From Pain to Gain for Cavendish: Rojas Loses Green in DQ
And so they did, with the Manx Missile Mark Cavendish winning handily at the finish in Cap Frehel.
But the action did not come without lots of pain, crashes, an abandonment by one rider, as well as a disqualification for Joaquin Rojas resulting in a hand off of the Green Jersey to Phillipe Gilbert at the end of the day.
The scene unraveled in parallel with a virtual universe existing over the airwaves, where Cavendish’s destiny was being cheered on by a romantic well-wisher in London, England.
In the overall classification, Thor Hushovd retained his Yellow Jersey, with Cadel Evans second.
It was after days of frustrating finishes for the HTC Highroad sprinter who missed several opportunities for victories in the first, third and fourth stages, and must have vowed to not let another opportunity pass by.
Even in the intermediate sprints he was thwarted when he was penalized for pushing back Thor Hushovd in the intermediate sprint in Stage 3.
But today he won, and even for the fastest man on earth, it wasn’t easy:
I was pushed back with a couple of kilometers to go….I was just behind and I thought, ‘That’s it… now I’ll just have to go for the green jersey points.’ I just thought I’d salvage a few points but Bradley Wiggins was there, Geraint Thomas was there and they just went! With a couple of hundred meters to go I had to give it everything. I really didn’t think I’d win but I got my acceleration – I got the jump alongside Gilbert and, really, my legs were burning… it was really hard actually. I was coming, coming, coming and I was really surprised that I won,” said Cavendish.
Behind the scenes Cavendish who hails from the Isle of Man was also being prompted by a new found love interest through relentless Tweets Peta Todd, a 23-year-old British model who sent him hourly public messages encouraging him to win.
CI was the first to report the incessant interest by Ms. Todd on her Twitter account for wins from Cavendish.
To not win today would have been in essence both personally and professionally embarrassing for the ‘fastest man in the world.’
Starting as early as 10 AM Ms. Todd was tweeting “Come on boy. You can do this my love. You are INCREDIBLE! Next level class. @HTCHighroad COME ON TAKE NO SHIT!!!”
Todd even offered a plea to God for her new found love: “Dear God, I know i have been out of the flock for a while, but … can I ask a favour? Have you heard of the #TourdeFrance?”
She also promised to name her next son after him if he won, and when he did she wrote, “Proud doesnt even come close. @MarkCavendish you are a phenomenon both on and off a bike. Congratulations. And so it begins…”
Later she posted a picture of her son with Mark Cavendish in the background on television.
With all the action taking place outside of the race, it’s a miracle that the riders–particularly Cavendish–are able to concentrate on the task at hand such as riding over 99 miles a day for 20 days in grueling heat against the fastest cyclists in the world.
After showing a consistently good performance in the Tour so far with the most sprinter points, Green Jersey holder Joaquin Rojas was disqualified in the intermediate sprint.
Though the information could not be confirmed by officials at ASO, Rojas crossed the field during the sprint in Goudelin, causing Cavendish to put his hands up in frustration. In that sprint Rojas was ninth and Cavendish 13th.
Rojas’ loss gave fuel to prognosticators that Phillipe Gilbert of Omega Pharma Lotto would not only take the Green Jersey in the sixth stage again tomorrow, but that he would also be a man to contend with once the tour reaches the mountains.
Frank Schleck of Team Leopard Trek has now moved into third position in the overall rankings, a placement he may not have anticipated at the beginning of this year’s Tour: more likely he would expect his brother Andy Schleck to be there.
Last year Frank suffered several debilitating crashes in the first five stages, and he may have been determined not to let that happen again this time.
General Classification contender and 2010 Yellow Jersey winner Alberto Contador had another crash, and though he was quickly back on his bike, he rode with a torn jersey. But it would be folly to underestimate the ability of Contador to come back to the front once the competition reaches the mountains.
The course claimed even more accidents over the day, bringing down other experienced riders such as Robert Gesink of Team Rabobank, Tom Boonen of QuickStep, and Jani Brajkovic of Team RadioShack. Though Gesink and Boonen was able to get up and continue the race, Brajkovic suffered a concussion and a fractured collarbone, and has left the race confirmed his Race Director Johan Bruyneel.
Also around the 60 km mark there was a crash that involved about 12 riders including Chavanel (QST), Wiggins (SKY), Ten Dam (RAB), and Leipheimer (RSH).
“These crashes are not being caused by the course, the riders are literally touching wheels,” said Phil Liggett in his live Versus commentary today.
Steegmans (QST) as well as Boom (RAB) were caught up in a crash around the 90 km mark, but neither was badly injured.
An early break by four riders was established about 4 km from the start and included Gutierrez (MOV) who was joined by Valentin (COF), Turgot (EUR) and the youngest rider, Delaplace (SAU).
A break about 45 km to the finish by some of the same players as yesterday, Jeremy Roy of Francais des Jeux, and Frenchman Thomas Voeckler who is riding with Europcar this year stayed ahead of the peloton well past the 3 miles to the finish.
It was a brave move by the two riders who knew in their hearts of hearts that they might have to deal with the fast sprinters’ teams before they reached the finish.
All of the major sprinters were favored to win this stage, including Cavendish, Tyler Farrar, Tom Boonen who crashed, and Alessandro Petacchi of Team Lampre-ISD.
But the steamroller of HTC Highroad at 2 km from the finish was too fast for Thomas Voeckler as they eclipsed him on the road. Tyler Farrar’s Garmin Cervelo team was also lined up to take the lead for the sprint.
