08/07/15 - 12:00
Arras - Amiens
Tour de France • Stage5

Arras - Amiens

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No change in the overall standings with Tony Martin staying 12 seconds clear of Chris Froome and 25 seconds clear of Tejay Van Garderen.


Peter Sagan was second, Cavendish third, Kristoff fourth and Boasson Hagen fifth.


What a blistering finish for Lotto-Soudal's Greipel - who will take a huge 50 points in the green jersey competition with that latest victory.


But jolly green giant Andre Greipel powers through to take his second win of the race!


Cavendish has lost his lead-out man in Renshaw... and Kristoff leads it out from Demare...


Under the flamme rouge they go... and it's Lotto-Soudal setting the pace for Greipel.


Now Giant come through now with three riders.


Tony Martin leads the pack through a tight left-hander - he has three Etixx men in his wheel, including Cavendish. This is theirs to lose.


We're now in the safe zone... Astana still heavily present on the front, tucked in besides MTN.


Etixx have power in numbers for Cavendish. Coquard is up there too. Sagan, Greipel and Demare too.


The peloton is slitting ahead of a roundabout - and those who went left (Giant-Alpecin) have missed out... Sky, Etixx and Tinkoff took the correct option and front the pack.


Sky have wrested control on the front - they want to deliver their man Froome to the 3km mark safely.


Edvald Boasso-Hagan must be back and ready because MTN-Qhubeka are readying their troops. Alexander Kristoff, who has had a very quiet race for Katusha, is there but tucked away. Giant-Alpecin are preparing their train for John Degenkolb. Etixx have a large group around Cavendish and Martin... There's Sagan too for Tinkoff.


BMC back to the front - they're not really there for the stage win (unless Greg Van Avermaet has good legs - unlikely, given his crash earlier on). They're most concerned with keeping Tejay van Garderen out of trouble. There's a headwind and many teams are trying to bring their main riders forward. Bryan Coquard, who crashed twice earlier, is there with Europcar team-mate Yohann Gene, while the green jersey of Andre Greipel looks a little isolated.


The rain has stopped, the roads are dry - but the stormy clouds still loom over Amiens on the horizon. Tinkoff-Saxo have come to the front to keep Alberto Contador out of trouble - and there's the yellow jersey of Tony Martin, in second place behind the rainbow stripes of Michal Kwiatkowski. They'll be working for Mark Cavendish today.


Thibaut Pinot has managed to rejoin the peloton after being held up in that crash. The pace has slowed again - it looks like it was all about fighting for positions ahead of a town with narrow roads, bends and street furniture.


The pace has really been cranked up on a wide downhill stretch of road. BMC, Sky and Astana jostle for positions and it's really hotting up in this front peloton, which is down to about 60 riders now.


Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2R-La Mondiale) was also involved in the crash. Both he and Pinot - the two riders alongside Vincenzo Nibali on the podium in Paris last year - will need to fight back now.


The pace has slowed after that crash as the held-up riders fight back on. Everyone got back on their bikes but it will just as to the nervousness - as exemplified in a roundabout, which the chasing riders take very gingerly.


That crash occured when Marco Haller of Katusha - the Australian national champion - skidded into the back of someone and then send the riders down like skittles. Matto Tossato, the oldest man in the peloton, came down, as did fellow veteran Svein Tuft. Scarponi and Kruijswijk too - plus a number of Katusha riders - and Boasson-Hagen.


When it rains it pours for Thibaut Pinot, who is one of the riders to be caught up in the crash.


CRASH: Scores of riders come down heavily on a slippery road - once one comes down there's a domino effect which spreads like the ripples in a lake. Some of the riders career into the side barriers - and although no-one looks badly hurt, it's quite a dramatic spectacle and involves riders from pretty much ever team.


That second group is now five and a half minutes off the pace - they are taking it very easy. There are no real big names here - certainly not for the GC - and so their motivation is not high.


For those of you who think not much is happening out there in the Somme...


Alberto Contador looks pretty miserable out there - given the weather, can you really blame him? Meanwhile, the second peloton is now 4:15 back. There are about 50 riders in that group, it seems.


Alberto Contador looks pretty miserable out there - given the weather, can you really blame him? Meanwhile, the second peloton is now 4:15 back. There are about 50 riders in that group, it seems.


Orica-GreenEdge DS Matt White is tipping Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) for the win today. That would make it three out of five for Germany - and that's without the absent Marcel Kittel...


It's still Sky, Movistar, BMC and Astana doing the collective lion's share of the work on the front of the pack, with Tinkoff-Saxo, Etixx-QuickStep and Giant-Alpecin playing a secondary role. The pace slows through a town with fresh tarmac, numerous bends and pieces of road furniture.


