Tour de France 2013: Stage five as it happened

Mark Cavendish wins his first stage of the 2013 Tour in an exciting sprint finish to stage five in Marseille.

3 July 2013 Last updated at 19:28

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As it happened

  1. 1710: 

    Right, time for me to sign off. More reaction from Mark Cavendish & co will appear in the race report, which is already taking shape, and the daily BBC Radio 5 live podcast will soon be available too. Thanks for your Tweets and texts today - Peter Scrivener will take you through Thursday's stage, but I will see you all very soon.

  2. 1705:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    Before I go, just time to update you on the top of the standings in the points category. Peter Sagan is still wearing green, but Mark Cavendish has - shall we say - arrived at the top of the leaderboard with that stage win.

    1. Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Cannondale) 111pts

    2. Mark Cavendish (Great Britain/Omega Pharma-Quickstep) 76pts

    3. Alexander Kristoff (Norway/Katusha) 76pts

    4. Andrei Greipel (Germany/Lotto) 65pts

    5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway/Team Sky) 58pts

    6. Marcel Kittel (Germany/Argos) 57pts

    SELECTED OTHERS:

    15. Mark Cavendish (Great Britain/Omega Pharma-Quickstep) 25pts

  3. 1659: 
    Stage six - more of the same?
    Mark Cavendish celebrates after winning stage six

    More of the same for Mark Cavendish on Thursday? You have to fancy him for Tour win number 25, really. He will already be looking forward to the end of stage six, an almost completely flat 176km hop from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier.

  4. 1656: 
    Magic moment
    Mark Cavendish

    This was Mark Cavendish's reaction after crossing the line, with Andre Greipel and Edvald Boasson Hagen in his wake.

  5. 1654:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    That also means no change in the state of play for the big hitters like Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans to name but three of the contenders to win this year's Tour. Birthday boy Nicolas Roche stays in the top 10 too.

    7. Chris Froome (Britain/Team Sky) +3sec

    9. Nicolas Roche (Ireland/Saxo-Tinkoff) +9sec

    12. Alberto Contador (Spain/Saxo-Tinkoff) +9sec

    13. David Millar (Britain/Garmin) +17sec

    19. Dan Martin (Ireland/Garmin) +17sec

    28. Cadel Evans (Australia/BMC) +26 sec

  6. 1651:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    No change at the top of the general classification today, because the bunch finished in the same time as Mark Cavendish. That means Simon Gerrans stays in the yellow jersey of the race leader for a second day, ahead of two of his Orica GreenEdge team-mates.

    1. Simon Gerrans (Australia/Orica) 18:19:15

    2. Daryl Impey (South Africa/Orica) SAME TIME

    3. Michael Albasini (Switzerland/Orica)

    4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland/Omega Pharma-Quickstep) +1"

    5. Sylvain Chavanel (France/Omega Pharma-Quicksep) SAME TIME

  7. 1649: 

    More from Mark Cavendish: "My Tour had been a little bit frustrating but I normally don't win until 5th stage anyway.

    "We were motivated today, Orica normally don't do any work but we could sit back and let them chase today.

    "We didn't catch the break until the last minute and needed more men for the lead-out, then got disrupted when we needed to stay on one side of the road. But you saw how committed everyone is and that they have got faith that if the lead-out is right, we will win."

  8. 1645: 

    Manx Missile Mark Cavendish on his first stage win of this year's Tour de France: "Yesterday the pressure was on - now the pressure is kind of off and hopefully I have started the ball rolling."

  9.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Tom Moore: COME ONNNNNN #Cav

    Tom Edwards: YES!!! First stage win of hopefully many for @MarkCavendish at the #TourDeFrance2013. Great lead out by Geert Steegmans.

    Kate: Go #cav!!! First of many stage wins!!

  10. 1642: 

    I've just watching that finish again - Gert Steegmans led Mark Cavendish out perfectly and, from there, nobody got near him. Boasson Hagen was on his wheel after fighting off Andre Greipel but could not stay there. Peter Sagan left it late, too late, but picks up a decent amount of points to ensure he stays in the green jersey.

  11. 1639: 
    STAGE FIVE RESULTS

    1. Mark Cavendish (GBR) Omega Pharma-Quickstep

    2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Team Sky

    3. Peter Sagan (SLO) Cannondale

    4. Andre Greipel (GER) Lotto

    5. Roberto Ferrari (ITA) Lampre

  12. 1637: 
    OUCH!

    There was a big pile-up at the finish behind Cav and co but I have not seen any pictures of that, only shots of riders coming over the line in dribs and drabs. Not sure who was involved.

  13. 1636: 

    That was Mark Cavendish's first stage win of this year's Tour de France and his 24th in total. Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen took second after finding Cav's slipstream.

  14. 1634: 

    What a finish! Cav stuck tight to Gert Steegmans' wheel and then went for home. It was a battle royale but the Manxman got it, holding off Andre Greipel and a late surge from Peter Sagan.

  15. 1634: 
    CHAMPAGNE MOMENT- Mark Cavendish wins stage five of the Tour de France
  16. 1634: 

    Cav has won it!

  17. 1634: 

    Sagan is there as well.

  18. 1633: 

    Hold on to your hats. It's Cav v Greipel.

  19. 1633: 

    Cavendish is still sitting tight and holding steady. He has two men with him, including his leadout man Gert Steegmans. 450m to go.