Thor Hushovd also got himself into position when Ben Swift accelerated from the field for the uphill finish, followed fast by Hushod who passed him, then Phillipe Gilbert who passed Hushvod, followed by Geraint Thomas, but it was Cavendish who took the wheel of Thomas who proved to be the fastest.
It was Cavendish’s 16th stage win in a Tour de France. The record for stage wins is 22.
OVERALL STANDINGS AT THE END OF STAGE 5. Source: ASO
|1.||HUSHOVD Thor||51||TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO||17h 36′ 57″|
|2.||EVANS Cadel||141||BMC RACING TEAM||17h 36′ 58″||+ 00′ 01″|
|3.||SCHLECK Frank||18||TEAM LEOPARD-TREK||17h 37′ 01″||+ 00′ 04″|
|4.||MILLAR David||56||TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO||17h 37′ 05″||+ 00′ 08″|
|5.||KLÖDEN Andréas||74||TEAM RADIOSHACK||17h 37′ 07″||+ 00′ 10″|
|6.||WIGGINS Bradley||111||SKY PROCYCLING||17h 37′ 07″||+ 00′ 10″|
|7.||THOMAS Geraint||117||SKY PROCYCLING||17h 37′ 09″||+ 00′ 12″|
|8.||HAGEN Edvald Boasson||114||SKY PROCYCLING||17h 37′ 09″||+ 00′ 12″|
|9.||FUGLSANG Jakob||13||TEAM LEOPARD-TREK||17h 37′ 09″||+ 00′ 12″|
|10.||SCHLECK Andy||11||TEAM LEOPARD-TREK||17h 37′ 09″||+ 00′ 12″|
|11.||MARTIN Tony||175||HTC – HIGHROAD||17h 37′ 10″||+ 00′ 13″|
|12.||VELITS Peter||179||HTC – HIGHROAD||17h 37′ 10″||+ 00′ 13″|
|13.||HORNER Christopher||72||TEAM RADIOSHACK||17h 37′ 15″||+ 00′ 18″|
|14.||LEIPHEIMER Levi||75||TEAM RADIOSHACK||17h 37′ 15″||+ 00′ 18″|
|15.||GESINK Robert||41||RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM||17h 37′ 17″||+ 00′ 20″|
|16.||VINOKOUROV Alexandre||61||PRO TEAM ASTANA||17h 37′ 29″||+ 00′ 32″|
|17.||GILBERT Philippe||32||OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO||17h 37′ 30″||+ 00′ 33″|
|18.||VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen||31||OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO||17h 37′ 36″||+ 00′ 39″|
|19.||BARREDO Carlos||42||RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM||17h 37′ 37″||+ 00′ 40″|
|20.||GAUTIER Cyril||183||TEAM EUROPCAR||17h 37′ 55″||+ 00′ 58″|
|21.||BASSO Ivan||91||LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE||17h 38′ 00″||+ 01′ 03″|
|22.||DE WEERT Kevin||124||QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM||17h 38′ 01″||+ 01′ 04″|
|23.||GERDEMANN Linus||14||TEAM LEOPARD-TREK||17h 38′ 03″||+ 01′ 06″|
|24.||ROCHE Nicolas||101||AG2R LA MONDIALE||17h 38′ 09″||+ 01′ 12″|
|25.||CUNEGO Damiano||161||LAMPRE – ISD||17h 38′ 09″||+ 01′ 12″|
|26.||SILIN Egor||198||KATUSHA TEAM||17h 38′ 09″||+ 01′ 12″|
|27.||ROJAS Jose Joaquin||88||MOVISTAR TEAM||17h 38′ 12″||+ 01′ 15|
STAGE FINISH STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 5: Source: ASO
|1.||CAVENDISH Mark||171||HTC – HIGHROAD||3h 38′ 32″|
|2.||GILBERT Philippe||32||OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|3.||ROJAS Jose Joaquin||88||MOVISTAR TEAM||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|4.||GALLOPIN Tony||156||COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|5.||THOMAS Geraint||117||SKY PROCYCLING||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|6.||GREIPEL André||33||OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|7.||HINAULT Sébastien||105||AG2R LA MONDIALE||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|8.||BONNET William||132||FDJ||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|9.||OSS Daniel||95||LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|10.||HUSHOVD Thor||51||TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|11.||EVANS Cadel||141||BMC RACING TEAM||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|12.||KLÖDEN Andréas||74||TEAM RADIOSHACK||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|13.||JEANNESSON Arnold||134||FDJ||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|14.||O’GRADY Stuart||16||TEAM LEOPARD-TREK||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|15.||VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen||31||OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|16.||KREUZIGER Roman||66||PRO TEAM ASTANA||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|17.||RUIJGH Rob||208||VACANSOLEIL-DCM||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|18.||WIGGINS Bradley||111||SKY PROCYCLING||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|19.||ROUX Anthony||137||FDJ||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|20.||ROCHE Nicolas||101||AG2R LA MONDIALE||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|21.||GALIMZYANOV Denis||193||KATUSHA TEAM||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|22.||GAUTIER Cyril||183||TEAM EUROPCAR||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|23.||FUGLSANG Jakob||13||TEAM LEOPARD-TREK||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|24.||PINEAU Jérôme||127||QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|25.||SANCHEZ Samuel||21||EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|26.||MARTIN Tony||175||HTC – HIGHROAD||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|27.||LEUKEMANS Bjorn||205||VACANSOLEIL-DCM||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|
|28.||VINOKOUROV Alexandre||61||PRO TEAM ASTANA||3h 38′ 32″||+ 00′ 00″|