The roads are still wet and although the rain jackets have come off, arm warmers are te order of the day. The second group is still three minutes off the pace - they won't regain touch before the finish.


CRASH: Steve Morabito skids in a town and comes off his bike beside spectators on the pavement. He's back up and on his way, but banged his left elbow and hop there.


There's a lull after that spate of crashes, punctures and splits. That second group of around 30 riders still trails the peloton by about three minutes. Luca Paolini (Katusha) has punctured. Lars Boom and Laurens ten Dam are in the second group, as is Alex Dowsett. But none of the Big Four or top race favourites.


Latest time check to the second peloton is 2:45 now so it's not looking good for the riders who missed the split. The race has passed numerous monuments to soldiers killed during the War - including specific memorials to British and South African troops.


Richie Porte is in that second group alongside British national champion Peter Kennaugh. Other big names include Thomas Voeckler, Rafal Majka, Dani Navarro and Michael Matthews. It's over two minutes back now...


Puncture for Mark Cavendish of Etixx-QuickStep. He has three team-mates with him and will be able to fight back on without too much ado. It does leave race leader Tony Martin momentarily isolated, however...


FLASHPOINT: A motorbike loses its grip on a grass verge as it's overtaking the peloton and crashes on the side of the road right next to Chris Froome and his Sky team-mates. That could have been pretty nasty...


The gap is over a minute now back to the second peloton as the rain continues to fall. The team's of the Big Four are all present on the front - as is the BMC team of Tejay van Garderen.


Sky's Peter Kennaugh is in the second group that his team-mates are helping to distance. Also Wilco Kelderman, Lars Boom, Julian Arredondo and a whole cluster of GreenEdge riders.


Sky's Peter Kennaugh is in the second group that his team-mates are helping to distance. Also Wilco Kelderman, Lars Boom, Julian Arredondo and a whole cluster of GreenEdge riders.


Sky are really throwing down the hammer here on the undulating roads of the Pas-de-Calais - the gaps are getting bigger and bigger, with numerous riders tailed off, including Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Tinkoff-Saxo pair Ivan Basso and Rafal Majka.


Nathan Hass drives the leading group, clearly trying to turn things round for Cannondale-Garmin. He's there until Sky come to the front and take over the reins. It's raining again.


Jack Bauer (Cannondale-Garmin) has withdrawn from the race. He crashed in stage three, yesterday and today - enough is enough. Too bad for the New Zealander, who came so close to winning a stage last year.


That said, Matthews is at the back of the last sector of the peloton - which has split up into numerous groups as the road heads on a sweeping downhill. BMC are not driving the pace - and the gaps are growing...


Chapeau, Michael Matthews: the bandaged and bruised Orica-GreenEdge rider is back with the pack.


Michael Matthews is struggling off the back of the peloton. He's grimacing as he negotiates an uphill drag - the Australian clearly suffering from those injuries sustained in the pile-up that marred stage three.


It's all back together after those splits. No rain for the time being but the roads are still a bit "slidey" to use Sean Kelly vernacular.


The split after the intermediate sprint apparently came when Mick Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) was involved in a small spill.


Talking of food... today's plat du jour: The Picardy region in France is famous for its chitterlings - the small intestines of a pig, which the locals make into andouillette sausage. To help get rid of the flavour have a swig of Pelforth. Brewed in the suburbs of nearby Lille, Pelforth is an iconic French brown ale that packs a punch far bigger than the one that felled Eddy Merckx on the Puy de Dome climb during the 1975 Tour. Its name comes from the beer's logo - a pelican - and the French word for strong - fort. The H was added to give it an English feel. If 6.5% is too much, then try the local, sweet Picardy rhubarb juice - less alcohol content than a very weak American fizzy lager.


The peloton has split a little as it exits the feedzone. Etixx-QuickStep have upped the tempo with yellow jersey Tony Martin in the wheel of world champion Michal Kwiatkowski.


A second peloton - led by half a dozen Cannondale-Garmin riders - rejoin the main pack. They must have lost touch after things got feisty during that intermediate sprint. Quintana, it's worth addign, is safely back in the pack after those bike changes.


It's all over for Pierre-Luc Perichon: the 27-year-old Bretagne-Seche Environnement (BSE) rider was out from the 2km mark after joining Nicolas Edet. But when Edet dropped back following that crash involving his Cofidis team-mate Nacer Bouhanni, Perichon was always up against it.