  20. 1632: 

    OPQS are still looking to control this. But Lotto are trying to change it - they have got Andre Greipel in their train - and they have taken over the lead. 1.4km to go.

  21. 1632: 

    Just 3km to go and we are into the outskirts of Marseille. OPQS have been holding the left-hand side of the road and Mark Cavendish has got five team-mates in front of him, protecting him from the headwind.

  22. 1630: 

    Alexey Lutsenko sits up in his saddle and is engulfed by the peloton. This is a very wide road and the riders are spread out across it. OPQS are trying to block things down.

  23. 1629: 

    Alexey Lutsenko is the last man standing from that break, but they are about to swallow him up with 5km to go. Tony Martin, the world time trial champion, is leading the way for OPQS and Mark Cavendish.

  24.   
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "This is the battle we wanted to see between the sprinters. It is all going to be about the timing of the attack."

  25. 1627: 

    Andre Greipel is up there at the front of the peloton too, as is Peter Sagan.

    Sagan has a lot of Cannondale support but Cavendish's Omega Pharma-QuickStep men are leading the chase - Sylvain Chavanel is at the front, with two team-mates around him, and looking to control the run-in.

  26. 1625: 

    Kevin Reza and Alexey Lutsenko are the last remnants of the breakaway that went out after 3km of today's 228.5km stage - there are now just 8.5km left. About 12 seconds behind them, the peloton looms - Mark Cavendish is about 10th man back, with a lot of team-mates around him.

  27. 1623: 

    We are into the last 10km of today's stage. Mark Cavendish has got over the last bump of the day unscathed and it is all downhill to the finish line, on the Marseille seafront.

  28. 1621: 

    Where did that gap go? The four leaders now have an advantage of just 20 seconds over the chasing pack, with 11.8km to go. The killer whale is closing in on the seal, again.

  29. 1620: 

    Race radio says all the riders who fell in that crash - including Christian Vande Velde - are back on their bikes, which is good news. Argos rider Marcel Kittel, one of Mark Cavendish's sprint rivals, was held up by it, apparently, but I am not sure whether he came off his bike (or where he is now!).

  30.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Neil McRobie: As for Contactor trying to break in the last 10k today. I think OGE and SKY would put that move down quickly

  31.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Steve in Atherstone: Re Daniel Saunders. 1min per 10k is a controlled catch can reel them in faster. Plus the sprint lead outs are worth pretty much an extra minute in the last km alone.

  32. 1619: 
    IN THE PELOTON

    The gap to the front four is one minute and nine seconds, with 14.5km to go. For a split-second nobody in the peloton wanted to lead the chase, but now it is Mark Cavendish's Omega Pharma-Quickstep outfit who are at the front.

  33. 1617:  
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "There seems to be a wind getting up on the seafront. That will make things interesting at the finish."

  34. 1616: 

    The crash happened when Belgian rider Gert Steegmans sat up in his saddle and was hit by a BMC man who did not see him. Then there was a domino effect.

  35. 1615: 
    OUCH!

    There has been a big crash in the peloton. About a dozen riders hit the deck. Most of them are getting back on their bikes, but Christian Vande Velde of Garmin fell heavily and looks in trouble.

  36.  
    IN THE BREAK

    Yukiya Arashiro tries to burst clear at the front of the race but is quickly caught by Kevin Reza, Thomas De Gendt and Alexey Lutsenko. It is probably for the best - as Rob Hayles says on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, there are 17km left and that is a long way to go out on your own.

    The gap is now down to one minute and 37 seconds. The AG2R team have been doing a lot of work at the front but here come Team Sky. Chris Froome is up there - so is Alberto Contador of Saxo-Tinkoff.

  37.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Daniel Saunders: Underestimating this breakaway - received wisdom says 10k per 1 minute to catch a breakaway. That makes it very close.

  38. 1610: 
    IN THE PELOTON

    Geraint Thomas has fallen off the back of the peloton because of this increase in pace at the front, but he is not the only one to be finding it tough. Up the road, Cadel Evans moves up to the front of the pack, closely followed by Chris Froome. The yellow jersey of Simon Gerrans is right in the middle of the peloton.

  39. 1608: 
    IN THE BREAK

    We are into the last 20km now and the gap to the front four is two minutes and five seconds. There is one more climb to go - a small one in the shape of the 326m Col de la Gineste - then it is all downhill to the seafront in Marseille.

  40. 1606: 
    IN THE PELOTON

    Britain's Chris Froome has also moved himself up near the front of the peloton, hovering in the top 20 or so, with his Team Sky team-mates in numbers alongside him. All his rivals for the general classification are around him, including Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans.

  41.  
    GET INVOLVED

    From Sam in Wales: Pretty surprised people are ruling out Contador for a late kick here- this sort of stage has been his bread and butter in the past, and it really would put the cat amongst the pigeons if he could attack and lose the peloton in the last 10k.

  42. 1604: 

    So, it appears Mark Cavendish is going to get a lead-out train for the end of this stage. It also looks like Orica GreenEdge are going to do their job and keep Simon Gerrans in the yellow jersey tonight.

  43. 1601: 

    Orica GreenEdge are at the front of the peloton, but Omega Pharma-Quickstep are beginning to move men up there, including Mark Cavendish, who is about 10th man back. They are setting a furious pace and, with 22.5km to go, the gap has tumbled down to two minutes and 25 seconds.

  44.   
    Matt Slater, BBC sports news reporter

    "There is intrigue and confusion about Mark Cavendish at the finish line here in Marseille.

