Paris, July 9 (IANS) Tour de France’s fifth stage saw a duo of German riders coming on top as Lotto Soudal’s Andre Greipel finished the 189.5km ride first while Tony Martin of Etixx-Quick Step retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
Greipel, who also holds the points leader’s green jersey, on Wednesday timed four hours 39 minutes from Arras Communaute Urbaine to Amiens Metropole, France, beating Slovakian Peter Sagan to the second place while all top 65 finishers arriving at almost the same time, reports Xinhua.
The second stage winner started to make effort late in the final straight but an impressive sprint led him to ease past Etixx-Quick Step’s Briton rider Mark Cavendish, who settled for a third position eventually.
Cavendish’s teammate Martin retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey after finishing the 22nd in the fifth stage, which has been marred by seven crashes on the slippery roads of northern France.
“Two victories, it’s great,” said Greipel. “The whole team worked well for this sprint. It was the first bunch sprint, it’s interesting… with 300 metres that I thought I was boxed in but I saw an opening and went for it.”
Cofidis’ sprint ace Nacer Bouhanni of France abandoned the race before taken to a hospital for checks after being caught up in a crash that involved four of his teammates.
Martin still leads Briton Chris Froome of Team Sky by 12 seconds overall and American Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing by 25.
Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, representing Astana Pro Team, is right now the 13th at one minute and 50 seconds, while Spainiard Alberto Contador of Tinkoff Saxo remains eighth with 48 seconds behind and Nairo Quintana of Movistar was the 17th, 2:08 minutes off the pace.
Thursday is the first rest day of this year’s Tour.