Tour de France (st. 5)
Amador, Quintana away from injuries after two crashes on stage five finale in Marseille – Rojas 10th at final sprint, as Cavendish (OPQ) seizes 42nd GT stage win
Nervousness into the bunch during the first week of the 2013 Tour de France caused numerous incidents again on stage five, one of the longest in this year’s race over 229 lumpy kilometers between Cagnes-sur-Mer and Marseille, including four rated climbs and a long slope, La Gineste, just 12k from the finish. The latter saw the group breaking up into two echelons by a crash involving Andrey Amador, who was able to get back on his back and bridge into the main field before the crest, with no physical consequences.
The 20-second advantage for the four survivors from the day’s break -De Gendt (VCD), Lutsenko (AST), Reza and Arashiro (EUC)- forced the bunch to push, with Movistar Team always at the front. However, a second incident into the bunch, just 300 meters from the finish, caused a pile-up including Nairo Quintana, who crashed -fortunately, with no injuries-. José Joaquín Rojas was not able to complete the good work in the fight for positions and ended up in 10th place behind winner Mark Cavendish (OPQ).
Simon Gerrans (OGE) is still in the lead as Valverde, Quintana, Amador and Rui Costa stay 20 seconds behind the yellow jersey before stage six on Thursday: 176km from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier with the wind as the main menace before a predictable sprint finish.
Andrey Amador: “Fortunately, the crash did not have any consequences. It happened before the last slope; the race was coming fast and there was some touch of wheels. When one of two crash, the rest of the field goes with them – that’s what happened. Still I only had to get my bike off the dough, it was stuck into Rolland’s, and keep going. It was a short fright and my wrist hurts a bit, but it isn’t really nothing. The race is tense, the gaps in the GC are short… everything adds more nervousness to the competition. It will stay like this until the weekend, when the Pyrenees will take some energy and calm nerves down. The important things is that Nairo’s incident wasn’t bad either, and we’re perfectly fit after these first five days. We’re all OK, close to the main favourites – it doesn’t matter in my case, but it does when it comes to Alejandro, Nairo or Rui. We’re really excited to be competing with them and should race circumstances favour it, we will profit from the chance.”
Nairo Quintana: “I saw the pile-up and had time enough to brake, but someone hit me from behind and I went down. It isn’t nothing to worry about, just a very small bruise in my hand that will not affect me at all. Now we will keep trying to get out of any incidents for these next two days as we wait for the mountains to come – we all hope to perform well there. I’m feeling quite strong right now – the legs respond well to the efforts, though these small mountains make easy for power riders to push harder and the race becomes a bit more difficult.”