    "One rumour going round is that he is still unwell and still on antibiotics because of his bronchial condition, and that his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team have said they will not be helping to chase down the break, forming a train or trying to contest the sprint.

    "But then there also is a counter-rumour going round that this is just typical Cav - a bit of smoke and mirrors - and he will be going for victory as usual in a stage finish that really suits him."

  45. 1552: 
    IN THE BREAK

    No matter how hard they turn the pedals, Yukiya Arashiro, Kevin Reza, Thomas De Gendt and Alexey Lutsenko just cannot stop the gap coming down. That lead quartet have just gone over the top of Cote des Bastides and have less than 30km to go to the finish, but their lead is now down to three-and-a-half minutes. The game is almost up.

  46.  
    GET INVOLVED

    James Millen Mayne: Lotto + Argos on the front suggest that Greipel and Kittel/Degenkolb are feeling better than Cav. Amazing if he pulls this one off!

    Pieter De Boiserie: Still not convinced it will be a sprint. History is on De Gendt and co's side! Jakob Piil and Cedric Vasseur have shown how to do it.

  47.   
    Simon Brotherton, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

    "The finish line is on the beach in Marseille - on a big wide boulevard on the seafront. The amount of street furniture, or bollards, in the city centre means it is impossible to have the finish there."

  48. 1546: 

    The gap to the four escapees continues to drop - just four minutes and 39 seconds now, with 35km to go. The riders still have to go over the top of the last category climb of the day - the 354m fourth category Cote des Bastides - and then a smaller bump in the shape of the 326m Col de la Gineste - before they descend to the finish line in Marseille.

  49. 1543: 

    The Argos team of another sprinter Marcel Kittel are also right at the front of the peloton now. Essentially, this point of the race is when the fast men like Kittel, Andre Greipel and, of course, Mark Cavendish start licking their lips and flexing their hips. They know a bunch sprint is on the cards.

  50.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Rich Law: Re. Geraint Thomas. Shows how much the TDF means. G-Man might not get another crack at riding it, so wants to continue. Any other race he would stop.

    Kate: I love how as a nation we're collectively worried about Geraint - one for all and all for one.

  51. 1538: 

    The four men at the front of the race are now five minutes and 11 seconds clear, with 40km to go. It appears inevitable that they will be caught. The only question is when.

  52. 1535: 

    Andre Greipel's Lotto team are doing a lot of work at the front of the peloton as this gap continues to fall. Greipel clearly wants a bunch sprint. If we get one, we will find out what sort of shape Mark Cavendish is in.

  53. 1530:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    We are nearing the business end of this stage and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentary is now under way with Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles. The link will appear on the right-hand side of this page or on the cycling index.

  54. 1530: 
    IN THE BREAK

    There has been movement at the front of the race, and a split in the break that went away in the first 3km of this 228.5km stage.

    Four men: Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) Europcar, Kevin Reza (France) also Europcar, Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) Vacansoleil and Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) Astana have gone clear, leaving Romain Sicard (France) Euskaltel and Anthony Delaplace (France) Sojasun behind.

    I am not sure it will make too much difference to today's outcome, though. With 50km left to go until the finish in Marseille, the peloton continue to slowly reel in the escapees and the gap from the leaders to the main field is now down to six minutes, and dropping.

  55.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Tour fan, clearly working hard in Aberdeen: Geraint Thomas is unbelievable! I couldn't do one stage of this, let alone with a broken pelvis. What are the rules on riders being allowed to cycle with injuries? And why hasn't he decided to drop out yet? Would it hurt Team Sky's chances of getting Mr Vroom to Paris in yellow?

    It really comes down to Geraint wanting to carry on - his mum wants him to pull out!

    Geraint missed out on helping Bradley Wiggins make history by winning the Tour last year because of the Olympics and he wants to help Chris Froome this year. Nobody can stop him (although his team doctors would have a very big say).

  56. 1516: 

    Geraint Thomas is making pretty swift progress back up the road towards the back of the peloton, though, which is another good sign. I am still worried for him in the mountains, though. I dread to think how much it would hurt if he came off on a descent.

  57. 1514: 
    OUCH!

    Oh dear, Geraint Thomas is gritting his teeth again. And it is that fractured pelvis which is causing him more pain.

    The Welshman had a puncture and had to drop back for a wheel change. It was good to see him get off and on his bike unaided but you could see the pain he was in when the Team Sky mechanic gave him a shove to get him started - unfortunately she pushed him in a place that hurt.

  58. 1512:  
    BBC Radio 5 live

    It is interesting to compare Team Sky with their Australian equivalent, Orica GreenEdge, who are doing rather better riding their bikes at this Tour than their driver did steering their bus at the end of stage one.

    BBC Radio 5 live cycling summariser and former Tour de France rider Graham Jones has just posted a very interesting blog on the men from down under, and their progress to the point that has seen them win the last two Tour stages and put Simon Gerrans in yellow.

    "Orica-GreenEdge are now getting it right," says Jones. "They already have had a dream Tour just four stages in. Simon Gerrans has the leader's jersey and he will probably have it for three more days. They may lose the jersey at the Pyrenees, but it probably won't be the last we see of them in this year's Tour."

  59. 1505: 
    IN THE PELOTON
    Chris Froome

    Speaking of Chris Froome, he moved to the front of the peloton to stretch his legs a while ago but the British rider is now safely back in the pack along with the likes of Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans, his big rivals in the general classification.

