German riders continued to dominate the 2015 Tour de France on Wednesday’s stage five, with sprinter André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) taking his second stage victory to increase his lead in the points classification, and Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) retaining the overall lead.
The route from Arras to Amiens commemorated those lost in World War I in the region, with riders paying tribute to fallen soldiers before the stage and the race passing war memorials and cemeteries.
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The weather once again played a part in proceedings, with heavy rain and crosswinds making progress difficult – not least for lone escapee Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne-Seche Environnement), who battled on before being caught with 98km still to go.
After the catch of Perichon, the race took a different turn, with the bunch splitting in the crosswinds as a results of the GC teams winding up the pace and crashes delaying riders.
The bedraggled bunch reached Amiens for a hectic sprint showdown, which saw Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) being boxed in and working hard to try and get back into contention. In the end, he placed third behind Greipel and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Martin continues to top the overall table, 12 seconds ahead of Chris Froome (Team Sky) on a day where the main race contenders looked happy to stay upright and finish in one piece.