93rd Tour de France - ProT
France, July 1-23, 2006
Results & report
Stage 5 - Thursday, July 6: Beauvais-Caen, 225 km
Live Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Anthony Tan
and Brecht Decaluwé
Live coverage starts: 11:40 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:10 CEST
A few minutes before
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
After almost a week of racing, there
are bound to be some tired legs in Le Tour and Stage 5 across the the lumpy,
bumpy little roads of Normandy to Caen, the home of tasty tripe and le Trou
Normand. One could see a break with newly crowned French champ Flo Brard staving
off the onslaught of sprinters' teams in the finale. But not likely.
Welcome to sunny Beauvais for our
blimp-powered live coverage of the fifth stage of the Tour de France. As usual
in the Tour's first week, today's stage is another one for the flatlanders,
with just a few small climbs to break the monotony as we head almost due west
After 10.5 km, we've got the Mont des Fourches
(Cat. 4, 2.4 km), then at km 109 we meet the Côte du Buquet (Cat. 4, 3.1 km).
At km 134.5, we strike the Côte de Saint-Grégoire-du-Vièvre (Cat. 4, 3.2 km),
and finally at km 159, the Côte du Boulay (Cat. 4, 1.6 km) greets us. The day's
three intermediate sprints are at Les Andelys (km 66.5), Saint-Georges-Du-Vievre
(km 140.5), and Pont-L'Evêque (km 175.0).
The weather? Sunny and
warm, with temps in the mid-20s, but there's a chance of thunderstorms later.
Today's stage starts with a few kilometres
of neutral riding out of Beauvais, a fairly ancient town that has been established
for more than 1700 years. But there's not much time for sightseeing, unfortunately,
as we're already on our way out.
Huge crowds cheer the riders out
of Beauvais and the riders complete their 5.6 km before the flag drops. There's
almost no wind today, so it should be easy for the bunch to stick together.
11:59 CEST 3km/222km to go
The flag was dropped
at 11:54 Central European Summer Time, and stage 5 is go! 172 riders are still
in the race, with no non-starters after yesterday.
12:04 CEST 6km/219km to go
The peloton sticks
together over the early part of the stage, enjoying the slightly cooler conditions
today. It's the fourth 200+ km stage in a row, and there's no need to hurry.
Julian Dean (Credit Agricole) is
starting today after his tumble in the sprint yesterday. The New Zealander has
abrasions on his right thigh and leg, but was able to start.
12:08 CEST 8km/217km to go
The bunch is at the
foot of the Mont des Fourches, still compact. We can expect a few mini-fireworks
on this climb as mountains leader Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues), David De La Fuente
(Saunier Duval) and Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) fight it out for the pickings.
With some smart riding today, Pineau should be able to keep the spotty jersey.
The first attack comes from Christophe
Laurent (Agritubel), who is chased by Bram De Groot (Rabobank), Arnaud Coyot
(Cofidis), Bernhard Eisel (Française des Jeux) and Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues).
12:12 CEST 9km/216km to go
Patrice Halgand (CA)
and Cedric Vasseur (Quick.Step) catch the break of five on the climb.
12:15 CEST 10km/215km to go
The break is annulled
by the Bouygues Telecom team, who want to keep things together for Pineau.
12:17 CEST 12km/213km to go
And it's all Bouygues,
all the time, as Pineau takes the 3 points atop the Fourches ahead of teammates
Pierrick Fedrigo and Anthony Geslin. He's almost done enough today already to
keep the polka dots.
12:18 CEST 13km/212km to go
and gets a gap on the descent. He is chased by Matej Mugerli (Liquigas) and
Stephane Auge (Cofidis).
12:21 CEST 18km/207km to go
Geslin is only 10
seconds ahead of the bunch, which has swallowed Auge and Mugerli. The Frenchman
gives up too.
12:25 CEST 21km/204km to go
The bunch takes approximately
1 minute to pass by Jamericourt, a tiny village in Picardie. Now there is more
attacking going on. Who can get into the break?
12:30 CEST 25km/200km to go
The break grows to
eight riders: Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-Prevoyance), Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner),
Bram De Groot (Rabobank), Bram Tankink (Quick-Step-Innergetic), Daniele Righi
(Lampre-Fondital), Stéphane Auge (Cofidis), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Björn
Schröder (Milram). They attacked at km 20 and now have 25 seconds on the bunch.
