Where Fabian Cancellara and Cadel Evans go, so goes Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal.
On Thursday, many of the general classification leaders opted to drift as much as possible amid the peloton, while the sprinter’s worked their way to the front.
Sprinting beast Andre Greipel, known as the Gorilla, won his second stage in a row on Thursday, taking Stage 5 in Saint-Quentin after a 196.5km jaunt along the Normandy coast.
While the sprinters took their chances at winning the stage, the overall contenders played it safe in the peloton, which rode as a unit for the entirety of the day. There was a four-man breakaway that lasted much of the day but was caught within the final 500 metres of the day.
With no time differences, Cancellara (Switzlerland) retained the yellow jersey atop the Tour de France’s general classification. 2011 winner, Evans, and 2012 Giro d’Italia winner, Hesjedal, stay in the hunt as top-10 GC contenders, all within 20 seconds of Cancellara.
It was also another disapointing day for Hesjedal’s teammate Tyler Farrar, team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda’s sprinting ace. Garmin did well to lead Farrar into the nose of the peloton where he could contest for the stage. But Farrar was shouldered and wiped out for the second day in a row, this time causing a multi-cyclist pileup. Farrar crashed with 2.5km remaining.
Assuming Farrar is healthy, expect Garmin to consider leading him again on Friday. Mild in altitude, Stage 6 looks to be a sprint-friendly course, running 207.5km from Épernay to Metz.