Peter Sagan widened his lead in the points classification today, winning Stage 5 of the Tour de France on a route that proved too challenging for the flat-stage sprinters.
The day featured four categorized climbs – including the first second-category climb of this year’s Tour – and by the time the peloton arrived in the postcard Alsatian town of Colmar, it had been whittled down from 176 to 77. That’s still a sizable bunch, but the difficulty of the climbs had left pure sprinters like Dylan Groenewegen, Caleb Ewan, and yesterday’s winner Elia Viviani whole minutes behind.
Sagan, who is going for his record-breaking seventh green jersey, still had to contend with such punchy sprinters as Wout Van Aert, Matteo Trentin, Sonny Colbrelli, and Michael Matthews, whose Sunweb team had spent the last phase of the race chasing down the day’s breakaway in order to give him a shot at the stage victory.
The bunch also had to deal with a number of distractions on the run-in, first absorbing the breakaway’s final rider, Tom Skujins with 22 kilometers to go, then managing small counter-attacks by Xandro Meurisse and finally Rui Costa, who was reabsorbed with just two kilometers to go.
In the final stretch, Daryl Impey was the first to sprint for the line, with Jasper Stuyven on his wheel and Trentin diving ahead on an inside curve, but Sagan maneuvered around all of them with relative ease, moving ahead by about half a bike’s length.
Unfortunately for all the sprinters involved, tomorrow will be even harder, as the Tour takes on its first major mountains of the race. Stage 7 takes on a total of seven classified climbs, including the legendary, first-category summit finish to La Planche des Belles Filles.
|2||Wout Van Aert||+00:00:00|
|5||Greg Van Avermaet||+00:00:00|
|2||Wout Van Aert||+00:00:14|
|6||Egan Arley Bernal Gomez||+00:00:40|
|10||Greg Van Avermaet||+00:00:51|