SAN DIEGO, July 8, 2015 – With 190 riders trying to stay within the first 60 positions, you will have crashes. It’s even more likely during a long stage in rainy, windy conditions.
Stage 5 through the long stretches of World War I battlefields and memorials in the Somme was intended as a break from the rough ride over the cobblestones Tuesday. Due to the weather, this didn’t come to pass. French rider Nacer Bouhanni of Cofidis had to abandon the race shortly after the start due to his injuries. Jack Bauer of TCG was also forced out.
But the rest of the nervous peloton made it to the finish today, navigating several less serious crashes along the way. The sprinters got their chance at the finish as expected. It was a battle involving most of the top contenders, with Andre Greipel of Lotto Soudal coming on to overpower Mark Cavendish of Etixx-Quickstep, with Peter Sagan of Tinkoff-Saxo coming on at the very end to nip Cavendish for second place in the fight for the sprinters green jersey.
Greipel admitted he got a little help when the lead out riders for Cavendish and Sagan weren’t as organized as he expected.
“It was an interesting sprint because none of the top sprinters had any of their lead-out men to lead the sprint for them in the final 300 meters,” said Greipel. “You had to improvise a little bit. I looked for an opening and saw there was one on the left. I was a bit far off at the 300 meters but I was lucky to still have the strength to pull it off. It was interesting,” he said.
Although Sagan just missed out at the line, he still considered it a good day. He sits in a surprising fourth place overall at the end of Stage 4 just 33 seconds off the lead. “It was good. I was too far back in the last 200 meters, like in tenth position. In these conditions, I’m happy to finish second. And it was good to because we managed to take Alberto (Contador) unhurt to the finish line in spite of the rain, the wind and the crashes. That’s the most important thing.”
All the main Tour contenders stayed in the hunt, safely avoiding any damage from the crashes. Working for Mark Cavendish, Tony Martin stayed with the lead group and kept his yellow jersey for a second day. Chris Froome of Sky Racing, Alberto Contador of Tinkoff Saxo, American Tejay Van Garderen of BMC and Nairo Quintana of Movistar all maintained their standings. American Andrew Talansky stays in 20th place, 2:51 back.
No change in the specialty jerseys today. Joaquim Rodriguez wears the King of the Mountains jersey, Greipel stays in the green sprinters jersey, and Sagan remains in the best young rider’s white jersey.
Stage 6 is a long, rolling stage along the beautiful French coastline along the English Channel from Abbeville to Le Havre. The peloton won’t be able to enjoy the scenery since more rain is expected and windy conditions could make it another treacherous day in the saddle. It is one of the last stages to offer the sprinters a chance for victory. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, some may decide it’s worth taking a risk to seize the glory of a Tour stage win.
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. Follow the Tour de France daily in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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