    I've just caught a glimpse of Froome's team-mate Geraint Thomas too, dropping back to the Team Sky car to pick up some liquid refreshment. He is still in pain by all accounts, but he has kept in touch with the main field today.

  60. 1458: 

    A couple of mechanical problems in the peloton to tell you about: Team Sky's Richie Porte, who will be Chris Froome's right-hand man in the Pyrenees this weekend, has changed his wheel after a puncture. And RadioShack's Andreas Kloden has changed his bike completely. Both men are now safely back in the main bunch.

  61.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Pete in Manchester: I can't speak for the Tour, but I cycled part of the Iron Man UK circuit the day after the race and there were gel wrappers everywhere, but no bottles...

  62.  
    GET INVOLVED

    David in London: Why would Team Sky not want to be in yellow at this point? I don't understand why that would mean they should ride any differently...surely it is only a psychological and cosmetic difference?

    Because they would have to work harder than their rivals by riding at the front of the peloton like Orica GreenEdge are today, defending the yellow jersey by keeping tabs on the break. Team Sky know Orica will do the work to keep the race in check because they want the publicity that comes with the race lead.

    Today might not seem like too much hard work, but it would mean Team Sky would not get a rest on an otherwise undemanding stage. That increased workload continues day after day for as long as your man is in yellow - Team Sky want to save their energy for the mountains.

  63.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Graeme, Glasgow: In response to George, the water bottles are the single most prized souvenir for tdf fans, none go to waste, I'll happily admit to fighting off a 10 year old for a Rabobank one!

  64. 1437: 
    IN THE BREAK

    The peloton has finished feeding their faces and the gap to the six escapees continues to come down. With 85km of the 228.5km to go, it has just ducked under the eight-minute mark, and now stands at seven minutes and 56 seconds.

    At its peak, the break had opened up a lead of 12 minutes and 45 seconds.

  65. 1434: 
    IN THE PELOTON
    Team Sky on stage five

    Today is a bit of a breather for Chris Froome and the other contenders for the general classification. There are no serious climbs to contend with, and no chance of any attacks from his rivals like Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador.

    As Froome explained at 1305, he and his team-mates are quite happy not to have the pressure of defending the yellow jersey to think about this early in the race. They will not be bothered about getting in a break and they will not have to chase the escapees down either.

    All they have to do is sit in the peloton and stay out of trouble (easier said than done!)

  66. 1431: 
    IN THE PELOTON
    Orica GreenEdge

    Race leader Simon Gerrans (who is seventh man back in the above picture) and his Orica GreenEdge team have been leading the peloton for most of the day.

    On a stage like this, their job is to protect their man in the yellow jersey (and look to keep him there) by keeping things ticking over and in touch with the breakaway until the closing stages when some of the responsibility for the chase will be taken by the sprinters' teams, who want to catch the escapees so they can contest the stage win.

  67.  
    GET INVOLVED

    BehindtheBroomWagon: Re. Water bottles. I've heard riders are asked to dispense of them in areas where there are fans, who will pick them up for souvenirs. Seems to be the case - often see them scooting along the ground towards spectators' feet.

    Richard Ottaway, Staffs: Riders ted to throw bottles into the crowd hence the best place to watch a stage is just after the feeding station.

    Jack Gilbert: In reply to George, I believe the Elite bottles used by many are biodegradable. I expect a lot to be picked up by fans on bikes though.

  68.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Rich in Kingston: How many points are available for second, third, fourth etc. in the final sprint of today's stage? What might the standings be of Cav wins, followed by Sagan?

    If Mark Cavendish wins today's stage, he gets 45 points. Second place gets 35 and third gives you 30. If you look again at the standings (1352), Sagan has got a healthy lead and, barring disaster, will still be in green tonight whatever happens at the finish.

  69.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Who will win today's stage? Mark Cavendish, or someone else?

    Matt Higton: don't see it as a Cav stage today, too lumpy, he's heavier than last year (his words) poorly and dropped everytime it goes uphill.

    Peter Steele: Cav doesn't look like he can take the stage to me, would probably have to go with Peter Sagan.

  70.  
    GET INVOLVED

    George Cherry: I want to know what happens to all the water bottles the riders chuck into the hedgrows. Are they picked up later? Over the course of the Tour, there must be thousands of bottled littering the countryside if not! Any ideas?

    Can anyone answer George's question? I am pretty sure there is a clear-up crew that follows the route of each stage but I have never actually seen one. I'd be picking up a few souvenirs if I was out there myself, though.

  71. 1409: 
    IN THE PELOTON

    I've been keeping a close eye on Mark Cavendish today but, in case you were wondering, The pre-race Tour favourite, Britain's Chris Froome and all his rivals at the top of the general classification (Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans et al) are safely in the peloton at the moment and were taking it pretty easy, even before they started tucking into their food bags.

  72. 1405: 
    Fans watching the Tour

    The riders are not the only ones enjoying a bite to eat. There is no better way to eat your lunch than while watching the Tour de France roll past you.

  73. 1401: 
    IN THE BREAK
    The breakaway group

    The six men in the break are still working hard but you get the feeling that the peloton has this situation under control. With around 110km of the 228.5km to go, the gap is slowly coming down and now stands at nine minutes and 17 seconds.

    The main bunch of riders are just passing through the feed zone, so that gap might increase slightly in the next few minutes, but not by much.

