7/4/2013 - NEWS!

Sagan in green... again!

Peter Sagan used FSA components to win the green jersey

The Tour de France returned to the open road for the 229km (143mi) Stage Five from Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille. While the race started and finished on the Mediterranean, the race went inland between the two points on a rolling ride that was neither perfect for the sprinters nor the attackers.

With four categorized climbs during the day, the fast men had to be careful with their efforts lest they find themselves running out of gas on the final climb, an uncategorized kicker called the Col de la Gineste that topped off 12.5km(7.8mi) from the finish. Cannondale Pro Cycling's Peter Sagan, dressed in the Green Jersey of the points leader, is the best climber of the sprinters. If the field went ballistic over that last hill, they could drop the rest of the sprinters, and the stage would be his for the taking. If the field was controlled over the top, he'd have a harder time dispatching rivals Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma-Quickstep and Andre Greipel of Lotto-Belisol.

This stage offered the riders the longest day in the saddle so far, and when a six-man move rolled off in the opening kilometers, the peloton was happy to give them their leash. The six rode well together and gained an advantage of 12:30 50km (31mi) into the race. The six duked it out for the intermediate sprint nine minutes ahead of the peloton. When the pack came storming through, it was Greipel who took seventh place, ahead of Cannondale's Sagan in ninth, and Cavendish in tenth.

Orica-Greenedge, the team of race leader Simon Gerrans, has never held the leader's jersey in a Grand Tour before. New to the task, they started the chase later, and more slowly than many other teams. As such, the gap to the break was still pretty big as the kilometers ticked off. Eight minutes at 80km (50mi), seven at 70km, (44mi) a minute per ten kilometers would only just bring the break back on the line.

Orica got help from Omega Pharma and Lotto, both interested in a sprint finish. And on the final climb, FdJ went to the front for their sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, in the hopes of dropping some of the sprinters.

But still, the break persisted. The final two stragglers were caught with four kilometers (2.5mi) remaining. Immediately it became a drag race with the best sprinters sending their teams to the front. Cannondale went to the front first. Then Omega Pharma came by them. And into the final kilometer Lotto went with Sagan on Greipel's wheel. Omega Pharma burst to the front inside the final kilometer to set Cavendish up. Sagan was several riders back, hoping that Greipel, the rider he was following, had the legs to catch Cavendish.

Cavendish launched with 200 meters remaining. He got a gap with Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagan in his wake, and Greipel started to close. Sagan rushed off Greipel's wheel, but it was too late. Cavendish got his first win of the race, with Boasson Hagen in second. Sagan had to settle for third.

Third was a disappointment, but it also came with victory in the day's best young rider competition, and Sagan still holds the green jersey with a 35 point gap on both Cavendish and Alexander Kristoff (Nor) of Katusha. Greipel.

After cooling off, the Slovak reflected on the day's stage. "Today was dangerous in the run to the finish. It was hard to get to the front at the end, where Cavendish was the best sprinter. I did a good sprint for third place, so I didn't lose too many points to Cavendish. I don't have the form to beat him, and am happy for third place. Tomorrow I hope for more points and a safe race."
Tomorrow's stage six is possibly the flattest of the the Tour thusfar. 176.5km (110mi) from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier, with only one category four climb just after the intermediate sprint, this is almost certainly a day for the sprinters. Cannondale Pro Cycling will be at the front, doing their best to deliver a stage victory to Peter Sagan.

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 Peter Sagan, for the 5th Stages used:

K-Force Compact Handlebar K-Force STEM K-Force SB32 seatpost

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