The Latest: Greipel wins again at Tour de France
AMIENS, France (AP) — The latest from the Tour de France fifth stage (all times local).
The “Gorilla” is unbeatable in the sprints at the moment.
Andre Greipel, who has earned the moniker because of his powerful stature, was a class apart in the sprint to the finish line in Amiens, posting his second stage win with a stunning burst of acceleration after opening his account last week in the Netherlands.
It’s been an excellent Tour for Germany so far, with its riders winning three stages out of five and grabbing the race leader’s yellow jersey with Tony Martin. For German public broadcaster ARD, which restarted its live coverage of the race this year following a 3-year hiatus, the timing is perfect.
“Three stages and the yellow jersey for Germany, it’s unbelievable,” Martin said. “We could not have dreamed of a better start. It’s good for the fans. We’ve restored our credibility.”
Another big crash has just happened with 25 kilometers left before the finish of the fifth Tour de France stage to Amiens.
About 30 riders hit the tarmac, including Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who finished third last year. Jean-Christophe Peraud, the 2014 Tour runner-up, was halted by the pile-up.
Fortunately the riders went down at moderate speed after one of them hit barriers on the side of the road and none appeared seriously injured.
After three consecutive days of frenetic racing on dangerous roads, Wednesday’s flat stage was meant to bring some relaxation to the Tour de France riders.
Bad weather decided otherwise.
Rain has been incessant since the start in Arras and FDJ rider Steve Morabito has become the latest rider involved in one of at least six crashes on the roads of Northern France. Morabito got back on his bike and kept racing.
Positive news came from the Arras hospital, where Nacer Bouhanni was transported after hitting the ground early. He has suffered injuries to his wrist, ribs and elbow, but no fracture, his Cofidis team said. Cannondale-Garmin rider Jack Bauer also pulled out of the race after crashing.
On a rainy and grey day on the battlefields of World War One in northern France, Tour riders paid tribute to the fallen heroes of the first global conflict of the 20th century.
Before the peloton started its 189.5-kilometer ride through the regions of Artois and Somme — where the Battle of the Somme claimed thousands of lives in 1916 — 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome and Sky teammate Peter Kennaugh laid a wreath on the Commonwealth Memorial at the Franco-British cemetery in Arras.
Tour de France organizers said they wanted to “honor the memory of Commonwealth soldiers, but also French and German soldiers who fell at the front.”
Australian riders from the Orica-Greenedge team joined the tribute, wearing black armbands at the stage start in Arras.
“We are all very respectful of everything to do with that era, and I don’t think they should be forgotten,” Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford told The Associated Press. “If you remember what happened in the past, hopefully it serves as a deterrent for the future. It’s not just great for what people did, but it’s a reminder in this day and age, hopefully to find ways of resolving problems and leaving in peace.”
French rider Nacer Bouhanni’s bad luck continues as he is caught in a crash early into the stage and taken away in an ambulance.
The French sprinter was one of four riders from the French-owned Cofidis team caught in the collision shortly after the start of the fifth stage.
They all got back up except for Bouhanni.
One week before the start of the Tour, he crashed heavily toward the end of the French championships and almost missed the Tour because of damaged ribs.