    Those six men are: Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) Europcar, Kevin Reza (France) Europcar, Romain Sicard (France) Euskaltel, Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) Vacansoleil, Anthony Delaplace (France) Sojasun, Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) Astana

  74. 1358: 
    GET INVOLVED

    So, Andre Greipel won that intermediate sprint, but who will win at the finish line in Marseille? Mark Cavendish, Greipel, Peter Sagan... or someone else? Tweet me using the hashtag #bbctdf or text me on 81111. Remember to put your name on those texts, though, because I cannot use them if you don't.

  75.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Sportstweet: Tell Nige it's also a way for the smaller teams who have no sprinters/climbers/GC contenders to get some money/air time.

  76. 1352:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    There are 45 points up for grabs for the winner of today's stage, which is the prize Mark Cavendish is really after today. This is how things stand at the top of that category after that intermediate sprint.

    1. Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Cannondale) 81pts

    2. Marcel Kittel (Germany/Argos) 57pts

    3. Alexander Kristoff (Norway/Katusha) 56pts

    SELECTED OTHERS:

    11. Mark Cavendish (Great Britain/Omega Pharma-Quickstep) 31pts

  77. 1349:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    The six riders in the break had hoovered up a lot of the points (the winner of an intermediate sprint gets 20 points, and if you are 15th you get one point).

    So Andre Greipel took nine points for being seventh over the line. He was followed by Alexander Kirstoff (8). Peter Sagan (7) and then Mark Cavendish (6).

  78. 1348:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    It is Greipel who takes the nine points that were up for grabs. To be honest, it was difficult for anyone to get past him. His elbows were everywhere and he was zig-zagging all over the tarmac.

  79. 1347: 

    Andre Greipel is at the front of the bunch... Mark Cavendish is on his tail.

  80. 1347:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    The peloton is approaching the intermediate sprint. Cavendish is in the mix.

  81. 1347: 

    Nige in London: "Can you explain to me the tactics of the breakaway? Presumably since none of these riders are team leaders they are just wasting energy for personal glory that they could use to increase their team's chance of overall victory? Or is it a tactic to try and get the peleton to speed up and exhaust other teams?"

    There are several reasons Nige - starting with their slim hopes of winning a Tour stage which, as with Jan Bakelants in stage two, can turn you from a nobody into a somebody.

    Also, they can hoover up points in the mountains/points category if their team-mate is under threat, enjoy plenty of publicity from the TV cameras for their sponsors, or as with Orica GreenEdge's Simon Clarke and Simon Gerrans in stage three, help to open up an opportunity for a stage win or a decisive move in the general classification for a team-mate.

  82.  
    Ask Geraint Thomas
    Geraint Thomas

    And if you want to know what Geraint is going through, with his broken pelvis. you can ask him yourself. The BBC Sport columnist and Team Sky star is taking part in a Q&A this weekend. Get your questions in to him by 12:00 BST on Sunday, using the link on the cycling index of the BBC Sport website.

  83.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Tino: I know there is a combative rider award on every stage but not sure if there is an overall award for the Tour's most combative rider? Surely Geraint Thomas is the man this year, superhuman effort from him!

    There is indeed a 'super-combativity' for the entire Tour, but it is designed to reward aggressive and attacking riding, rather than for bravery of riding through pain like our Geraint.

  84. 1331:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    Of more interest for us, and for Mark Cavendish, is the green jersey. I'm hearing reports that the Manxman is still suffering from his bronchial infection but we might get an idea of his condition in the intermediate sprint at Lorgues, at the 102.5km mark.

    This is how things stand at the top of the points category at the moment.

    1. Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Cannondale) 74pts

    2. Marcel Kittel (Germany/Argos) 57pts

    3. Alexander Kristoff (Norway/Katusha) 48pts

    SELECTED OTHERS:

    15. Mark Cavendish (Great Britain/Omega Pharma-Quickstep) 25pts

  85. 1329:  
    Polkadot Jersey, Classification

    The six leaders have just gone over the top of the second of our four climbs today, the fourth-category Col de l'Ange. Only one point up for grabs and Belgium's Thomas De Gendt took it, to add to the two he picked up earlier on the Cote de Chateauneuf-Grasse and give him a total for the Tour of three.

    Pierre Rolland still leads that category, however, and is guaranteed to still be in the polka dot jersey/shorts/socks/pants etc tonight because there are only two more points up for grabs today.

    1. Pierre Rolland (France/Europcar) 10

    2. Simon Clarke (Australia/Orica) 5

    3. Blel Kadri (France/AG2R) 5

  86. 1325: 
    Australian fans

    Australians fans like wearing yellow anyway, but they have good reason to do so today. There are plenty of them out on the road to support Gerrans & co, whose Orica GreenEdge outfit became the first team from Down Under to win a stage of the Tour de France when Gerrans pipped Peter Sagan in stage three on Monday.

    Then Orica won the team time trial on Tuesday too, to put Gerrans in yellow... can they make it three in a row today?

  87. 1316: 
    IN THE PELOTON
    Race leader Simon Gerrans

    It is race leader Simon Gerrans and his Orica GreenEdge team-mates who are at the front of the peloton and setting the pace behind the front six. They don't seem too bothered about catching them at the moment.

  88. 1312: 
    IN THE BREAK... WITH BATMAN AND ROBIN
    Batman and Robin

    It looks like the six men in the breakaway have had some unexpected assistance. Batman and Robin have been urging them on from the roadside but the gap is still coming down - slipping below 11 minutes with 145km to go.

