Boom wins, Nibali defends lead, Contador loses time and Froome quits
On a treacherous day on muddy cobblestones, Dutchman Lars Boom won stage 5 at the Tour de France after racing over 95 rain-soaked miles from Ypres to Arenberg. The route included five bumpy sections that caused several riders to crash. (Two sections of cobbles were cut from today’s race because of storms.) Boom is a former cyclocross world champion with excellent bike handling skills. This was his best-ever performance at the Tour: he finished 122nd place last year. And to win a stage this difficult… magnifique!
In the last seven miles, yellow-jersey leader Vincenzo Nibali, his two Astana teammates and Lars Boom surged ahead of all other riders. It was the move that allowed Boom to sit in the draft, recover and win.
Italy’s Vicenzo Nibali dominated the race and finised in second place, more than two and a half minutes ahead of his rival Alberto Contador. Nibali seems to have solidified his lead, but there are still 16 racing days left.
A few days before the Tour started, Contador flew to Northern France to practice riding the cobblestone streets. But that was a sunny day. Today was wet, cold and downright miserable for Contador, who took no chances on the slick stones and rode slowly. That cost him dearly. He lost contact with Nibali and the lead group. Contador is now 2:37 behind Nibali in the overall standings.
“It was a complicated day,” Contador said. “We lost some time and we’re certainly going to try and get some back in the days ahead.”
Chris Froome was too injured to continue the race after crashing twice this morning and four times this week. Photo by the London Times.
Sad news for defending Tour champion Chris Froome, who withdrew from the race after falling twice today even before the cobblestones. Froome crashed yesterday and was suffering from a badly sprained left wrist. Imagine how painful it would be to hold the handlebars with a sore hand. Froome explained his decision to quit in a tweet to fans:
“Devastated to have to withdraw from this year’s TDF. Injured wrist and tough conditions made controlling my bike near to impossible,” he wrote.
Richie Porte will now take over as the new race leader for Team Sky. Don’t you just love an underdog story? This will be a good one to watch! Bonne chance Porte!