Voeckler Survives Windy Stage 5, Armstrong Remains Second Overall

Mike JonesCorrespondent IJuly 8, 2009

PERPIGNAN, FRANCE - JULY 08:  Thomas Voeckler of France and team Bbox Bouygues Telecom celebrates his win during stage five of the 2009 Tour de France from Le Cap d'Agde to Perpignan on July 8, 2009 in Perpignan, France.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

One day after the dramatic team time trail run, the Tour returned to business as usual for stage Five, a 122-mile journey from Le Cap d'Agde to Perpignan. Strong winds throughout the day proved to be a challenge for many riders, as at one point, the wind literally split the main pack into two.

In the end, Frenchman Thomas Voeckler outsprinted the pack in the last 300m, taking a popular win in his home country. Less than four months ago, Voeckler was on the sidelines with a broken collarbone.

Great Britian's Mark Cavendish retained his green jersey by out sprinting the peloton, finishing seven seconds behind Voeckler. He and his Columbia Team, with assistance from Team Saxo Bank, pushed the pace of the peloton with 35 miles remaining, closing the gap on what originally was a six-rider break away.

The drastic push to up the pace was a positive sign for Team Columbia, which finished a surprising and disappointing fifth in the team time trial.

Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland maintained the overall lead and yellow jersey for another day. Lance Armstrong remains less than one second behind Cancellara in the overall standing.

Armstrong's Astana teammate, Alberto Contrador remained third in the overall standings, 19 seconds behind Cancellara. The dispute for who will emerge as the true team captain at Astana continues to play on with tight standings.

American Levi Leipheimer remains fifth overall, 31 seconds behind. Team Astana continues to dominate the overall, placing five riders in the top ten.

Stage Six will feature a relatively new course, starting in Girona and ending 109 miles later in Barcelona, setting the tempo for the first test of many cyclists in the hilly and rough Stage Seven.