Andre Greipel beats fellow German John Degenkolb in the intermediate sprint, with Mark Cavendish third and Peter Sagan fourth at Rancourt. That was a well-contested affair, which bodes well for the finale in Amiens. Greipel will increase his lead by two points over Degenkolb there. Pierre-Luc Perichon, it's worth adding, crossed the line a bit earlier to take the maximum 20 points.


Believe it or not: Amiens cathedral is the tallest and largest 13th century Gothic church of its kind in France, and the town hosts the largest Christmas market in northern France.


Double bike change for Nairo Quintana, who multitasks by taking a call of nature on the side of the road while his Movistar mechanics sort out his steed. The Colombian punctures the first time, then needed a bike more in sync with his small size the second time round.


Perichon has just 45 seconds now so may well be caught ahead of the intermediate sprint.


There's a split in the peloton after that crash as the rain starts to pour once again. As for Bryan Coquard - he has two Europcar team-mates with him and they're trying to fight back on. They're over a minute off the pace at the moment...


CRASH: A raft of riders go down in the peloton - including that man Bryan Coquard once again. The Europcar sprinter is having a shocker today. Katusha's Tiago Machado looks to be in a bit of pain but otherwise everyone is back on their way fairly swiftly.


History: This will be the 10th finish in Amiens but the first since 1999 when Mario Cipollini won. Six years earlier, Johan Bruneel won in Amiens. As for Arras, it features as a start town for the second successive year.


The gap is back up to 1:50 for Perichon. The sun is out but grey clouds loom on the horizon. The roads are dry for the moment, though, which will be welcome after all those crashes earlier on in the stage.


The rain capes are going on and off pretty consistently today. At the moment it's dry. Pierre-Luc Perichon is about 15km away from the intermediate sprint at Rancourt.


Lone leader Perichon still has 1:20 on the pack which is riding very gingerly after those earlier crashes. If you're just joining us, the big news is that French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni (Codifis) is out of the race with a suspected broken wrist after a heavy fall shortly after the start of today's 189.5km stage through the battlefields of the Somme.


CRASH: Bryan Coquard goes down on a slippery corner. Europcar team-mate Thomas Voeckler stops to help out the sprinter, who looked to be wincing in pain before he got back on his bike. He'll struggle to get back on ahead of the intermediate sprint...


The rain is coming down pretty heavily now - although it's currently dry at the finish in Amiens, which is the home town of Arnaud Demare of FDJ. He says he knows the finish like the back of his hand - will the local insider knowledge give him an advantage over the big guns in the final sprint today?


We spoke to Mark Cavendish ahead of today's stage - the hot favourite today, with four wins in stage 5 in the Tour in the past seven years... Is the green jersey a target for the Manxman? "It's just something I have to keep in mind - I'm not actively going for it, but if I get stage wins and the green jersey follows, then why not."


It's just 1:15 now for Pierre-Luc Perichon and so the Tour debutant from Bretagne-Seche Environnement will soon be swept up - unless the peloton decide to toy with him.


There were contrasting fortunes for the French GC hopes yesterday. While Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) and Romain Bardet (Ag2R-La Mondiale) held their own with the Big Four, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) both lost a further three odd minutes to the favourites. Rolland is now 10 minutes down on GC, while Pinot nearly seven minutes. Pinot had a right hissy fit thanks to a series of mechanical failures with his bike - and refused to swap steeds with a team-mate. Unlike Tony Martin, who did - and who won the stage and took the yellow jersey...


Andre Geipel, the green jersey from Lotto-Soudal, must have had a problem because he's riding back on alongside a Sky rider. The front of the pack is bunched up tight, and it then has a long tail that stretches out in its wake. Greipel is about 40 seconds off the pace now, so he'll have his work cut out.


Perichon, a former track specialist, is riding solo 2:05 ahead of the peloton as the ride continues to fall on the pack.


There are no categorised climbs today so Joaquim Rodriguez's polka dot jersey is secure. The Spaniard from Katusha picked up his two points on the Mur de Huy in stage three - and he leads four riders with one solitary point.


Some of those Cofidis riders who went down in the crash that forced out Nacer Bouhanni are only just regaining contact with the peloton. Muddied and bruised, Luis Angel Mate and Dani Navarro are back in the pack.


The pace of the opening hour today was only 39km/h which reflects the conditions and the those crashes. It's worth reiterating that this stage - although likely to end up in a sprint - is far from a routine flat schlep. It's lumpy, windy, quite cold and rather soggy - so all in all, it will be a tough day in the saddle. Many are envisaging some splits later on too, with crosswinds taking their toll.