12:31 CEST 28km/197km to go
Of the eight, Seppel
Lang is the best placed on GC, starting the day at 1'35 behind Tom Boonen in
97th place. So, this could be the one that works.
12:36 CEST 30km/195km to go
The gap is now half
a minute - still enough for the peloton to close, but it's getting to that point
where no-one will be able to bridge across. They fly through Gisors and are
now in Haute-Normandie.
12:38 CEST 34km/191km to go
It's all flat farmland
around here, and there aren't too many trees to provide shelter. Fortunately
it's neither windy nor super hot.
The eight leaders sit 26 seconds
ahead of the bunch. Still touch and go.
12:41 CEST 35km/190km to go
Two teams have missed
the break: Credit Agricole and Bouygues Telecom. They're the ones responsible
for chasing it hard at the moment. The gap comes back to 17 seconds.
Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen was the
first rider since Greg Lemond to wear the yellow jersey while being world champion.
At the same time, he was able to ride through his own country. "It was really
special, extraordinary!" Boonen told Cyclingnews at the start. "Next
year, we’re back in Belgium and I think I might try to take the yellow jersey
again, because it’s a really special feeling."
So far, this Tour
de France delivered in green and yellow jerseys, but still there isn’t a stage
victory for Boonen. "I'm just missing some luck. I'm strong enough but it’s
always something that keeps me away from a victory. For example yesterday, the
sprint starts from behind and that’s not good for me. When you're in front in
the last kilometre, in a normal sprint you're at least second of third. Now,
for three times already, the winner is attacking from fifteenth or twentieth
position; which is only possible because the speed isn’t that high. We can adapt
to that situation with a new tactic, but everyday is different of course."
12:46 CEST 37km/188km to go
The break reduces
in size as Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-Prevoyance) and Björn Schröder (Milram) attack,
and now hold 12 seconds over the bunch, which has caught the rest.
12:49 CEST 42km/183km to go
Dumoulin and Schröder
have 35 seconds now as they head into Vesly. The chase has eased, partly because
Dumoulin is the best on GC at 3'52 (123rd overall.
12:51 CEST 44km/181km to go
Bang, they're gone.
The two up front, who were part of the earlier break of eight, now have a handy
1'15 over the peloton, which had pegged them back to 12 seconds at one stage.
It pays to be persistent.
12:56 CEST 47km/178km to go
The gap continues
to grow - 3'00 - as the lead pair get to within 20 km of the day's first intermediate
sprint. For the front two, the points and seconds (6/4/2 points/seconds for
top 3) won't matter, because neither of them are green jersey contendahs or
are in the hunt for yellow. But the two remaining seconds on offer could see
the sprinters in the peloton have a go at it.
13:03 CEST 51km/174km to go
The peloton settles
back into cruise control as Dumoulin and Schröder get 3'35 ahead. Dumoulin will
be maillot jaune virtuel soon, but that won't likely bother Boonen and
13:06 CEST 54km/171km to go
The lead jumps to
5'30, which now puts Dumoulin into that prestigious imaginary jersey. Schröder
is effectively second on GC, as he started the day 5'21 behind.
13:12 CEST 57km/168km to go
Another 10 km to
the bustling town of Les Andelys, the site of today's first sprint. The smallest
rider in the race, Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-Prevoyance), is working hard with Björn
Schröder (Milram) to keep increasing their lead. Schröder is probably cursing
himself for not choosing a better breakaway companion to draft behind.
km were raced in the first hour.
Any best on the maximum lead today?
The gap is now 6'40.
13:18 CEST 66.5km/158.5km to go
The two leaders
are now edging up to over seven minutes, with just 5 km to go before Les Andelys,
where it's all happening.
13:23 CEST 65km/160km to go
2 km from the sprint,
Dumoulin and Schröder are eight minutes clear of the bunch, which hasn't gotten
itself into chase mode yet. Quick.Step's Wilfried Cretskens worked a lot yesterday,
and wasn't looking forward to this stage. "I'm not going to work in front of
the peloton for 200 kilometres," he told us. "We’ll have to see what happens."
Working hard pays off when there is a victory, though. "The Belgian press is
putting on some pressure because we didn't have a stage victory just yet. But
we did win the yellow and green jersey already. Still, it would make us happy
of course, but there are lots of chances left in this Tour de France."
Christopher from Copenhagen reckons
that the maximum lead will be 18 minutes at 132 km to go. Hmm, we'll see. I
don't think they'll get that much!
13:29 CEST 67km/158km to go
It's Dumoulin who
takes the 6 points and 6 bonus seconds at Les Andelys, with Schröder second.
