TDF 2013: Stage 5: Preview: Can Gerrans Hold the Yellow?

Cagnes Sur Mer, France. July 3, 2013, By Jen Benepe

On this flat 228.5 km stage from Cagnes sur Mer to Marseilles, France you can expect a breakaway, followed by vicious attacks at a

Simon Gerrans surrounded by Team Orica GreenEdge after winning the stage 4 time trial yesterday in Nice, France. (ASO)

sprint finish. Can the new Yellow Jersey holder Simon Gerrans hold onto it?

The 33-year-old Gerrans from Melbourne is the 2012 Australian National Road Race champion. He has also won the Tour Down Under twice and a stage in all three Grand Tours.

Gerrans had two other team members behind him in the number two  and three positions, South African rider Daryl Impey, and Swiss Michael Albasini. Their positions will also be under attack. A South African has never won a Yellow Jersey.

The 28-year-old Impey rode for Team RadioShack in 2010. The 32-year-old Albasini was first overall in the 2010 Tour of Britain, and raced for Team Columbia-Highroad (with Mark Cavendish) from 2009 to 2011.

That’s the question. Orica GreenEdge forms a great time trial team, but can they hold onto the Yellow as a team?

If they play their cards right, and can hold onto the big sprinter teams without crashing, there is no real reason why they shouldn’t be able to–barring an unforeseen breakaway.

Meanwhile Cannondale’s Ted King was dropped from the Tour because he did not complete the time trial within the 7 second time limit because of  a hurt elbow.

“The last 24 hours have been absolutely heartbreaking,” King told NBC news. When he started talking about his parents coming into Marseilles to see him, he cried in front of the camera. Frankly we think NBC held the camera there too long to watch him crumple.

A fine moment for TV? Maybe, but opportunistic to the max. Then they played the interview over and over again. Nothing like a flat stage to create the opportunity for opportunistic television.

The Cannondale Team is now down to eight riders from their original nine for stage 5. Teams Cofidis and Astana are also down to 8 riders each.

Bob Roll pointed out on NBC that Geraint Thomas of Team Sky completed the time trial with a fracture in his pelvis. “The Tour is not fair,” he noted, but that’s what you have to expect when you compete in the most important race in the world.

After yesterday Peter Sagan is in the Green Jersey with 74 points. There is no doubt he will work hard to consolidate his lead. Pierre Rolland continues to hold the Polka Dot jersey with 10 points.


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