For a very short moment after Wednesday's largely soporific Stage 5, Deceuninck-QuickStep held both the yellow and green jersey through their riders Julian Alaphilippe and Sam Bennett.
With Alaphilippe finishing with all the other GC favourites, and Bennett winning the intermediate sprint before taking third place in the final sprint, the team had achieved their objectives for the day – most notably Bennett wresting the green jersey from Peter Sagan's back. Of course, a maiden Tour stage win for Bennett would have been the cherry on the cake – but no one was going to beat the rampant Wout van Aert on a finish like that.

Watch as Van Aert times sprint to perfection to win Stage 5

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The Dutchman Cees Bol almost did, benefitting from a superb lead out on the technical finale from his Sunweb team, but Van Aert is riding in another galaxy right now. The Belgian benefited from a rare day off the Jumbo-Visma leash to add a second career Tour stage win to a post-lockdown palmares that already included Strade Bianche, Milano-Sanremo and the opening stage of the Dauphiné. Not a bad haul considering Van Aert's horrific injury struggles after crashing out of last year's Tour.
Entering the Tour, Van Aert's form was so mesmerising that many outlined the 25-year-old Belgian as the principal threat to Peter Sagan's green empire.
But here we are, five days deep into the race, and Bennett now leads the stuttering Sagan by nine points, with stage winners Alexander Kristoff and Caleb Ewan both lurking. Van Aert is 73 points down in eighth place, his talent largely being deployed in the service of teammate Primoz Roglic, which he did to devastating effect on Tuesday while helping to set up the Slovenian for the win.
Wind forward 24 hours and, despite successive triumphs for Jumbo-Visma, Bennett would be forgiven thinking that his little bit of history-making would have made more headlines than it has.
For no sooner had he been crowned the first Irishman since Sean Kelly in 1989 to don the Tour's green jersey – to don any Tour classification jersey, for that matter – than it was announced that teammate Alaphilippe had lost his on a technicality.
Taking a water bottle from a badly placed Deceuninck-QuickStep soigneur outside the permitted area meant the Frenchman was slapped with a 20-second penalty that resulted in him walking around to the Mitchelton-Scott team bus to hand over his cuddly lion to Adam Yates.
The loss of yellow on the eve of the Tour's second summit finish – and with Roglic on such scintillating form – will force Deceuninck-QuickStep to switch focus from Alaphilippe's yellow to Bennett's green.
The 29-year-old spoke of his pride at following two Irish legends after swapping the Irish national champion's green for the green of the point's classification on Wednesday.
I was focused today on taking the green jersey and having it and following in the footsteps of Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche feels amazing. I am delighted and proud with it and want to enjoy this moment and continue to fight for green.
But how long can Bennett keep a hold of the jersey? Could he, on his first Tour appearance since 2016, even wear it all the way to Paris?

Sam Bennett on green jersey: I have never had such mixed emotions

Sagan's ability to get himself into the day's breakaway could mean the Bora-Hansgrohe rider takes the jersey back as early as Thursday, with the intermediate sprint of Stage 6 coming before the three categorised climbs and finish at Mont Aigoual.
Indeed, it will be interesting to see if Bennett takes on Sagan at his own game and tries to get into the breaks on days which don't offer any joy for the sprinters at the finish. You would think that the focus for Bennett would remain the elusive Tour stage win that would see him become the member of the select group of riders to have won stages in all three of cycling's Grand Tours.
But he could also sense the vulnerability of the man who has become synonymous with the green jersey. Could Bennett be the rider to deprive Sagan of his eighth green jersey in nine years – the man that stops the 30-year-old from entering into Paris without the green garment for the first time in his career?

Bennett's green jersey is huge for Irish cycling - Sean Kelly

Kelly, a four-time points classification winner in the Tour, fears that a shift in focus from Bennett could cost his countryman his chance of opening up his account – and might take the edge off him in the bunch sprints.
Speaking during The Breakaway, Eurosport pundit Kelly spoke of "the buzz" Bennett has generated back home in Ireland with his victories in both the Giro and Vuelta, but fears the green jersey could become a distraction.
If he starts thinking more about the green jersey and picking up points – [then perhaps] in the final sprint you're not taking the risks you should be taking because you don't want to get tangled up in a crash, [but] then to get stage victories it's difficult. I made that mistake in my Tours – you're thinking about the green, you're just playing careful. And if you play careful in the sprint, you just back off a bit, then you lose your chance of going for the stage victory.
For "King Kelly" to admit to under-performing in the Tour is quite something, considering he still won five stages in his time. But set against his 16 career wins in the Vuelta, then he probably has a point: his pursuit of green clearly did take the edge off his ability to win bunch sprints.
At this point, Bennett would probably settle for just the one of Kelly's five Tour stage wins. He will have to wait until Friday's stage to Lavaur before he gets the chance. Whether he'll still be in green then remains to be seen and could well depend on how he and his Deceuninck-QuickStep team decide to progress. In any case, Sagan certainly has a battle on his hands this year.
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