2013 Tour de France–Stage 5

3 Jul

2013 1

Just like days of old, the relatively flat Stage 5 came down to a classic sprint and with a perfect leadout from his team, Mark Cavendish finished first, capturing his 24th Tour stage win.

The usual suspects contested the sprint: Cavendish, sprinter/Mr. Everything Peter Sagan (Cannondale), plus the hulk of a sprinter Andre Greipel (Lotto) as well as Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) and a Ferrari (Lampre). When things line up the way they did today, Cavendish is simply unbeatable.

There was some doubt whether the sprinters would get to go for the win with the break holding their own. The 6 man break built a lead of over 12 minutes at one point before Orica-GreenEdge with a little help from their friends (sprinters teams) managed to reel them back in several kilometers from the finish.

Being the first week of the Tour, there were a couple of silly crashes, the last one just yards (meters) from the finish. No one appeared to be seriously injured.

There was no change in any of the jersey competitions: Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) yellow (overall), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) green (sprint), Pierre Rolland (Europcar) polka-dot (climber) and Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS) white (young rider).

The most memorable thing about Stage 5 was the unfortunate fact that Ted King was not allowed to start the stage and continue in the Tour after he finished just 7 seconds outside the time cut (winning time set by Orica-GreenEdge) in yesterday’s team time-trial.

Tour officials could have reinstated him – as they have many times in the past when riders don’t finish a stage within the time limit. Why they chose to do this to King is beyond understanding. They had the discretion to reinstate him prior to the start, yet chose not to stating rules are rules. 

Given King’s circumstances, a shoulder separation suffered in Stage 1 which didn’t allow him to ride a standard (faster) time-trial bike nor ride as aggressively causing him to quickly fall behind his team, it was unfair to penalize him so severely in his first ever Tour.

To make it even worse King is a class guy, and an apparently clean guy who is a workhorse for his team – particularly Sagan. It isn’t like he finished minutes behind – just 7 seconds by their “official” time – and he’s out.

I imagine if it happened to a French rider or one of the GC favorites or favorite sprinters they would have shown them leniency and allowed them to race on.

Such leniency and understanding is exactly what Ted King deserved.

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