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95th Tour de France - Stage 5 Live Part 2
By Staff
Date: 7/9/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 5 Live Part 2

95th Tour de France - Stage 5 Live Part 2
The chase is on... 60 km to go as our French trio tries to beat the odds as the sprinters teams start closing in on the raiders.

Stage 5 Cholet - Chateauroux, 230km
1554 CEST - 60 km to go and the gap down to 2.38 to our optimistic trio. The peloton may start to backpedal soon; if they catch them too fast, they will chance attacks.

55 km to go - gap 2:21 German Marcus Burghardt (Columbia) comes to the front too in order to help the waterboys of Gerolsteiner and Credit Agricole in the chase. If the break makes it now, I'll eat my (chocolate) hat. Up front the trio are working well together, but they don't look like they have their hearts and backs into the escape. Quite different than Monday's escapees who were quite determined to the final kilometers.

Great Britain has named the team for the road race and the time-trial at the Olympics in Beijing. Steve Cummings will ride the TT and the road race. In the road race he gets company of Jonathan Bellis, Ben Swift and Roger Hammond.

The women's team for the road disciplines consists of Nicole Cooke, Sharon Laws and Emma Pooley. Laws is coming back from injury, but should be back to her best; and she'll need to be to help Cooke. Indeed; the press thought a Cooke gold in Athens was a dead certainty, and Cooke has planned her schedule around the Olympic appearance.

It's a bit of a surprise frankly - British Cycling choosing youth over experience. Swift and Bellis are good, top U23 riders, but they aren't even professionals yet. The likes of Wegelius and Lloyd were overlooked - men who are noted as good climbers. (Although Wegelius has been unpopular ever since he popped up helping the Italians in a Worlds RR a few years back).

Of course the Brits have more chances on the track with Cav', Wiggins, Pendleton, Romero, Hoy etc. On the road Cooke seems the only possibility but her performances thus far haven't impressed me much. Indeed - either she has been sacrificing loads and will hit the Olympics in amazing form, or she'll crash and/or burn.

Anyway back to the Tour. It seems that the Russian revelation of the 2008 season Yuri Trofimov (Bouygues) will compete in this tour until stage 13. Trofimov is combining road racing with mountain biking and will ride for Russia in the Olympic MTB race.

1610 CEST - 47 km to go the gap continues to hang around the 2.00... no change on the front of the peloton as the chase has changed gears to managing the gap to our three French raiders. The lads will let them hang in the wind until they decide to up the pace to pull them in.

Riccardo Ricco rides at the back of the peloton. His "I don't need friends in the peloton" speech seems to have been right on the money - everyone's keeping their distance. Anyway - to be serious - he will be targeting tomorrow's stage up to Superbesse.

41 km to go - 1:55 the gap, Race leader Schumacher pulls off the road to clear his kidneys for the final as High Road, Gerolsteiner and Credit Agricole continue to lead the pace with Lampre in close attendance at the front. The pace is steady but not frantic with the riders on the front and in the peloton taking time to eat to plus up the energy for the last long side of an hour in the stage.

A big surprise yesterday - some murmurings of discontent on cycling forums worldwide about Schumachers stage win, but come on guys. He's done four TTs this year before yesterday and the lowest finish was 7th. A bit of a furtive time-trial ace, he's won at the ENECO Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico in recent years, as well as the Bayern Rundfahrt. Nice to see Gerolsteiner winning a time-trial - I miss the days of Peschel and Rich time-trial stardom.

Liquigas are gathering on the left side of the bunch - a day for Francesco Chicchi, perhaps? The 2002 world U23 road race champion has been getting better and better, to the point where he finished third in Paris-Tours last autumn. Consistency is a bit of a problem though. Meanwhile, Eurosport have a tough decision to make for English commentary - do we keep Sean Kelly or go with a Specialized bicycle which has more personality?

1627 CEST - 35 km to go and the gap down to 1.37... The peloton is riding three on the front setting a tepid tempo followed by riders 12 abreast across two lanes. The trio up front are switching off but not moving with great conviction probably wishing that the peloton would move in and get it over with.

1635 CEST 30 km to go. Florent Brard is a local-ish lad today, riding through his home département of Indre-et-Loire. However, he is still 170-odd kilometres from Chateauroux, much nearer Tours instead. Vogondy is also as near home as he is going to get, having been born in Blois (about 200 km away).

