Stage 5: Amiens-Chartres

07-08-04.stage5 profile

Armstrong didn't want to keep the yellow jersey on his shoulders and he got his wish. Another Pill-breakaway went out early, and constant crashes in the front and middle of the peloton disrupted any chance of a peloton pursuit. Petacchi and McEwen were both involved in a crash, and US Postal was uninterested in pushing the tempo, especially considering that two of their riders (Beltran, Rubiera) were involved in the same crash.

This left the race to the five in the breakaway, O'Grady, Piil, Voeckler, Cesar, and Backstedt, who gave the race an exciting finish. Voeckler, the French national champion went both on the attack and defense, chasing down attacks and then delivering his own. Piil also tried to deliver some attacks of his own, but O'Grady was constantly on his wheel in far too good of condition to be dropped. O'Grady eventually launched an attack of his own that Voeckler and Piil managed to chase down (leaving Backstedt and Cesar behind), but cat-and-mouse jockeying allowed the two other riders to catch back up. In the sprint to the finish there was no question that O'Grady had the best legs and he got himself a stage win. Voeckler has a mighty consolation prize in the form of the yellow jersey.

In other news, McGee is dropping out due to a back problems. He was seen dropping off the back of the peloton midway through the race.

related articles: Tour de France 2004