That means if Dumoulin is caught and manages to finish in the same time as the
winner today, he will move himself up from 123rd to 122nd on the general classification.
It's the little things that count.
13:32 CEST 73km/152km to go
John from Australia
believes that the breakaways will get to a maximum of 15'00. The last time check
My own guess: 11'30.
13:36 CEST 75km/150km to go
(Davitamon) has attacked the peloton to try to snaffle third place in the sprint.
It's likely not for his own chances, but as a spoiler move to prevent either
Hushovd, Bennati or Boonen from taking third, and allowing Robbie McEwen to
rest easy. McEwen typically doesn't go for the intermediate sprints.
Vansummeren is third at 8'40, then
Rogers (who could have taken the maillot jaune) another 40 seconds back, with
the peloton at 9'40.
13:39 CEST 77km/148km to go
Rogers sits up and
goes back to the bunch. Fourth isn't good enough for time bonuses. But Vansummeren
got a minute's lead, so he might continue. Nope, he too goes back to the bunch,
which trails the lead duo by 9'30.
13:41 CEST 78km/147km to go
The peloton ambles
along for a bit longer, and the leaders manage to get another minute's advantage:
10'20 is the latest time check. They've still got a long way to defend that
The lead stabilises as Dumoulin requires
a new bike, and of course Schröder waits for him.
13:48 CEST 81km/144km to go
Now it's on the up
again. 11'50. So much for my prediction!
Sean, from India at the
moment, predicts it will hit 12'40, and that Boonen's best chance of victory
might be a solo attack, a la Flanders. That mightn't be as crazy as it sounds,
as the speed in the final kilometres has not been that high. But Boonen will
surely be a marked man in that yellow jersey.
By the way, in case it wasn't clear
from the results yesterday, Thor Hushovd was relegated from 4th place to 148th
place for "irregular sprinting". When his teammate Julian Dean hit the deck
in the final few hundred metres, Thor was on the left with Bernhard Eisel on
his left. Thor moved closer to the barriers, and Eisel got squeezed,
so the judges decided to relegate Thor. That changed the points classification,
meaning that Boonen should only be 9 points behind McEwen for the green jersey
(by my back of the envelope calculation performed last night).
13:56 CEST 87km/138km to go
Dumoulin and Schröder
(or Schröder and Dumoulin if you prefer) are rolling across Normandy, keeping
up a good tempo in the perfect weather conditions. They've now hit 12'10, and
it keeps going up.
14:03 CEST 91km/134km to go
It's fairly quiet
out here in the countryside, which is dominated by farmland. It's almost too
quiet. Most of the towns that the race passes through are quite small, with
populations of under 1000. Next stop: La Vallée, then the rather bigger town
of Elbeuf (pop. 17202, about to increase for a few minutes).
14:09 CEST 94km/131km to go
Phil from Canberra,
Australia, wonders about Michael Rogers' chances of taking the yellow today.
Well, he certainly does have a chance, as he is only 1 second behind the lead
of Tom Boonen. He'd have to take third in either one of the two intermediate
sprints coming up to do that. And he'd have to have quite a few other things
go his way too, such as anyone within striking distance of GC not placing in
the top 3 of the stage.
It's likely that Rogers will save it for
Saturday's time trial, but there are a number of other contenders for yellow
too. David Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Paolo Savoldelli, Floyd Landis, Serguei
Gonchar, David Millar, Bobby Julich, and Levi Leipheimer all have half decent
12'50 is the gap.
14:13 CEST 97km/128km to go
We're now heading
into Elbeuf, which is one of the bigger towns en route. The race has been following
the Seine for a while, crossing it once, but now it leaves it behind. No "in
Seine" jokes please.
The average speed after two hours
is 42.9 km/h, which is fairly respectable (and not insane) for a day like today.
14:18 CEST 100km/125km to go
Quick.Step is now
doing a bit of chasing, bringing the gap back from 12'50 to 12'25. Hmm, looks
like Sean from India at the moment got the closest guess to the maximum gap.
He picked it as 12'40. We'll see if it goes up any further though.
Wilfried Cretskens will be hoping that Tommeke pulls off a big win today.
Some more analysis of who could be
in yellow by this afternoon.
