Greg Van Avermaet Dramatic Win in Tour de France Stage 5
Greg Van Avermaet, of the BMC Racing Team, built a large gap with two other breakaway riders and Van Avermaet survived to take the Stage 5 win and the Yellow Jersey today in dramatic fashion. Van Avermaet, a Spring Classics specialist, has earned his first Yellow Jersey, his first 2016 Tour victory and his second Tour victory of his career. He is currently 5 minutes ahead of the top pre-race contenders.
Stage 5 was the first mountain stage in the Tour with three Category 3 and two Category 2 climbs near the end of the stage in Le Lioran, including a Category 3 climb, Col de Font de Cère in the last 5 km. The 216 km stage began in Limoges in Central France and was a difficult stage for sprinters and the rest of the peloton. The Tour has had two long stages over 200 km and today’s 216 kim stage had a total of six categorized climbs added to the suffering. Not one cyclist has abandoned the Tour so far, the first time all 198 cyclists have started Stage 5 in years.
An initial nine rider breakaway became a strong three rider breakaway with 120 km to go. Andriy Grivko (Astana), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) carried on up and over the climbs on the stage. The breakaway group built up a gap of 14 minutes on the peloton. This placed Greg van Avermaet (BMC) who started in 20th position today, 18sec behind Sagan, well into the virtual lead. Having a good rider that is only seconds behind the leader is a bad partner for a breakaway group. Usually the other contenders will send their teams up to reduce the gap. Despite the efforts of Movistar and Team Sky, Van Avermaet stayed away.
Grivko fell away from the breakaway group on the Pas de Peyrol climb, that is 5.4 km long with a gradient average of 8%. And the peloton had reduced the gap to 8 minutes at that point. Both Sagan and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) had fallen behind the peloton also at this point. Nabali’s trouble will push teammate Fabio Aru to the forefront of the team’s efforts. With 15 km to go Van Avermaet attacked and left De Gendt behind. Van Avermaet rode away over the final kilometers with the peloton giving chase. But the peloton failed to catch up.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) lost time today. Contador could not maintain contact with the lead group on the last climb at the finish. Contador lost 33 seconds to the top contenders on today’s stage. Contador now trails Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) by one minute 21 seconds. Nabili faded on the Category 2 climb of Pas de Peyrol while Movistar led the peloton over the summit, picking up the pace. Nabali is now 8 minutes behind Froome and Quintana. And it looks like Astana will have to regroup around Nabili's teammate Fabio Aru.
1 Greg Van Avermaet BMC Racing Team 5:31:36
2 Thomas De Gendt Lotto Soudal 0:02:34
3 Rafal Majka Tinkoff Team 0:05:04
4 Joaquim Rodriguez Team Katusha
5 Daniel Martin Etixx - Quick-Step 0:05:07
6 Bartosz Huzarski Bora-Argon 18
7 Julian Alaphilippe Etixx - Quick-Step
8 Adam Yates Orica-BikeExchange
9 Christopher Froome Team Sky
10 Tejay Van Garderen BMC Racing Team
1 Greg Van Avermaet BMC Racing Team 25:34:46
2 Julian Alaphilippe Etixx - Quick-Step 0:05:11
3 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team 0:05:13
4 Joaquin Rodriguez Team Katusha 0:05:14
5 Christopher Froome Team Sky 0:05:17
6 Warren Barguil Team Giant-Alpecin 0:05:17
7 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team 0:05:17
8 Fabio Aru Astana Pro Team 0:05:17
9 Pierre Rolland Cannondale-Drapac 0:05:17
10 Daniel Martin Etixx - Quick-Step 0:05:17
12. Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team, 0:05:17
21. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, 0:05:28
22. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky, 0:05:57
25. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff, 0:06:38
27. Richie Porte, BMC Racing Team, 0:07:02
50. Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team, 0:14:06
76. Peter Sagan, Tinkoff, 0:23:37