Cavendish and the others couldn't match Greipel's burst of speed, with the Manxman admitting the German was the better rider on the day.
Completing the 194km stage in an average of a casual 39kph, Greipel topped out at over 85kph at one stage, according to his computer's stats. That speed came mid-race, however, on a descent, but his final sprint speed is still mighty impressive.
While those riders on the front of the peloton, and those supporting Greipel, may have been higher, Greipel had an average cadence of 78rpm over the course of the stage.
Of course, being sheltered in a group helps reduce the effort, but Greipel rose to the challenge when required, turning the pedals at 113rpm in the final sprint to get up to speed and sail across the line.
The win gives the German a solid lead in the green jersey competition, leading Peter Sagan by over 30 points, with Cavendish 65 points down.
Watch highlights from stage five of the Tour de France
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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