Stage 5 of the 2011 Tour de France featured a variety of crashes, a couple of breakaways, and a windy, difficult sprint, but that didn't stop the typical result from coming at the end. No matter what the circumstances are, it appears that Mark Cavendish is too good to be beat when he is at his absolute best, and he was exactly that today as he won his first stage of this year's Tour.
The initial breakaway was caught much too early, allowing a second attack to take off from the peloton around 20 kilometers from the finish. That breakaway involved the darling of French cycling and a two-time Tour de France stage winner, Thomas Voeckler, who held on until the very last minutes. The peloton caught Voeckler just before the setup for the sprint began, taking what would have been a much deserved victory from the always entertaining Frenchman.
Yellow Jersey holder Thor Hushovd, Green Jersey holder Jose Joaquin Rojas, Stage 1 winner Phillipe Gilbert, and Cavendish were the men involved in the windy, uphill sprint at the very end, but Cavendish showed his superiority in sprints at the very end, leading his other competitors behind to take the stage win. Though Cavendish is the story of the day with his 16th career Tour win, Rojas and Hushovd will be very satisfied with their performances, as they will keep their jerseys for another day.
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