There are four seconds left for the
top GC guys in the intermediate sprints. There are also 20, 12, and 8 second
bonuses for the first three across the line. The top 10 on GC looks like this:
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step-Innergetic 19.52.13
2 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 0.01
3 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 0.05
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 0.07
5 Egoi Martinez (Spa) Discovery Channel 0.10
6 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 0.12
7 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel 0.15
8 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
9 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 0.16
10 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 0.17
So there are a few possibilities: Bennati, McEwen, Hushovd and Boonen, being
the best sprinters, are most likely to take (or keep) the maillot jaune today.
But of course we have to see what transpires in the final kick to the line in
Caen. Assuming these two in front get caught.
14:26 CEST 106km/119km to go
The leaders commence
the day's second climb, the Côte du Buquet, which averages 3.4% for 3.1 km.
It's not really an Alp. Maybe a Normandy Alp.
Their last time check
was 11'45 over the now chasing peloton. Still plenty of time to reel them in,
but it's going to be a tough chase.
14:34 CEST 110km/115km to go
Quick.Step has already
carved two minutes off this lead, and the front pair are now a mere 10'50 ahead
of the bunch. Schröder is first over the climb ahead of Dumoulin, reversing
the positions of the day's intermediate sprint. That's normal in a break this
size, as although it's unlikely that these two will contend for the overall
points or mountains jerseys, there are still euros up for grabs. A sprint is
worth €800, par exemple.
14:39 CEST 114km/111km to go
As predicted, there
are a few light drops of rain falling, as the bunch travels up the climb, now
9'37 behind the break. Quick.Step has assumed the position on the front, and
will be relentless today. No help from Credit Agricole, who are unhappy about
Hushovd's relegation yesterday.
Fabian Wegmann takes third on the
climb ahead of Pineau, who gives the German credit for his wicked uphill sprinting
14:42 CEST 117km/108km to go
has three riders working, but they are having an effect on the gap of Schröder
and Dumoulin. It's now down to 9 minutes.
14:45 CEST 119km/106km to go
on some food and gives the thumbs up, as he follows the small figure of Dumoulin.
The roads are now quite wet, although it's only a small shower.
14:48 CEST 121km/104km to go
which has Cretskens, Tankink, Vasseur, and Garate chasing, the Liquigas boys
are in force. Paolini, Garzelli and Quinziato are all handy sprinters from the
14:50 CEST 122km/103km to go
The peloton reaches
the feedzone at Bourgtheroulde, still in the dry, while the two in front get
soaked by a thunderstorm.
It begins to rain on the bunch as
it hits the feed zone. Cretskens, on the front, signals furiously for two feed
bags. Tankink takes them, and distributes one to Vasseur.
14:54 CEST 125km/100km to go
The leaders hold
8'34 on the bunch as everyone is getting drenched now. It's not that cold -
21 degrees - but it's hard riding in the rain. The bunch is still refuelling
and collecting rain jackets, so the chase won't be on just yet. It's generally
harder to chase in the rain, because you have to be so much more careful in
the bunch than when there's just two of you in front.
Chris Brewer, from thepaceline.com,
has checked out the finale of the course today. "We just got done driving the
last 100 kms of the course. The temperature is very nice - 22-23C with low clouds,
but no real chance of rain [ok, that was a bit premature]. There's also no real
challenges on the course today although right now there's a headwind into the
finish line. The crowds are thick and enthusiastic all along the route. The
last 5km are very flat and fast, and at 2km there's a right-left easy turn then
1700m of flat out racing to the line!"
14:58 CEST 127km/98km to go
in front of the bunch now, with Phonak taking over in the second rank. Boonen's
yellow jersey is nowhere to be seen. They'll be hoping that this rain stops
soon, as the gap is still 8'39. Vasseur is used to it, but probably not happy
Fortunately, it's now stopped raining
on the lead pair, so perhaps it will be just a short storm.
15:02 CEST 129km/96km to go
The Quick.Step boys
haven't bothered with rain jackets, even though it's absolutely hammering down
on them now. It will stop soon.
O'Grady is towards the front, clad
in his black CSC jacket.
The average speed after three hours is 41.5
15:02 CEST 131km/94km to go
The leaders are now
on the Côte de Saint-Grégoire-du-Vièvre (Cat. 4, 3.2 km at 3.4 %), the third
climb of the day.
15:06 CEST 133km/92km to go
Schröder and Dumoulin
work well on the wooded climb of the Côte de Saint-Grégoire-du-Vièvre. It's
not so steep, so it shouldn't hurt too much.
Now the bunch is in
the dry, and you'd never know it had been raining. Tankink back on the front,
knocking the gap back to 8'19.