Lone leader Pierre-Luc Perichon probably didn't envisage his first break on the Tour de France happening like this. His lead has been slashed to 2:15 and he's clearly struggling with being the only man out on the road now. It will be interesting to see if any other riders try their luck and bridge the gap - Perichon could do with the company...


CRASH: There's another incident involving BMC's Greg van Avermaet and some Cannondale-Garmin riders. They're all back on their bikes - but it goes to show just how ropey the conditions are out there in this wind and rain.


Michael Albasini was also involved in that crash earlier on - he's currently riding with very muddy shorts. The last thing Orica-GreenEdge need ahead of the team time trial in stage nine is another rider forced out... We're also hearing Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Brice Feillu (Bretagne) were involved too.


The aftermath of that crash involving Nacer Bouhanni and a bunch of Cofidis team-mates. It looks like the former French national champion damaged his wrist...


Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) is the eighth rider to abandon the Tour, joining William Bonnet (FDJ), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), Dmitrii Kozonchuk (Katusha), Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey (both Orica-GreenEdge), Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Andreas Schillinger (Bora-Argon 18) on the sidelines. We're down to 190 riders now.


Edet has now been caught by the peloton leaving Perichon out alone. The 28-year-old Tour de France debutant has a lead of 3:45 over the pack.


With Bouhanni en route to hospital in an ambulance, his Cofidis team-mate Nicolas Edet has been told to keep pedalling. Edet finds himself in no-man's land: he's three minutes behind the lone leader Pierre-Luc Perichon and 50 seconds ahead of the pack.


Nacer Bouhanni has been forced to withdraw from the race following that crash. Terrible bad luck for the Frenchman, who had high hopes of making a splash in this year's race.


A reminder that Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) wears the white jersey as best-placed young rider. He leads Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) by 40 seconds and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) by 1:29.


That Bouhanni crash also brought down three other Cofidis riders - hence the need for Edet to rethink his responsibilities and drop off the front. That leads Pierre-Luc Perichon as the only rider out ahead - great news for his team's sponsors, but it's a tough ask on such an undulating parcours, buffeted by wind and drizzle.


That's why Edet has vanished: Bouhanni has crashed in the peloton and he's required to help out with domestique duties. Remember, Bouhanni started the whole Tour as a doubt after cracking a rib during the French national championships. Let's hope it's nothing too serious out there.


Nicolas Edet appears to have been caught by the peloton - the Frenchman either picked up a puncture or has decided to forget the break and concentrate on helping Codifis team-mate Nacer Bouhanni to a victory at Amiens later today.


Andre Greipel, the Rostock Gorilla, retained the green jersey yesterday despite not finishing in the main pack after being distanced on the succession of cobbled sections that animated the final 45km of the longest stage of the race. Greipel leads Peter Sagan by six points and John Degenkolb by 24 points: 84, 78, 60.


The two leaders have quickly established a gap of two and a half minutes in the light drizzle of the dour Pas-de-Calais. Today is the first stage that we haven't seen a Europcar rider involved in the break.


A reminder of the overall standings after yesterday's stage four: Chris Froome relinquished the yellow jersey in what he described as "the perfect scenario" and now trails big Tony Martin by 12 seconds. Impressive American Tejay van Garderen lurks in third place at 25 seconds with Frenchman Tony Gallopin and Slovakian Peter Sagan completing the top five.


There's an early attack from Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne-Seche Environnement).


They're off! The remaining 191 riders roll out of Arras and get the show on the road. After the carnage of stage three there were no overnight withdrawals. Britain's Alex Dowsett (Movistar) continues despite a nasty gash to his elbow sustained during a crash on the cobbles yesterday. He finished the stage in last place.


Before the start of today's stage the 2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome and Sky team-mate Peter Kennaugh laid wreaths on the Commonwealth Memorial at the Franco-British cemetary in Arras in homage to the those soldiers killed during World War One.


Stage 4 recap: Germany's Tony Martin took advantage of a momentary lull after seven gruelling cobblestone sections in the longest stage of the Tour de France to solo to victory in Cambrai and seize the yellow jersey. After attacking with 2.5km remaining of the 223.5km stage from Seraing, Martin held on to finish three seconds clear of a chasing group of main favourites - including overnight leader Chris Froome of Team Sky.


On paper this stage is one for the sprinters - with Mark Cavendish's name on many people's betting slips. Four times in the last seven Tours Cavendish has opened up his account with a win in stage 5 - and after team-mate Tony Martin's victory and yellow jersey ride over the cobbles yesterday, morale must be sky high for Etixx-QuickStep.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 5 of the Tour de France - a flat and exposed 189.5km ride through the battlefields of the Somme from Arras to Amiens.