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Tour de France 2018: Sagan doubles up with impressive win on Stage 5

Joe Robinson
11 Jul 2018

Sagan strongest in sprint as Van Avermaet keeps yellow in uphill finish

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) powered his way to a second stage victory of the 2018 Tour de France today on Stage 5 to Quimper.

Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) attacked early on the final climb before being caught by a small group of favourites.

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) opened up their sprints but were eventually passed by a dominant Sagan.

The pace set by Team Sky into the final climb of the Cote de Stang Bihan was rapid as Egan Bernal protected Chris Froome at the head of affairs who finished in the lead group.

Van Avermaet finished safely within the top 10 to keep his yellow jersey for another day.

Seven riders created the day's breakaway with Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) and Lilian Calmejane (Direct-Energie) the last to be caught by the peloton.

Skujins was the big winner gathering enough points to take the polka dot mountain's jersey.

How the stage happened

Stage 5 of the Tour de France took the peloton on a 204.5km lumpy route from Quimper to the port town of Quimper in the north-west of France.

It would be the first true 'uphill' finish of the race with the final kilometre consisting of the Cote de Stang Bihan, at an average of 4.8%.

Expected to be too tough for the true sprinters, the likes of Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) were expected to steal the show.

That was until Matthews withdrew from the race before the stage began citing overnight sickness.

The Sunweb sprinter will likely be a huge loss throughout the race in terms of stage victories and support to Tom Dumoulin.

The stage began with more nerves than tonight's World Cup semi-final as riders from Katusha-Alpecin came a cropper on some road furniture. Croat Robert Kiserlovski was involved and was forced to abandon – a huge loss to general classification contender Ilnur Zakarin. 

Ahead, a traditional Tour breakaway formed. Patron of the peloton Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) escaped with teammate Calmajane. 

The duo was joined by Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal), Julian Vermote (Dimension Data),  Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Samsic) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis).

With 160km remaining, the group of seven managed to work their advantage up to 3 minutes 30 seconds with BMC Racing, team of yellow jersey wearer Van Avermaet, doing the lion's share of the chasing.

The break shared most of the intermediate sprint points, however behind, Gaviria outsprinted Sagan to close the deficit in the race for the green sprinter's jersey.

After the sprint the climbs began. This tempted an attack from Chavanel who gapped his fellow breakaway artists to take the points atop the day's first classified climb and go ahead alone by 50 seconds.

Chavanel battled along alone as Mark Cavendish found himself jettisoned out the back of the peloton as he struggled to match the pace on the first of many climbs.

He fought back temporarily but to no avail dropping again with the bruised and battered Lawson Craddock (EF-Drapac) as the likes of BMC, Bora-Hansgrohe and Movistar began to turn the screws.

In pursuit of Chavanel, Skuijns counter-attacked the break with Edet and Calmejane in his wheel. Slowly but surely they begun to wind the solo Chavanel before catching and joining him with under 60km to go.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) then experienced a mechanical in the peloton but managed to return safely to the bunch while Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) was a marquee name involved in a small crash around the same time.

The toll of the day's climbs began to tell on each sprinter one by one. First Cavendish, then Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), then Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) found themselves victims of Bora-Hansgrohe's pace.

The solo efforts of the 39-year-old Chavanel began to pay as he was dropped by his three fellow riders.

Edet was the next to go before Skuijns began to increase the pace on the Cote de Menez Quelerc'h with just 44km remaining to ride.

Latvian Skujins was joined by Calmejane over the penultimate climb as the gap dropped to just two minutes.

The duo were then joined by a battling Edet as the gap reduced to 1 minute 20 seconds with 27km left.

The time began to tumble between the break and the yellow jersey group. 

Skujins won the final classified climb of the day therefore taking the polka dot climber's jersey off of the back of Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

At the bonus sprint, Alaphillippe (Quick-Step Floors) caught Calmejane and Skujins to take three seconds, but Van Avermaet followed him home to claim two seconds himself and minimise the impact.

While Alaphillippe brought back into the peloton, Rein Taaramae became the latest Direct Energie rider to attack building a 20 second advantage with 8.5km to go.

He was caught with 6km left as Team Sky took control of proceedings.

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