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"I didn’t witness any today as we were right at the front. That’s a stressful way to ride - and it consumes a lot of energy - but it’s the safest way, so that’s what we’ve been doing."

Photo: Sirotti






08.07.2015 @ 22:06 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Chris Froome came through a crash-affected fifth stage of the Tour de France unscathed after Andre Greipel had sprinted to a second stage win in Amiens.


Once again, Froome’s team-mates kept their leader well positioned from beginning to end with Wout Poels, Leopold Konig, Richie Porte and Peter Kennaugh working hard during the first half of the race before Nicolas Roche, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas guided him through a nervy finale.


Froome was awarded the same time as Greipel – crossing the line in 28th place - after the German had romped to a second success in 72 hours.


Greipel (Lotto Soudal) timed his late kick to perfection, and latched on to Mark Cavendish’s wheel in the last 200m before rounding the Etixx – Quick-Step rider and holding off a late charge from the impressive Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo).


That result meant there were no significant changes at the top of the general classification, with Froome remaining 12 seconds behind Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step) in the battle for the yellow jersey.


After the stage, Stannard admitted it had been another tough day in the saddle, but was pleased with the way things had panned out.


He said: “There was absolutely everything out there today. It rained on and off, which made the roads slippery, and it was also windy. That made for a stressful day and it was actually more tiring out there than on a crosswind stage.


“We’re taking things day by day at the moment, gaining what we can and limiting our losses, and we’re happy it’s gone to plan so far.”


Intermittent rain showers had made for very sketchy conditions, and a succession of crashes brought many fresh casualties. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was one big-name rider forced to abandon, and although Poels and Konig tumbled in the last 25km, both were able to continue.


Froome never looked in any danger however as his troops rallied around him, and was among 65 riders who followed Greipel home after his 11th win of the season. 



Back at the bus, Rowe was happy to have ticked another stage off, and was able to reflect on a tough but productive first five days at the Tour.


He said: “The first week was always billed as being like a classic each day, and it’s lived up to expectations. Every day has been super nervous and there’s been so many crashes. I didn’t witness any today as we were right at the front. That’s a stressful way to ride – and it consumes a lot of energy – but it’s the safest way, so that’s what we’ve been doing.


“I’m certainly feeling it in my legs, but when you drop back and see guys ripped to bits with holes in their shorts, you’re glad you did what you did.


“The atmosphere in camp is really good right now. If you’d have told us we’d be in this position at the start of the Tour, we’d have snapped your hand off. We couldn’t ask to be in a better situation. Froomey’s flying – he’s proved that already and will do so again in the mountains – and the morale’s high.” 



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