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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Stage five: As it happened

Stage Five: Amiens to Chartres 200.5km

Action from day six of the 2004 Tour de France. All times BST.


1 Stuart O'Grady (COF) five hours five minutes 58 seconds
2 Jakob Piil (CSC) same time
3 Sandy Casar (FDJ) same time
4 Thomas Voeckler (BLB) same time
5 Magnus Backstedt (ALB) same time

1705: As the group cross the line, Robbie McEwen just edges the sprint finish to take sixth place ahead of Haimar Zubeldia and Thor Hushovd. Previous yellow jersey holder Lance Armstrong was given 24th position, and is now sixth in the overall standings.

1704: French rider Laurent Brochard makes a break at the head of the peloton as the group approach three kilometres to go.

1702: The peloton is now riding the streets of Chartres, cheered on by the crowds which line the streets. Green jersey holder Robbie McEwen is near the front, but the US Postal riders still lead.

1659: The peloton - still led by the riders of US Postal - moves within five kilometres of the end of the stage.

1656: After the excitement of the sprint finish, focus turns back to the peloton, which is still on the outskirts of Chartres.

1652: Stuart O'Grady is triumphant after edging the five-way sprint to the line, and raises his arms in celebration. The five-way breakaway team led for the final 185km of the stage.

1651: Thomas Voeckler is hauled back in again, and it is a five-man race once again.

1650: Despute building up a lead, Stuart O'Grady is hauled back in again - and Thomas Voeckler makes a bid for glory.

1649: Stuart O'Grady's break looks like it could be decisive as he storms well clear of the rest of the pack.

1648: Stuart O'Grady has taken a clear lead with less than four kilometres to go.

1647: The leading group are closing in on the finish - but in the peloton there is chaos after a massive crash takes a host of riders off their bikes.

1646: Jakob Pill makes a break and is followed by Stuart O'Grady.

1644: Thomas Voeckler tries his luck and makes an attempt to break the group with six kilometres to go - but again, he is unable to build a clear lead.

1641: Magnus Backstedt is the first of the leading group to make a break, although it is not decisive, as the pack stick with him and haul him back.

1640: The leaders are regularly switching the lead, but no-one is yet making a break to earn the crucial break.

1636: The leading pack of five is just 10km from the finish in Chartres.

1630: Robbie McEwen - currently holder of the green jersey - has had a bad few minutes. After slipping off his bike in the peloton, he had almost made up the distance, but then punctured his front tyre, and has slipped back again.

1623: Stuart O'Grady wins the third intermediate sprint of the stage, ahead of Sandy Casar and Jakob Piil.

1619: Robbie McEwen is among a bunch of riders in the peloton to come off their bikes after a crash going around a sharp bend in the wet weather.

1616: The leaders have 25km to go to the finish, and each of the leading quintet may be starting to think about whether to push on to go for the stage victory.

1607: There is little doubt that the peloton has given up its chase of the breakaway group. The speed has dropped, and the lead of the main group is now 15 minutes 48 seconds.

1603: Voeckler's leading group has increased its lead to 14 minutes 40 seconds ahead of the peloton - which US Postal continues to lead. The leading group are 36km from the finish in Chartres.

1556: Thomas Voeckler is looking set to be the wearer of the yellow jersey when this stage ends, providing the leading group do not suffer any disasters.

1552: The peloton continues to make small inroads into the breakaway group's lead, but they seem content to allow the front runners to set the pace.

1539: US Postal continue to lead the peloton, and are slowly eroding the lead of the breakaway group. With just under 45km to go, the leaders are 14 minutes 45 seconds ahead.

1525: Stuart O'Grady wins the second intermediate sprint at Orvilliers ahead of Magnus Backstedt and Thomas Voeckler.

1512: US Postal are upping the pace at the front of the bunch but they are still 16 mins 47 secs behind the five leaders in the breakaway group. Rain has started to fall once again.

1503: Brad McGee, who has been struggling with a back and pelvic problem, quits the race.

1500: US Postal are back on the front of the peloton but they seem disinterested in going too fast and look as though they have no interest in defending Lance Armstrong's yellow jersey. The American hinted they would not fight too hard to keep him in yellow after Wednesday's team trial.

1450: The leading group of five riders now leads by a massive 17 minutes, while the peloton continues to amble along.

1429: A crash at the front of the peloton brings down a number of riders including Michael Boogerd, Alessandro Petacchi, Roberto Heras and Manuel Beltran. All the riders manage to remount, having lost various amounts of time. The peloton slows, with US Postal having sat up at the front, which will benefit the breakaway group.

1423: The five leaders are now just over halfway through the stage.

1414: Because of the difficult conditions the peloton splits into two groups, separated by about 50 metres. The breakaway now leads by 15 mins 20 secs.

1403: The rain has eased off but strong winds continue to dog the stage.

1345: The leading group continues to increase their enormous advantage, which is now up to 14 mins 30 secs over the peloton with less than 115km to go in this wet fifth stage. Thomas Voeckler is now the leader of the Tour de France on the road.

1330: Sandy Casar wins the only climb of the day at Mont de Fourches to take three points, while Voeckler (BLB) takes second place and Backstedt grabs third as the five breakaway riders extend their advantage to over 13 mins 30 secs.

1310: Stuart O'Grady wins the first intermediate sprint in Beauvais to take six points, while Magnus Backstedt came second and Jakob Piil took third as the breakaway group stretch their lead to almost 11 minutes.

1301: The leading five riders are less than 5km from the first intermediate sprint in Beauvais at the 57.5km mark and have extended the gap over the peloton to 9.15 minutes.

1248: The peloton is in Rougemaison at the 43.5km mark and continues to be led by the US Postal team, but the five-man escape group is still over seven minutes ahead with French champion Voeckler the best-placed among them.

1245: The five breakaway riders have widened the gap over the peloton to over seven minutes, but Phonak rider Oscar Pereiro Sio has suffered a setback with a punctured front tyre.

1231: The five-man breakaway looks to have successfully escaped, with the peloton content to let them lead the way.

1216: A group of five riders, including Jakob Piil and Stuart O'Grady, have jumped clear of the peloton and have built up a lead of 25 seconds.

1204: Karsten Kroon, Bernhard Eisel and Alessandro Bertolini escape but with US Postal sitting on the front of the peloton they look like being swallowed up soon.

1147: The stage gets underway with riders expecting wet weather on the 124-mile journey. There are a series of early attacks and the peloton is already moving at quite a pace.

Stage Five sees the tour meander its way along the River Somme in the heart of France's Picardie country.

The day's starting city Amiens was the scene of Mario Cipollini's stage win when the Tour was last here in 1999.

Ominously for the rest of the field five-time winner Lance Armstrong starts the day in the yellow jersey after a dominant performance from US Postal in the team time trial on Wednesday.

With Eddy Seigneur of the French RAGT-Semences team being eliminated on Wednesday, 183 riders are expected to start the stage at 1145 BST.


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