photo credit @ Twitter
Amidst foul weather conditions, Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quickstep) claimed his third stage victory in this year’s Tour of California today, winning a sprint finish ahead of Zico Waeytens (Giant-Alpecin) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Meanwhile, Toms Skujins (Hincapie Racing) avoided the chaos of today’s late crash, to retain his grip on the overall race lead, as riders face 10.6 kilometer time trial event tomorrow, which was moved from Big bear Lake to Santa Clarita due to inclement weather.
In the post-race press conference, Cavendish thanked his teammates for the hard work they’ve put in all week, along with compliments for the Hincapie team for the way they defended their leader’s yellow jersey.
“To be fair, today I can’t say that we’re the only tea that did it,” Cavendish said of the chase to bring back the breakaway. “The past couple of days the Hincapie team have been pretty phenomenal controlling the race.
“They really have been so strong the last few days that the peloton’s been lined out the whole day. So we’ve just had to swap guys from day to day. We used Yves Lampaert and Martin Velits yesterday, and today and Today Stijn [Vanedbergh]. Stijn is big and he’s strong, and he can just go all day. Superb teammate. Committed, as were all of them.”
Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing), Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin), Javier Megias Leal (Novo Nordisk), Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly-Maxxis) and Geoffrey Curran (Axeon Cycling), formed the day’s breakaway group, after the quintet managed to escape during the first few kilometers of the race.
With 52 kilometers remaining, Chris Butler (team SmartStop), began closing in on the breakaway group, after he escaped from the peloton 20 kilometers earlier. And, it wasn’t long before he made his way to the group, along one of the many undulating climbs.
Back in the peloton, Etixx-QuickStep and Hincapie Racing continued pushing the chase, until the breakaway group was in their clutches.
As a result, Wyss decided to try and make a go of it alone during the final 5 kilometers. But, his move was short-lived, as Team Sky’s Danny Pate brought the peloton back together as they rode into Santa Clarita.
However, the flow of the peloton was interrupted by a crash during the final kilometers, which caused a reduced group of about 40 riders to regain the lead.
From there, Drapac came to the front with hopes of setting up their man Wouter Wippert, who had Sagan poised on his wheel and ready to pounce.
However, Cavendish had other plans, as the Manx Missile initiated one of his signature accelerations for the line – leaving Sagan unable to respond.
In fact, the Slovakian was quickly passed by Waeytens during the waning moments of the race, and had to settle for third place.
Stage 5 Results
GBR 1 CAVENDISH, Mark (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) 3:51:37
BEL 2 WAEYTENS, Zico (GIANT – ALPECIN)
SVK 3 SAGAN, Peter (TINKOFF – SAXO)
LUX 4 DRUCKER, Jean-Pierre (BMC RACING)
NED 5 VAN POPPEL, Danny (TREK FACTORY RACING)
CAN 6 BOIVIN, Guillaume (OPTUM P/B KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES)
USA 7 MURPHY, John (UNITEDHEALTHCARE)
AUS 8 GOSS, Matthew Harley (MTN – QHUBEKA)
NED 9 TEUNISSEN, Mike (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
USA 10 OIEN, Justin (AXEON CYCLING TEAM)
ARG 11 HAEDO, Lucas Sebastian (JAMIS – HAGENS BERMAN)
POR 12 GUERREIRO, Ruben (AXEON CYCLING TEAM)
NZL 13 SMITH, Dion (HINCAPIE RACING TEAM)
ITA 14 PERON, Andrea (NOVO NORDISK)
USA 15 CRADDOCK, Lawson (GIANT – ALPECIN)
General Classification after Stage 5
LAT 1 SKUJINS, Toms (HINCAPIE RACING TEAM) 22:02:34
SVK 2 SAGAN, Peter (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 18
FRA 3 ALAPHILIPPE, Julian (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 44
NED 4 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 47
NZL 5 SMITH, Dion (HINCAPIE RACING TEAM)
BEL 6 HERMANS, Ben (BMC RACING)
USA 7 CRADDOCK, Lawson (GIANT – ALPECIN)
AUS 8 MCCARTHY, Jay (TINKOFF – SAXO)
GBR 9 KENNAUGH, Peter (SKY)
SLO 10 BRAJKOVIC, Janez (UNITEDHEALTHCARE)
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