Tour de France Stage 5: Martin Keeps Yellow, Cavendish 3rd in Bunch Arrival
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Tony Martin will wear the yellow jersey as race leader for another day, thanks to staying safe and in front of the 189.5km Le Tour de France Stage 5 on Wednesday. The stage ended in the predicted bunch sprint despite rain and crosswinds before the final kilometers.
Mark Cavendish finished 3rd behind stage winner Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal), and 2nd place finisher Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Etixx - Quick-Step successfully kept Martin protected, with UCI World Road Champion Michal Kwiatkowski constantly guiding the German rider in the peloton. Cavendish was also supported well, including being paced back by three teammates to the peloton with 63.3km to go after a mechanical.
Matteo Trentin was involved in a crash, but finished the stage.
The pace of the peloton slowed down inside the final 30km after plenty of accelerations due to the winds, as well as crashes. Nacer bouhanni (Cofidis) was among the riders who crashed and was forced to abandon.
Etixx - Quick-Step riders Rigoberto Uran and Zdenek Stybar remain in 7th and 10th overall, respectively.
Etixx Quick-Step looks next to 191.5km 6th Stage, from Abbeville to Le Havre, on Wednesday. The stage goes along the windy coast of Normandy. The parcours is undulating with three Category 4 ascents, and there is a small uphill going into the finish.
"I couldn't sleep so well last night," Martin said. "I fell asleep maybe at 2 o'clock in the morning and woke up early again, But it was OK for me. I woke up feeling well, thinking directly about the yellow jersey. It gave me a lot of power and morale today in the race. I hope I can find more sleep in the next nights, or else I won't see Paris (laughs). As for the race, I tried to do my job for Cav in the finale. I wanted to lead him until the last kilometer and a half, and stay safe for yellow. I don't know what happened with the sprint after that. I did my job for Cav as well as I could and didn't take any risks. I think the team did well today going into the sprint. We avoided crashes and were always in good position. The race was super stressful. A lot of nervousness, crashing, and fighting for position. I couldn't really enjoy the day as I didn't have time to think about being in yellow. In the end of this kind of stage we were lucky to stay upright. It wasn't really a day for celebration. We will see about the next days. We have some very good riders that can be active in different kinds of stages. With our team you never know what we can do in the next days and weeks. I just want to keep yellow as long as possible, but I am also realistic that when the big mountains come I probably cannot stay with the best riders. Especially since I didn't train for those kinds of stages.. My goal is to stay in yellow until the TTT, not the big mountains."
"It was a bit chaotic," Cavendish said. "I went around Sagan and I kicked, and I saw Demare kick, and on his right Kristoff. So if I pass I could drag strip Kristoff into the finish. Greipel and Sagan just came around past me at the end. I didn't feel great in the sprint, but no one felt great after a stage like today. I was going OK, but they just were going faster. Nothing went wrong. We were a man short in the end as Matteo was not 100 percent after his crash today. But really I was just beaten by two very strong guys. One of them already won a stage, this is his second, and he's in the green jersey. So congratulations to Greipel as he deserves this victory. My teammates efforts today in setting me up for the sprint, and protecting Tony in yellow, absolutely complemented each other. I have to give them a lot of credit for how well they were going. We stayed in front the whole day and both objectives required that. Now we look forward to tomorrow. It's a bit difficult for the pure sprinters, that finish. But there are 21 stages at the Tour de France. There are still a few more opportunities. My confidence is good. I think everyone still has high morale after Tony's win yesterday, and I think for sure we'll keep going to try to get more wins at this Tour."