15:08 CEST 134.5km/90.5km to go
the points at the summit ahead of Dumoulin.
15:10 CEST 135km/90km to go
Time for part II
of today's non-prizeworthy question [we're feeling generous this week]. Will
this break be caught, and if so, at how many kilometres to go? Ken in NC, USA,
reckons 50 km to go.
Dave Zabriskie punctures and gets
a wheel change. He's chasing on now, looking for cars in the caravan. He also
got rid of his jacket when he got a new rear wheel.
15:13 CEST 137km/88km to go
Zabriskie gets some
work done on his radio, but it's pretty messy and he has to stop. He gets another
push, and is now going again. Now he'll have to ride a bit harder. He sees Phonak,
tries to gain some draft. then Saunier Duval.
15:15 CEST 138km/87km to go
The Bouygues riders
wind it up for the third place at the top of this climb, and Brochard leads
out Pineau, who has De La Fuente on his wheel. Pineau gets it, although De La
Fuente gave him a bit of a run there.
15:17 CEST 140km/85km to go
Pineau chats to De
la Fuente as they wait for the bunch to catch up. Here they are again, with
Quick.Step's Cretskens on the front.
Meanwhile, the two leaders are at
the second sprint in Saint-Georges-Du-Vievre.
Plenty of people are
writing in with answers to the question "When will they be caught".
John from Jacksonville believes it will be at 8 km to go.
Ft Worth says 26 km to go.
O'Brien from Ohio says 23 km to go.
Vansummeren attacks the peloton again
in pursuit of the third place in the sprint. They let him go. That'll give the
sprinters a chance to conserve their energy until the finish.
15:22 CEST 145km/80km to go
An FDJ rider is in
pursuit of Vansummeren. Not sure who (or why).
15:25 CEST 146km/79km to go
third in the sprint and sits up. First and second in the Saint-Georges-Du-Vievre
sprint went to Dumoulin and Schröder.
Dave from Atlanta, GA, says
the break will be caught at 8 km to go, while Jeremy reckons 15 km to go. But
Morten from Denmark reckons they will be caught with 943.51 meters to go. That's
No obvious cows so far, but plenty
of horses watching the race. Bram Tankink leads the bunch with Vasseur, Garate,
Cretskens, De Jongh and Boonen.
Julian Dean is riding with a heavily
bandaged left leg, after his crash yesterday.
Mark, from Norway, reckons that Quick.Step
will not catch the break, in order to keep Boonen's yellow. But I'm guessing
that Boonen wants a stage win.
15:30 CEST 148km/77km to go
Scott, from Houston,
reckons 26.73475 km to go. Given the parallax error we get from measuring these
distances from the Hindenberg V-1, I think we should limit it to one decimal
place. So 26.7 km to go.
The gap is now 7'16. It hasn't come down
that quickly recently.
As if on cue, there are our cows
for today. All clumped together, sheltering from the sun.
15:33 CEST 151km/74km to go
Boonen downs a small
can of cola as he sits behind his five quick.Step teammates. Quick.Step is going
to have to do most of the work today. Tankink is driving it now.
In the estimation of Sergio from the Basque Country, the breakaways will be
caught at 7.4 km to go.
Chris Horner is still suffering from
his fall two days ago: "My hand is still very bad," the Davitaon-Lotto rider
told Cyclingnews. "The two smaller fingers are not working so I can't
hold the bars too well. That means you've got less braking power, and a lot
less power when you're pulling up on the bars."
This year's Tour
de France doesn't feature sections of Paris-Roubaix, which would be devastating
for the fingers. "Yeah, that's right, I'm happy with that
shocks are really very painful. I need to avoid the holes, and the crashes of
15:36 CEST 155km/70km to go
Up front, Dumoulin
has a determined look on his face. He certainly doesn't want to be caught,
and with seven minutes with 70 km to go, they still have a chance. It depends
whether any teams will help out Quick.Step.
Speak of the devil, Davitamon has
now put Christophe Brandt up the front to help out Quick.Step. The rear of the
peloton is fairly stretched as the pace picks up.
15:41 CEST 156km/69km to go
Angela, from Londres,
believes that the bunch will swamp the two gallant leaders at 12 km to go, and
Hushovd will win the sprint. Quite a few people are picking 12 km to go, actually.
Schröder does a turn as they head through Bayvel. The last climb of the day
is coming up: Côte du Boulay, 1.6 km at 4.8%.
