ 4 secs
4. David Millar, Garmin Cervelo  @ 8 secs
5. Andreas Kloden, Radioshack @ 10 secs
6. Bradley Wiggins, Sky @ 10 secs
7. Geraint Thomas, Sky, @ 12 secs
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky, @12 secs
9. Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek @ 12 secs
10. Jakob Fugslang, HTC Highroad @ 13 secs

46. Ben Swift, Sky, @2.06
81. Mark Cavendish, HTC Highroad @4.22

Young Rider
1. Geraint Thomas, Sky

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