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Tour de France standings 2016: Greg Van Avermaet wins 1st mountain stage, takes over yellow

Greg Van Avermaet soloed away on a tough climbing stage to win Stage 5 and take over the top sport on the standings of a Grand Tour for the first time in his long career.

Greg Van Avermaet broke free of fellow Belgian rider Thomas de Gendt with 17 kilometers to go on Stage 5 of the 2016 Tour de France. Though not strictly a climber, Van Avermaet powered through the stage's two remaining steep, punchy climbs with little challenge from the chase or a peloton that was well out of striking distance. With the win, the BMC rider got the second Tour stage win of his career and, more importantly, took over the yellow jersey for the first time ever.

Stage 5 was far from one of the harder mountain stages in the Tour, but with 30 kilometers it broke yellow jersey bearer Peter Sagan. The ride through the Massif Central wasn't a decisive stage, but its steep gradients culled the peloton to proper climbers. As Sagan fell back, he smiled. As talented as he is, he likely didn't have many delusions about who this race is really for.

The biggest general classification contenders were content to survive the stage with the rest of the peloton until late. The break of Van Avermaet and de Gendt -- as well as Andriy Hrivko, Bartosz Huzarski and Rafal Majka in the chases -- took too much of lead to pursue, especially considering their relatively meager final general classification aspirations.

That doesn't mean there wasn't excitement. With a little more than a kilometer to go, Romain Bardet exploded out of the peloton and drew out GC favorite in pursuit on final climb. Team Movistar riders Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde quickly caught his wheel, but for a few shaky moments Team Sky and Chris Froome were nowhere to be seen. They caught Bardet, Valverde and Quintana, but not without some trepidation.

Wednesday's stage didn't give us an indication of who will ultimately wear the yellow jersey in Paris, but it did give us an idea of who won't. Vincenzo Nibali, for one, was pushed off the back, confirming that he is indeed look ahead to Rio. Alberto Contador was clearly ailing from his Stage 1 crash, coming up to the finish line well behind his rivals.

Mostly, Wednesday was a day for Greg Van Avermaet. The 31-year-old has been one BMC's best helpers and punchers since 2011. Finally, he'll get his much deserved moment atop the cycling world.

Stage top 10

1. Greg Van Avermaet - 5h 31' 36"

2. Thomas de Gendt + 2'34"

3. Rafal Majka + 5'04"

4. Joaquim Rodriguez + 5'04"

5. Daniel Martin + 5'07"

6. Bartosz Huzarski + 5'07"

7. Julian Alaphilippe + 5'07"

8. Adam Yates + 5'07"

9. Chris Froome + 5'07"

10. Tejay Van Garderen + 5'07"

New general classification top 10

1. Greg Van Avermaet - 25h 34'46"

2. Julian Alaphilippe + 5'11"

3. Alejandro Valverde + 5'13"

4. Joaquim Rodriguez + 5'14"

5. Chris Froome + 5'17"

6. Warren Barguil + 5'17"

7. Nairo Quintana + 5'17"

8. Fabio Aru + 5'17"

9. Pierre Rolland + 5'17"

10. Daniel Martin + 5'17"

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Tour de France then and now