15:42 CEST 158km/67km to go
The two leaders hit
the climb, getting out of the saddle as it starts to hurt the legs a bit. But
it's not too long, and they'll get relief at the top. It's sunny again, and
there's no sign of any rain for the moment.
15:46 CEST 159km/66km to go
The gap is down to
6'10 as the chase pace increases. Quick.Step is still doing the bulk of the
work, with Davitamon's Brandt stoking the fire as well.
leads Dumoulin to the summit, and takes the points. He's won three climbs today,
giving him nine points. But Pineau is the mountains leader with 25 points.
15:50 CEST 163km/62km to go
James believes that
"Jacky Durand will make a gallant escape attempt at kilometre 12 – a suicide
break, if you will." He would have to possess someone in the peloton to do that.
Maybe Dumoulin? They could both be called DuDu, and can you imagine Durand's
power inside Dumoulin's small frame? A climbing sensation.
of climbing sensations, Brochard is getting ready to lead out Pineau for the
final point on today's climb. No-one looks to be challenging them. Nope. Pineau
gets it without anyone contesting. So he has 26 points.
15:52 CEST 164km/61km to go
The gap is down to
about 5'40 at the summit. There is a traffic jam at the back of the bunch, and
quite a few riders have to half. Voeckler and Moncoutié are bringing up the
rear. Moncoutié hasn't been particularly active so far in the Tour, but I'm
sure we'll see him later on.
More bold predictions from our readers:
Daniel from Nice thinks that Schröder and Dumoulin will be caught at 10.5 km
to go, while Nick from South Africa says 4 km to go. We shall see...
15:57 CEST 167km/58km to go
JuanMa Garate does
a turn now, keeping the tempo up in order to carve 1 minute per 10 km off the
break's lead. It's possible to do more than that, but there's no point in burning
your team. Boonen will have to rely on just a few of riders to lead him out
again though: Tosatto, De Jongh and Pozzato will likely be saved for that. It's
not your Petacchi train.
16:01 CEST 170km/55km to go
The bunch goes through
Blangy-Le-Château, strung out by Quick.Step. The leaders are within five km
of the day's final sprint at Pont-L'Evêque, where I boldly predict that Samuel
Dumoulin will take the 6 points. 5'30.
16:03 CEST 172km/53km to go
Another reader question
that has come up: Why are Discovery Channel wearing fluorescent yellow numbers?
Answer: Because they lead the teams classification at the moment. Don't ask
me why fluorescent yellow was chosen though.
Note: Garate is sporting
Spanish champion stripes on his arms, as he won the race in 2005. There is in
fact no Spanish champion this year. The race wasn't ridden because of a rider
strike, protesting against the information that has come out in the media from
16:05 CEST 174km/51km to go
Tankink back on the
front, keeping the pace up as Boonen relieves himself on the bike.
James, from Wakarusa, USA, reckons that our two heroes will last until 1.7 km
16:08 CEST 176km/49km to go
Dumoulin does take
the sprint in Pont-L'Evêque ahead of Schröder. The French rider has taken all
the sprints today, while the German has three of the four climbs. They get a
big cheer as they turn right, then left, and head out of town. Adieu, Pont-L'Evêque.
Tosatto rides up to his teammates
and gives them bidons. Behind the Quick.Steps, Phonak and Rabobank are lurking,
also Hushovd from Credit Agricole. He has basically given up his quest for green
after yesterday's relegation.
16:11 CEST 178km/47km to go
And just as he did
previously, Johan Vansummeren has attacked the bunch for third place in the
sprint. He takes the final two points, uncontested. So none of the sprinters
got any intermediate points today.
16:16 CEST 180km/45km to go
At the arriere de
la peloton, we can see Isaac Galvez (Caisse d'Epargne) and at least five Saunier
Duval riders. The bunch passes by another horse stud, 4'40 behind the two leaders.
Crash at the back involving the five Saunier Duval riders, although Galvez avoids
it. Moncoutié is also in it, but not hurt. He takes some time to get going,
but he's under way.
16:16 CEST 181km/44km to go
Tom Boonen was also
back there, but it doesn't look like he was in the fall. Pozzato is pacing him
back onto the bunch.
16:21 CEST 184km/41km to go
Credit Agricole has
now put a rider at the front of the bunch, taking the pressure off Quick.Step
a little. Boonen is back in the bunch. Moncoutié is not, but he has a rider
helping him back, with Landaluze.
