Stage 5 of the 2011 Tour de France has been a nasty one so far, with big names getting pushed out of the intermediate sprint and equally big names crashing. Mark Cavendish got muscled out of the sprint and failed to gain ground in the green jersey competition, while three riders who were gunning for top ten finishes in the general classification have hit the pavement.
Cavendish appeared to be very well positioned to get maximum points from the sprint, sitting just behind the two Movistar riders in front of him, as well as Tom Boonen, but Cavendish underestimated how hard it is to get around the massive Belgian. Boonen blocked Cavendish, a visibly frustrated Cavendish stopped sprinting his hardest, and Borut Bozic finished in the highest place among the peloton. Tyler Farrar was a non-factor while Jose Joaquin Rojas expanded his points lead by picking up seven points.
Shortly after the sprint, crashes claimed three riders. Robert Gessink, a contender for the podium and Alberto Contador, the pre-race favorite, both went down but have since re-joined the peloton. However, Team RadioShack rider Janez Brajkovic, an outside contender for the top 10, has been forced to withdraw after hitting his head hard on a crash. Interestingly enough, team Leopard Trek, the team of Andy Schleck, went to the front and started making the pace after the crashes occurred. Do as I say, not as I do, right Andy?
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