  89. 1307: 

    Team Sky missing out on yellow was good news for Geraint Thomas and his broken pelvis too. Thomas stayed with the Team Sky squad for 24 of the 25km in Nice (just down the road from his flat in Monaco as it happens) after riding through the pain barrier for a third straight day.

    "I think it's perfect," said Thomas after the time trial. "Of course we'd have liked to have won and be stood on that podium getting the kisses and the flowers, but at the end of the day it means we don't have to ride on the front. It gives me two days to really recover."

  90. 1305: 

    As Briggsy refers to below, a Team Sky win in Tuesday's team time trial would have put Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen, who is sixth overall and their highest ranked rider, into yellow.

    Team Sky finished even closer than Nicolas Roche's Saxo-Tinkoff outfit, in third place just three seconds behind Orica GreenEdge, but missing out on the yellow jersey was no bad thing.

    Team Sky' team leader Chris Froome (who is seventh) explained: "If we were in the yellow jersey it would mean that on Wednesday, and the next couple of days, which are predominantly flat, we would do a lot of work which I think would be a bit of unnecessary extra work at the moment for such a small advantage."

  91.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Adam in Chelmsford: Re 1105. Maybe a bit of leniency for Ted King was needed, since there was so much confusion at the end of first stage. He's clearly battling with an injury. Them's the rules, I suppose. C'mon Sagan!

    Briggsy from Aberdeen: None of yesterday's reports mentioned Boasson Hagen in 6th. There a reason for that? He might not be Sky No. 1 but to my limited knowledge he still seems a strong rider.

    My report did, Briggsy. See the eighth par...

  92. 1258: 
    IN THE BREAK

    Back on the road, and the six riders at the front of the race still have a healthy lead with 156km of today's 228.5km stage to go. The gap has come down a fraction from its high point of 12 minutes and 45 seconds, but still stands at 11 minutes and 30 seconds.

    The escapees are: Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) Europcar, Kevin Reza (France) Europcar, Romain Sicard (France) Euskaltel, Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) Vacansoleil, Anthony Delaplace (France) Sojasun, and Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) Astana.

    The highest-placed man in the break is Arashiro, who is 75th overall, three minutes 42 seconds behind Simon Gerrans.

  93. 1253: 

    Hmmmm. I don't like the look of the two team buses in the background of Graham's picture below. I hope they aren't going to try any more limbo dancing under the finish gantry...

  94.  
    AT THE FINISH LINE
  95. 1243: 

    His birthday could have been even better, though. Roche would have been in yellow today if Saxo-Tinkoff had won the team time trial in his adopted home town of Nice on Tuesday. As it was, they were fourth-fastest, only nine seconds slower than Orica GreenEdge - who put Simon Gerrans in yellow instead.

  96. 1241: 
    Happy birthday Nicolas Roche

    Nicolas Roche, son of cycling legend and 1987 Tour de France winner Stephen, is 29 today.

    Not sure if he wolfed down his birthday cake or had time to open his presents before the start of today's stage but he has got plenty to smile about already - Roche is ranked ninth overall after four stages, nine seconds behind race leader Simon Gerrans.

  97.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Mike Adams: Everyone banking on a bunch spirit. But Thomas De Gendt is hardly a rider to let go - 3rd at the Giro d'Italia last year... He could stay away

  98. 1232:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    You can hear more from Rob Hayles at 1530 BST when BBC Radio 5 live sports extra will have live commentary of the end of this stage from him, Simon Brotherton and Graham Jones. That will be available on this very page and the cycling index.

  99.   
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    On Mark Cavendish's condition after his bout of bronchitis: "Cav is the type of rider who pushes himself to the limit so, if when he is ill, it affects his form. The pressure and anticipation and then dejection for him and all the other sprinters who missed out on stage one because of the crash was quite incredible, because they realised it was a massive opportunity. I think he will be fine now. Historically he takes a little bit longer to get going in the Tour, whatever shape he is in."

  100. 1224: 
    IN THE BREAK
    The six-man breakaway group

    Hmmm. I seem to be having a few problems with publishing pictures in this text commentary today but I'm going to plug on anyway - they seem to work, eventually!

    So, here is a picture of the six-man break who are now 12 minutes and 30 seconds clear of the peloton, with 172km of the 228.5km still to go.

    The escapees are: Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) Europcar, Kevin Reza (France) Europcar, Romain Sicard (France) Euskaltel, Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) Vacansoleil, Anthony Delaplace (France) Sojasun, and Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) Astana.

  101.  
    Stade Velodrome

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator Simon Brotherton on his way to today's finish line in Marseille: "Just driven past the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Being rebuilt & looking very different already. #Euro16."

  102.   
    Matt Slater, BBC sports news reporter

    "The news from the Cote d'Azur's E8 motorway is that the team coaches are rattling along nicely, but they were no march for the BBC's battle bus. Don't worry, I'm not driving this leg of Le Grand Boucle. It's a wee bit hazy today, which will probably suit the riders on the long ride to the oldest city in France, Marseille.

    "Did you know that Team Sky made their race debut on this day three years ago? I think they have made a huge impact on this race/sport. What do you think? As for today, Mark Cavendish simply has to come to the party if he is going to have any chance of wearing green in Paris. And speaking of (lime) green jerseys, the Ted King affair was still being widely debated at the start this morning. Le Tour can be very cruel sometimes."