The leaders ride along a road lined
by a high hedge.
16:23 CEST 185km/40km to go
The leaders are under
40 km to go. Brandt, Charteau and another CA rider, plus the Quick.Steppers,
are combining to create a strong chase. Vansevenant is also up there. That gap
16:26 CEST 187km/38km to go
Moncoutié is finally
back in the peloton. That was a tough chase.
Tom from Utah reckons
that the break will be caught at 50 km to go, plus or minus 2 km. Even allowing
for that margin of error, I'm afraid you're a bit wide of the mark there Tom.
The leaders are still well out there and its 38 km to go. I realise that email
is not always as instantaneous as we desire though...
Perdiguero has some paper caught
in his derailleur. He gets some assistance from the Phonak team car and it's
16:31 CEST 189km/36km to go
a hard turn now, with Brandt on his wheel. They'll have to up the tempo a bit,
as the two leaders are still over four minutes ahead.
back in the peloton, although it's more accurate to say that he's at the back
of the peloton.
Floyd Landis is near the front, behind a teammate.
He's been riding like this for most of this first week. Hincapie is also there.
16:33 CEST 192km/33km to go
3'53 with 33 km to
go. It's looking good for a capture in the final 5 km. Schröder and Dumoulin
are more interested in being captured after they cross the line, but the peloton
seems to have other ides. The two leaders have upped their tempo a bit to match
the chase behind, but they are losing time.
16:38 CEST 195km/30km to go
The peloton splits
and reforms around a roundabout. Stuey O'Grady moves himself up front, maybe
feeling like going for the sprint today. He's going well with a broken vertebra.
It's mostly Davitamon and Credit Agricole working now, with Quick.Step sitting
back a bit, protecting Boonen pronounced "Bo-nen" not "Boo-nen".
16:42 CEST 200km/25km to go
Vansevenant, and Brandt have got things rolling along at a nice pace, in pursuit
of the two breakaways, who have been away since km 20. 25 km to go, and 2'54.
They're going to need more than that.
16:44 CEST 202km/23km to go
Chadwick from the
West Indies says that the break will be swallowed "as soon as my pathology class
lets out for the day. So lets say approx under 5k (4.2K) to go. Quick.Step will
play it out for the Boomin Boonen Express."
Thank you, and I think
I'll call a moratorium on the "catch the break" guesses now, as we're now at
the business end of the bike race.
16:45 CEST 203km/22km to go
Dumoulin has his
head down, and looks to be working harder than Schröder.
des Jeux has invested some riders in the chase too. 2'38 is the difference.
16:47 CEST 205km/20km to go
It's Quick.Step working
again now, lifting the tempo in hot pursuit of the leaders, who are now at 20
km to go. This has been a very long chase.
Discovery is well placed
to the fore of the bunch, protecting big George Hincapie.
16:48 CEST 206km/19km to go
The peloton looks
like a snake that's swallowed an elephant (or a hat, depending on your point
of view), to use a Little Prince analogy. A short line at the front, then a
big lump, then a long line at the back. Casar is at the wrong end of that long
16:50 CEST 207km/18km to go
Schröder is definitely
working hard too in front. These riders want to make it to the finish, but they're
fighting a very big and hungry peloton, which has not been sated by one elephant.
16:51 CEST 208.5km/16.5km to go
out of the saddle on a small false flat. Schröder comes through. Plenty of people
are lining the roads in the last 20 km. It's still 2'06.
16:53 CEST 210km/15km to go
Egoi Martinez has
crashed, it looks like. The red number from yesterday is down in the middle
of the road, having clipped a wheel of the Euskaltel rider in front, who was
trying to avoid an obstacle in the middle of the road. Dirk Demol is there with
Martinez, and the race doctor.
16:54 CEST 210km/15km to go
Dumoulin as they go under 15 km to go. You can dooo itttt!
is 1'48 back and chasing very hard.
The road is pretty broad here, but
everyone is fighting for position. Schröder looks the better of the two in front.
The bunch passes a band playing "When
the Saints go marching in", and so shall we...
16:56 CEST 213km/12km to go
The road is wide,
but there are plenty of traffic islands. Schröder and Dumoulin are doing a great
job to stay away, as Schröder's team director encourages him.
16:57 CEST 214km/11km to go
Schröder has been
doing 59% of the work in the break, while Dumoulin only 41%. And Dumoulin is
much shorter, so you have to allow for that I think.
