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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Racewatch: Le Tour stage five

Robbie McEwen grabbed a narrow sprint victory in stage five of the Tour de France from Chambord to Montargis.

The Australian sprinter beat Belgian green jersey holder Tom Boonen to the line in a thrilling sprint finish.

Earlier, Tour leader Lance Armstrong was forced to wear the yellow jersey against his will.

The American initially refused to put on the jersey as a tribute to David Zabriskie, who lost the lead after a fall on Tuesday.

"No one really takes the jersey if there is a crash involving the leader," said Armstrong. "It wouldn't be right."

But officials told the six-times Tour winner the rules did not allow him to make such a gesture.

After a brief conversation as the start was delayed, Armstrong agreed to wear the jersey for the 183km from Chambord to Montargis.


How the race unfolded

1607: Robbie McEwen claims victory on the line in front of Boonen. The Australian sat behind the Belgian and sprung off his wheel to take the sprint by half a wheel at most. Thor Hushovd was third with Stuart O'Grady fourth.

1605: Francaise des Jeux are on the front. Tom Boonen can be seen about 20 or 30 riders back with 2km to go.

1604: 4km to go and there's a crash as a couple of riders, including Cofidis' Janek Tombak, overshoot a tight roundabout.

1558: With the race all together again for the first time since the early kilometres, the bunch is strung out in a long line. Cofidis are the latest sprinters' team to take up the pacesetting, with Aussie Matt White riding on the front for compatriot Stuart O'Grady.

1555: All over for the break who are swallowed up by the peloton with a little more than 10km to go. There are no counter-attacks yet.

1547: As the riders pass under the 20km to go banner, the break has a lead of just 40 seconds over the peloton.

1540: AG2R are now riding hard at the front of the bunch, no doubt hoping that Jean Patrick Nazon can lift French spirits deflated by the failure of Paris to win the Olympics.

1530: Jose Angel Gomez is now safely pack in the peloton after his accident.

1521: The break's lead is coming down fast, and is now less than the 1'45 that Bodrogi needs to become the new race leader. With 45km still to go it is looking increasingly like another bunch sprint.

1511: The second intermediate sprint of the day is won by Commesso. Earlier, today's only climb (fourth category) was taken by Bodrogi.

1505: The chase is on, led by Quickstep, Davitamon and Francaise des Jeux, all teams that want a sprint finish. The break's lead is down to less than three minutes.

1500: On the Five Live messageboards, Fastnuf asks about CSC's back luck: "Another crash, food bag stuck in the brake mechanism of another CSC rider. Where does it end?"

1453: Jose Angel Gomez of the Saunier Duval team crashes into a motorbike. Not a great day for the team after Constantino Zaballa became the first rider to leave this year's race earlier.

1450: The breakaway quarter now have a 3'10 lead as the sprinters' teams chase. Their rhythm was disrupted after Flecha and Commesso were briefly left behind by Carlstrom and Bodrogi

1430: At the front Flecha is now working alongside Carlstrom, Bodrogi and Commesso. The quartet are now 3'20 ahead, making Hungarian Bodrogi the leader on the road.

1428: Kurt-Asle Arvesen is yet another CSC rider to suffer a mishap. He manages to get a food-bag, picked up from the team car as the riders pace Basso back, caught in his rear brake and has to do some untangling work on the move.

1426: After yesterday's heartbreak, CSC are involved in another crash and what looks another mini-team time trial. Six of Basso's team-mates are in formation working to pull him back into the peloton.

1423: Crash involving Ivan Basso and quite a few of his CSC team-mates have either been delayed or are hanging around to help him get back to the peloton. No major harm done to last year's third-placed finisher.

1419: On the Five Live messageboards there is praise for Armstrong's stance over the jersey. "Nice touch I thought from Armstrong who is showing a more human side this year," says Berks_Stallion. Chilean_Llama says "something similar has happened before" with Eddy Merckx.

1402: The four riders who have gone up the road include two men who have won breakaway stages in the Tour before. Commesso was a winner in 1999 and 2000 with Flecha taking a stage into Toulouse two years ago.

1340: Details are emerging about what happened at the stage start. It looks as though Armstrong intended not to wear yellow for the whole stage but the race organisers insisted that he had to carry cycling's most famous jersey, hence the brief stop for a discussion.

1335: Flecha is more than a minute ahead of the peloton, pursued by three chasers:

  • Kjell Carlstrom
  • Laszlo Bodrogi
  • Salvatore Commesso
Bodrogi has the most to gain - he is in 19th place, just 1'45 down on Armstrong.

1318: Comments to our interactive stage guide are not so much about today's stage but about the sport's biggest name. "Lance forever - he has left the greatest sporting legacy since Mohammed Ali," says Als from London. But Big Johnny from Arizona says "we're sorry world, not everyone in America loves Lance".

1307: After more than four days we finally have the first "abandon" of the 2005 race - Constantino Zaballa of Saunier Duval pulls out for reasons as yet unclear. Meanwhile former stage winner Juan Antonia Flecha is on the attack.

1254: The first bonus sprint of the day is won by Tom Boonen ahead of Thor Hushovd and Stuart O'Grady.

1246: A flurry of breakaway attempts is taking place. Erik Dekker, Anthony Geslin and Laszlo Bodrogi have all been unsuccessful, with Carlos Da Cruz the latest to try.

1230: It appears initially that Lance Armstrong caused the stoppage to put on his yellow jersey. He didn't want to wear it out of respect for compatriot David Zabriski, who lost the race lead by falling in the last 2km of Tuesday's team time trial.

1220: There is confusion at the stage start where the riders have been asked to stop for no apparent reason.


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