  103.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Freddie from London: Sometimes Cavendish can lose his head when it comes to a few climbs then a sprint finish like we see last year but then he was suppressed and given the duty of water boy! Lets hope we can see a revitalised Cav with OPQS as they are all working for him hard as we have seen so far this year. Come on Cav you can do this! Win number 24 in the bag by tonight please.

  104.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Who will win today's stage?

    Scott Osborne: Outside bet on Sylvain Chavanel or Philippe Gilbert, both look keen, if a good bunch attack with them on Col de la Gineste they could just stay away.

    Lord Homming: It's about time Mark Cavendish stopped moaning about a little cough and get on with it. Cav to win today, this breakaway wont last.

    Michael Smith: Andre Greipel has been looking very strong the first 3 days so Cav might not have it all his own way,

  105. 1203: 
    Cavendish "growing as a leader"
    Mark Cavendish

    More on Mark Cavendish now, from an interview in the Daily Telegraph with Rolf Aldag, the sport and devlopment manager at his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team. Cav is known for speaking his mind, but this still might surprise a few people.

    OPQS missed out on winning yesterday's team time trial by just 0.75 of a second and Aldag revealed that Cavendish had given them a rousing pep talk before they rolled down the ramp.

    "I think it's in his nature that he looks for success, his own success as well as the team's success. If he believes he can add something, he will not be quiet. That's in his nature," said Aldag.

    "He's growing as a person and as a leader. If he says something, he has that natural leadership. He's not that visible, he's not that tall, but people listen to him when he says something."

  106. 1158: 

    The peloton reached the top of the Cote de Chateauneuf-Grasse 12 minutes and 15 seconds behind the six men in the break.

    They escaped inside the first 3km after an attack by Thomas De Gendt, and have a long day in the saddle ahead of them - they have got about 195km to go before they get to the finish line in Marseille.

  107. 1156:  
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    On trying to catch up with Mark Cavendish during the Tour: "I managed to see him briefly at the end of Monday's stage. I was running up to the Team Sky bus to try and get an interview and saw the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team car. Cav was just stepping off his bike, with his team director Wilfried Peeters helping him. Wilfried was just trying to shepherd him round the car and through the crowds to get his stuff for a shower. I slowed down - well, I was already running slow, I don't do running fast! - and put my hand out to squeeze his shoulder and said 'are you alright Cav?'.

    "Wilfried grabbed my hand and tried to push me off, saying 'don't touch, don't touch'. Cav was clearly exhausted and he did not even look up but he must have recognised my voice and said 'it's ok, it's my best mate'. Wilfried was laughing and I just told Cav that I would speak to him later!"

  108. 1154: 

    Apologies to Big Daddy Shima - I should know better. I was over on the Isle of Man last week doing a spot of cycling (I don't think Cavendish's nickname is under any threat from me, though) and actually drove up to Douglas hospital when I got lost.

    Cav lives in a converted barn in Laxey but was born in Douglas because that is where the island's only maternity ward is.

  109.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Big Daddy Shima: Re 1055. Cavendish is a Laxey boy, not a Douglas boy. There's more than one town on this island.

  110.  
    GET INVOLVED

    James from Reading: Daryl Impey to betray Simon Gerrans and sprint for yellow! You heard it here first!

    Daniel McGlade: Re. Yellow jersey classification at 1130 and "Other important people". Please include Dan Martin as he very much is in this category.

    Sorry Daniel (and, indeed, Dan Martin). The Birmingham-born Irish rider is 19th overall, 17 seconds behind Simon Gerrans.

  111. 1144:  
    Polkadot Jersey, Classification

    Thomas De Gendt (2pts) and Anthony Delaplace (1pt) took the king of the mountain points at the top of that climb, the first of four low-category climbs today. Back down the slopes, Pierre Rolland and his polka dot jersey (and shorts) remains in the lead in the climbers category. I wonder if Rolland has stretched to polka dot socks today?

    1. Pierre Rolland (France/Europcar) 10

    2. Simon Clarke (Australia/Orica) 5

    3. Blel Kadri (France/AG2R) 5

  112. 1140: 

    The gap continues to grow for the escapees - and quickly too - it is up to eight minutes as they go over the top of the Cote de Chateauneuf-Grasse. There are 206km of the 228.5km route to go.

  113. 1136: 
    Graham Jones, Radio 5 live sports extra commentator and former Tour de France & Giro d'Italia rider
    Mark Cavendish

    On Mark Cavendish's prospects today and on Thursday's completely flat 176.5km stage from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier: "These are definitely for Cav. The next two stages will be for the sprinters, without a doubt. I will be very, very surprised if we don't have two bunch sprints at the finish.

    "We have seen before that Mark can be a little bit of a slow starter in stage races then suddenly once he gets a win under his belt he is almost unbeatable, so let's hope that he gets up and going in Marseille today."

  114.  
    GET INVOLVED

    George O'Connell: Cav to open his account! Though another day for Gerrans? There's not much flat road!

    Andrew Harvey: Romain Sicard in the break??? You're kidding, I just dropped him from my fantasy team yesterday!

  115.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Mike Adams: Minimum times brought in to stop riders saving themselves. But 7 secs on a team time trial. Is a little strong for me. Also looks like King came in 32.24 and inside the time limit by a mere 5 secs. Yet to see a picture of him crossing the line.

  116.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Mark Blinkhorn: Ted King should still be on the Tour. Rules are made to be broken (unlike pelvises). Academic though now. Innit?