16:58 CEST 214km/11km to go
Martinez is chasing
again, getting some assistance from the race doctor. He's holding on to the
car, but that is usually allowed. Just don't hit anything else...
Commesso is up the front now, and Rabobank. Odd. Now the Credit Agricole boys
are back on the front, with Davitamon and Quick.Step.
1'20 is the gap as the leaders ride
up a false flat, getting close to 10 km to go.
17:00 CEST 215km/10km to go
The 10 km banner
seems to take ages to get to, and the peloton is really motoring now. 1'08 and
falling. If this continues, the break will last until about 2 km to go.
17:01 CEST 215km/10km to go
Schröder sits on
the front of his seat, putting himself into the red to try to keep the break's
chances alive. They're not dead yet!
17:02 CEST 216.5km/8.5km to go
Pozzato is working
with Patxi Vila in the bunch, which means Quick.Step is running out of lead
out men. Only De Jongh and Tosatto will be fresh enough. 50 seconds, 48 seconds...
17:03 CEST 217km/8km to go
The bunch swarms around
more traffic islands, and there's nearly another crash.
17:04 CEST 218km/7km to go
Pozzato has done a
massive turn, bringing it back to 40 seconds. This will be close, but the break
is still in line to be caught. Boonen will have to ride a good sprint though
to win. McEwen or Hushovd are his main rivals.
17:05 CEST 218.5km/6.5km to go
Now Vasseur and
Cretskens do their last turns, with Pozzato driving through once more. Up front,
the two leaders are holding their tempo well. 33 seconds.
17:06 CEST 219.5km/5.5km to go
Around a big roundabout,
and the bunch strings out. The leaders are less than half a minute ahead, and
although they're running out of road, it's still a long way. 20 seconds.
17:06 CEST 220km/5km to go
Pozzato has been the
man responsible for bringing this back in the last 5 km. Tosatto and De Jongh
are lining up to lead out Boonen.
O'Grady has flatted, and is chasing
back on. Bad timing.
16 seconds with 5 km to go. It's
17:07 CEST 221km/4km to go
Lampre has a vested
interest in this sprint too, with Bennati close to the green.
front, Schröder looks at Dumoulin and urges him to keep going. They look back...
17:08 CEST 221.5km/3.5km to go
The peloton powers
into Caen, hunting down these two breakaways, who have made it to under 4 km
to go. Not much longer though.
17:09 CEST 222km/3km to go
Another crash - some
riders go down in the middle, looks like Vansummeren. Frank Schleck (CSC). Also
Julian Dean again and Peter Wrolich.
Schröder and Dumoulin are caught.
Liquigas takes over in front, looking
to lead out Garzelli. Bäckstedt does a big turn. Then Carlström.
17:10 CEST 223km/2km to go
An attack from a Milram
rider, but it doesn't go far. Sacchi is the man. Carlström has his wheel. Boonen
in seventh wheel behind Tosatto and De Jongh.
17:11 CEST 223.5km/1.5km to go
Boonen moves up
to fifth inside 2 km. Where are the others? Two Liquigas riders, then two Quick.Steps
17:11 CEST 224km/1km to go
One of the Liquigas
riders sprints at max, but Tosatto has his wheel. He swings off, and now Tosatto
goes under 1 km to go.
Tosatto has to do a long turn and
its too long. Milram accelerates, De Jongh takes his wheel, then Boonen on the
17:12 CEST 225km/0km to go
Steegmans gets to
the front and does a huge lead out. McEwen on his wheel, then De Jongh up the
left with Boonen on his wheel. Boonen and Freire go for it, and Freire gets
Boonen keeps yellow. But he couldn't
match Freire for speed. He did well to get through the traffic though.
Iñaki Isasi third, now there's a
Frank Schleck rides across the line with O'Grady.
Steegmans pulled off with about 250m
to go, then Boonen went off De Jongh's wheel, but Freire was on his own on the
right and produced a powerful sprint to win the stage. The trick today was timing:
the headwind makes it difficult in a sprint.
Bennati missed out because
he was involved in the crash with 2 km to go. And Galvez.
all for today. Catch you tomorrow in Lisieux!
Congrats to Jochem from The Netherlands (and quite a few others) for getting
the question right ;)
1 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 5.18.50
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step-Innergetic
3 Inaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
4 David Kopp (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
6 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
7 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
8 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval
9 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
10 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Francaise Des Jeux
General classification after stage 5
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step-Innergetic 25.10.51
2 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 0.13
3 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 0.17
4 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 0.19
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