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Tour de France 2018: Peter Sagan Wins Stage 5, Greg van Avermaet Keeps Lead

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 11, 2018

Slovakia's Peter Sagan celebrates on the podium after winning the fifth stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Lorient and Quimper, western France, on July 11, 2018. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Peter Sagan extended his lead as the green jersey-holder after winning Stage 5 of the 2018 Tour de France, his second stage victory of this year's competition.

BMC Racing star Greg van Avermaet retained the yellow jersey after placing seventh in Wednesday's hilly journey from Lorient to Quimper, leading team-mate Tejay van Garderen by two seconds.

Bora-Hansgrohe rider Sagan had already tasted victory in Stage 2 of the Tour de France but added his second win in four outings after kicking past Sonny Colbrelli to claim his 10th stage triumph on the Tour.

Team EFD posted a breakdown of the updated general classification after Wednesday's race, where Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome of Team Sky finished fourth and 14th, respectively:

EF Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale @Ride_Argyle

Correction to our last tweet: @UranRigoberto has gained one spot on the general classification. He's up to ninth overall - 37" behind race leader Greg van Avermaet (BMC), who scooped up a two second bonus today. https://t.co/UYXbRhHWam

Le Tour confirmed Toms Skujins had kept hold of the polka dot jersey, meanwhile, and Soren Kragh is the best young rider:

Le Tour de France @LeTour

📊 Classifications after Stage 5 📊 💛 @GregVanAvermaet 🇧🇪 💚 @petosagan 🇸🇰 🔴⚪ @Tomashuuns 🇱🇻 👶 @kraghsoren 🇩🇰 #TDF2018⁠ ⁠ https://t.co/dCbvmYgck0

Between them, Sagan and Fernando Gaviria of Quick-Step Floors have won all four of the individual stages in the 2018 competition, while BMC Racing Team took Monday's team time trial.

NBCSN Cycling provided footage of Sagan's run for the finish line in Quimper at the end of a stage that was superbly suited to his abilities (U.S. only):

NBCSN Cycling @NBCSNCycling

What an exciting finish to Stage 5 of @LeTour! Peter Sagan wins the day! #TDF2018 https://t.co/na2IMb8iAU

The Slovakian whipped up an impressive sprint for the uphill finish at the conclusion of a 204.5-kilometre trek from Lorient, with Van Avermaet being one of the rivals he passed on his way to the summit.

It was a just reward after he took second behind Gaviria in a photo-finish in Tuesday's Stage 4—as well as taking second in Stage 1—and the climbing specialist took to Twitter to celebrate his achievement:

Peter Sagan @petosagan

Second stage win at #TDF2018, 10th stage win in @LeTour and Maillot Vert #90 today. Thanks everybody for your work and support today and every single day! @BORAhansgrohe @BORAGmbH @Hansgrohe_PR @iamspecialized @sportful @ride100percent https://t.co/SAZgbkN1Rp

Gaviria's Quick-Step team-mate Philippe Gilbert came third on Wednesday and pushed Sagan late on, and the victor detailed the late scrap that saw him emerge triumphant, per Barry Ryan of CyclingNews.com: "It was a little bit lucky because Colbrelli was coming close. Gilbert came over and tried to attack but we caught him. I think that Van Avermaet started too early and, in the end, he pulled a very good sprint for me and Colbrelli."

Things don't look as rosy for Team Sky, meanwhile, as their day got off to a controversial start when one of their riders ripped away a fan's sign reading "Sky Go Home."

Sam Edmund of the Herald Sun reported Luke Rowe was the Team Sky culprit:

Sam Edmund @SammyHeraldSun

TEAM Sky rider Luke Rowe has chosen a direct way to improve the team's reputation with the French public, snatching a "Team Sky go home" banner off a fan before the start of today's Stage 5 of @LeTour

However, Rowe denied he was involved in the incident at the signing area prior to the beginning of the stage, per Ian Parker of the Press Association:

Ian Parker @iparkysport

Bit of needle around the start. This family had a ‘Sky Go Home’ banner but it was ripped off them by a Sky rider on his way to sign on. Luke Rowe denied it was him #TDF2018 https://t.co/jg46bIH9DR

The tensions surrounding Team Sky have been evident in the near-constant boos following their stars in the more crowded sections of the Tour, and they are yet to really sparkle in France.

That said, they did show good intent to push the pace after BMC and Bora-Hansgrohe showed more drive to lead earlier on, sapping sprinters like Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel out of the running.

Team Sky's distractions in France aren't likely to end anytime soon, but the tactic of biding their time in the Tour's earlier phases looks to be pacing itself well thus far.  

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