  117. 1130:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    And, while I am here, there are a few other important people you should know about:

    7. Chris Froome (Britain/Team Sky) +3sec

    9. Nicolas Roche (Ireland/Saxo-Tinkoff) +9sec

    12. Alberto Contador (Spain/Saxo-Tinkoff) +9sec

    13. David Millar (Britain/Garmin) +17sec

    28. Cadel Evans (Australia/BMC) +26 sec

  118. 1128:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    None of those six riders offer any serious threat to the yellow jersey of Simon Gerrans or the real big-hitters in the race - the highest-placed man in the break is Arashiro, who is 75th overall at three minutes 42 seconds.

    Here's a quick update of how things are looking at the top of the general classification after stage four.

    1. Simon Gerrans (Australia/Orica) 12:47:24"

    2. Daryl Impey (South Africa/Orica) SAME TIME

    3. Michael Albasini (Switzerland/Orica)

    4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland/Omega Pharma-Quickstep) +1"

    5. Sylvain Chavanel (France/Omega Pharma-Quicksep)

  119. 1123: 

    The escapees are starting up the slopes of the first climb of the day, the third category Cote de Chateauneuf-Grasse. The six riders in the break are:

    Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) Europcar

    Kevin Reza (France) Europcar

    Romain Sicard (France) Euskaltel

    Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) Vacansoleil

    Anthony Delaplace (France) Sojasun

    Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) Astana

  120. 1120: 

    "What's happening on the road," I hear you ask. Or, at least hope you ask...

    Today's stage is a long route but not a particularly tough one. A mass bunch sprint is the expected outcome but that has not stopped a breakaway attempt. We had one inside the first few kilometres and six riders have opened up a lead of about a minute, with 11km of the 219km done.

  121.  

    Graham Jones, Radio 5 live sports extra commentator and former Tour de France & Giro d'Italia rider on Twitter: Raining in Marseille at the moment, should clear but probable head wind could be a slow one today. Definite sprint anyway!

  122.  

    BBC Sports news reporter Matt Slater in Marseille: The Battle of Broken Backside update: Geraint Thomas is feeling better, slept well, up for today etc etc

  123. 1112: 
    GET INVOLVED

    So, I have got two questions for you today. Firstly, should Ted King have been allowed to continue? And, secondly, will Mark Cavendish win today's stage - and, if not, who will? I know that is technically three questions but let's not worry too much about that.

    Tweet me using the hashtag #bbctdf or text me on 81111. Remember to put your name on those texts, though, because I will chuck you off the Tour myself if you don't.

  124. 1110: 

    Cannondale's press spokesman Paolo Barbieri said: "They didn't want to listen to our explanation. Ted was racing with a shoulder injury, and he raced with a road bike. He was very brave. He did not stop fighting. Those are the qualities of cycling, yet they did not want to change their minds. It is Ted's dream to race the Tour. We cannot believe it."

  125. 1108: 

    The decision to disqualify Ted King has caused a storm - just try searching for #lettedride on Twitter for starters - because many people think, that as with Geraint Thomas, his decision to continue the past few days shows the sort of spirit that Tour de France riders are famous for.

    It was to no avail, however. Tour officials might have temporarily changed the finish line for stage one - that indirectly led to King's crash - and have allowed riders to continue after finishing outside the limit before, but the race jury did not change their minds about King's disqualification.

  126. 1105: 
    Ted King: Should his Tour be over?
    Ted King

    The Tough of the Tour, aka Geraint Thomas and his broken pelvis, has made plenty of headlines in the UK over the past few days but the Welshman has not been the only cyclist riding through the pain barrier after crashing in the chaos at the end of stage one (after the Orica GreenEdge bus got wedged under the finish gantry).

    American rider Ted King, making his Tour debut, dislocated his shoulder in that crash and was still in such agony had to use a normal road bike during yesterday's team time trial (I mistakenly put that down to a mechanical problem during the live text commentary).

    Not surprisingly, he was quickly dropped by his Cannondale team-mates but battled on on his own and finished in 32 minutes 32 seconds. He was just seven seconds outside the cut-off established by Tour officials under the ruling that means riders have to finish within 25% of their team's time, but they showed him no mercy. King is out of the Tour.

  127. 1101: 

    The riders are in the neutral zone and approaching the start of today's stage in Cagnes-sur-Mer. There are 195 riders left in the race, after a very controversial disqualification following yesterday's team time trial, which was won by the Australian outfit Orica GreenEdge.

  128. 1058: 
    Profile of stage five
    Profile of stage five

    Le Tour de France official Twitter: Stage 5 - Cagnes-sur-Mer / Marseille - 228,5km: This long stage should offer an opportunity to sprinters!

  129. 1055: 

    Hello and welcome to stage five of the Tour de France. And yes, it it could be time for the Manx Missile to explode on to this year's Tour. The 28-year-old from Douglas has won 23 Tour stages over the past five years, and he will have high hopes of clinching his first of this year's race today.

    There are a few bumps for him to get over first, but we are expecting a bunch sprint at the finish line in Marseille. If that happens, Cav would be the favourite to triumph.

  130. 1050: 
    Manx Missile... preparing to launch?
    Mark Cavendish

    Bronchitis, antibiotics, being held up by a crash that ruined his hopes of the yellow jersey on stage one.... then missing out on the podium in Tuesday's team time trial by 0.75 of a second. The 2013 Tour de France has not been too kind to Mark Cavendish so far, but that could be about to change...

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