1637 CEST - 29km to go, and the pack is 1'28" down. This long day in the saddle is coming to a conclusion soon. There isn't too much urgency in the pack's riding; I suppose there is no reason for it. With 25 kilometres left and only 80 seconds to hoover up, they've already done most of the dirty work. The race is going through some very beautiful country side with a few lovely chateaus along the rode.

No Tour news but news from the transfer market and the ambitious Tinkoff team. Tinkoff is interested in adding Cadel Evans (Lotto), Nick Nuyens, Kevin de Weert (both Cofidis), Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step), Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) and as sport director Rik van Slycke (now Q-Step). It seems that Tinkoff wants to go to the Tour with Evans as GC rider and with the other riders for the Belgium classics and the Amstel Gold Race.

We will have to see which of these riders will finally join the team or that it will stay just another rumor. Directeur sportif Henrik Redant, currently of Predictor-Lotto, is also rumoured to be in their crosshairs. Of course Redant denies the reports. Are they going to be the Chelsea of professional cycling? Oleg Tinkoff is quite a sugar daddy to have, after all...

What with Cofidis choosing to be Continental and more stars seeming to switch to teams not in the ProTour, the UCI's flagship competition looks even more dead in the water. Yeah, Tinkoff is going to be the Chelsea of professional cycling with a budget of 30 million euro a year. Andrei Tchmil as advisor and Mauro Gianetti as manager. He is now the manager of Saunier Duval. and a role of current Chelsea boss Abramovich with the team as well. It should be interesting...

1647 CEST - 21km left to race, and the gap is holding at 1'20" for now. Better not catch them too early. The break has now been in front for 200 kilometers, a great effort by Vogondy, Jegou and Brard. Credit Agricole. Gerolsteiner and Konstantin Sivtsov (Columbia) doing the nasty work in the bunch - 20 km to go

15 km to go - 1:08 the gap. Our lead trio are having a flash of inspiration and are flying up the road in full pursuit mode. Clearly they have been holding back for the last 20 km. The peloton responds... the advantage of Jegou, Brard and Vogondy has just gone south of a minute. 57 seconds, as they go under the banner. The finish is not dangerous. almost all straight forward to the finish so it should be straight up and fast.

12 km to go - 35 sec - The trio have done well, but surely won't last much longer. It's still good publicity for the three French teams in front. Gerrans is given a little push to Sylvain Chavanel as he is disturbing the chase, Chavanel has Brard up front, while Credit Agricole does the work to chase the three guys down. George Hincapie is off the back, working his way through the team cars. Must have been a mechanical.

10 km to go - It's a 32-second gap at the moment. Fine resistance from the escapees. Liquigas on the front. Still no real line in the organization as lots of teams are coming to the front now. 30 seconds gap with 6 km to go... Liquigas takes the command now. They need to finish off the job now.

Columbia in command now. Crash! It's Aurelien Passeron of Saunier Duval. He smashed into a spectator; a brief look back from Passeron and he rides off. The spectator was trying to get up, but she didn't look so good. 20 seconds the gap.

1606 CEST - 4 kilometres to go and the sprint teams are switching around now in preparation for the Tour's first "proper" bunch sprint. Saunier has bad luck thus far in the Tour. Ricco and Cobo the GC riders losing lots of time and lots of crashes with Bertogliati, Passeron and the unlucky Gomez. Another crash it's Heinrich Haussler of GST.  He stays down on the deck, prolly a collarbone. The road narrowed for a roundabout. Rotten luck.

3 km - 14 sec They will look back down the road and see the charging peloton.

2 km to go - Milram take over. the finishing street is 1,8 km long in distance They are still 9 seconds down on the valiant leading trio. We will get the first real bunch sprint now Vogondy attacks with 1,3 km. Brard and Jegou are reeled in by the bunch

Vogodny at 200 meters with the peloton on his heels. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1,000 metres for Vogondy, is Vogondy going to make it? It will be close. A french champion going to take the stage? Kirchen is on the front for Columbia.

500 mt They've left it late on this straight road... The sprint behind him has started Vogondy is in a massive gear the sprinters are coming... Here comes Cavendish...

and the winner is CAVENDISH!!!

He was leading it for ages, Freire and Hushovd were trying to come round. What a leadout from Columbia. Vogondy was caught with about 150 mt to go. Freire and Zabel close for second and third. Hushovd fourth.

Cavendish Wins!! Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

It was 100 meters too far for Vogondy but what a great effort! What a win! The British media had better love this. Over a bike length's win for Mark Cavendish. This is it; his name is made. Nobody can say he's not an A- Class sprinter now.

Oscar Freire is 2nd and Erik Zabel 3rd, Thor Hushovd 4th. Cooke 5th, Hunter 6th, Duque 7th, McEwen 8th, Chicchi 9th (top 15 results below).

They left it ridiculously late to catch the escapees. Chapeau and quel dommage to Vogondy. Vogondy for sure will get the prize of the most aggressive rider.

Another day, another great stage. What a Tour so far. In the GC nothing changes. Schumacher stays in the lead with 12 seconds on Kirchen and Millar. Ww will for sure get another GC shake up tomorrow to Super-Besse. Cavendish wins with almost 2 bike lengths on Freire and Zabel.

Thor Hushvod, Mark Cavendish (who can't believe he has won,) and Oscar Freire...who along with Thor maybe wondering how they lost. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Thor Hushovd is the new green jersey. He has 88 points. 3 points more than Oscar Freire. Kirchen is third with 81 points. Kirchen has chances to regain the jersey again tomorrow to Suprer-Besse; the other jerseys won't change.

First words from the stage winner: "After the other day, it made us really motivated for today. We knew what we had to do, that's why the time gap came down so quickly as we knew the break would go full gas in the end. It was a bit further out than I'd like to go - a headwind and an uphill finish. It's the biggest thing that's happened to me; to win it it so young, it means so, so much to me." Mark Cavendish

They're dancing in the streets of London here. (Well, there's an old lady walking quickly outside my window. Does that count?)

Thor Hushovd swaps the green of Crédit Agricole for the more luminous points jersey shade, despite coming fourth.

Stefan Schumacher dons a second maillot jaune. Tomorrow will be his big battle, to ensure he loses no time to the likes of Millar and Kirchen.

Results Stage 5
1. Cavendish Mark 43 Team Columbia 5h 27' 52"
2. Freire Oscar 133 Rabobank   00' 00"
3. Zabel Erik 151 Team Milram   
4. Hushovd Thor 81 Credit Agricole  
5. Cooke Baden 55 Barloworld 
6. Hunter Robert 58 Barloworld 
7. Duque Leonardo 186 Cofidis Credit Par Telephone 
8. Mc Ewen Robbie 6 Silence - Lotto 
9. Chicchi Francesco 63 Liquigas 
10. Dean Julian 193 Garmin Chipotle 
11. Förster Robert 112 Gerolsteiner 
12. Steegmans Gert 97 Quick Step 
13. Feillu Romain 124 Agritubel 
14. Chavanel Sébastien 162 Francaise Des Jeux 
15. Casper Jimmy 123 Agritubel 

General Classification after Stage 5
1. Schumacher Stefan 111 Gerolsteiner 19h 32' 33"
2. Kirchen Kim 41 Team Columbia   00' 12"
3. Millar David 198 Garmin Chipotle  00' 12"
4. Evans Cadel 1 Silence - Lotto   00' 21"
5. Cancellara Fabian 13 Team Csc Saxo Bank   00' 33"
6. Vandevelde Christian 191 Garmin Chipotle   00' 37"
7. Hincapie George 47 Team Columbia   00' 41"
8. Lövkvist Thomas 48 Team Columbia   00' 47"
9. Nibali Vincenzo 67 Liquigas  00' 58"
10. Gutierrez José Ivan 35 Caisse D’epargne   01' 01"

Thanks for joining us and our commentators Bart Hazen and Andy McGrath for the live report of Stage 5. Join us tomorrow for what will be a decisive stage: Stage 6 - Aigurande - Super-Besse Sancy, 195km one for the mountain goats to come to the front of the race. Read Nick Bull's preview and predictions for the stage in his course preview.

Stage 5 Profile
Stage 6 Aigurande - Super Besse Sancy, 195km Stage 6 Profile

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95th Tour de France - Stage 5 Live

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