By Thomas Dodd

  • Belgian’s Greg Van Avermaet wins stage five to take overall race lead
  • BMC Racing rider finished five minutes clear of main GC contenders
  • Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali lose time on first mountainous day of 2016 Tour.

LE LIORAN, FRANCE – BMC Racing’s Greg Van Avermaet moved into the race leader’s yellow jersey by winning the fifth stage of the Tour de France.

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The Belgian powered away from compatriot Thomas de Gendt on the final climb of the day to finish over two and a half minutes clear at the end of the 216km route.

Van Avermaet becomes the third leader of this year’s edition of the race, and like Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan before him, he will wear the famed maillot jaune for the first time in his career.

Day one in the Massif Central saw the riders race over five categorized summits, the highest of which being the Pas de Peyrol (the first second category climb of the 2016 race) topping out at nearly 1600m above sea level.

It wasn’t until the penultimate ascent of the stage that Van Avermaet, who had already picked up wins earlier this season at the Tirreno-Adriatico and the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, sprinted away from his fellow Belgian.

Behind the leading pair- who had escaped from the original three man break which also included Astana’s Andriy Grivko – the main favourites were left to mark each other closely and a select group of General Classification contenders came in just over five minutes in arrears of Van Avermaet.

But it was a group that didn’t contain Alberto Contador or Vincenzo Nibali.

The former lost more time on the final sharp climb, apparently still struggling from his crashes in the opening two days while the 2014 champion and 2016 Giro d’Italia winner seemed content to pace himself up the climb, seemingly confirming he will act as Domestique for teammate and countryman Fabio Aru this time around.

Thursday will see the route head south out of Arpajon-sur-Cere continue its journey towards the Pyrenees. The 190.5km will take in three small climbs as the Tour weaves its way into Montauban.

The day will likely be too much for the sprinters but not enough for the main protagonists to show their face, and should provide the breakaway with another shot at glory.

Stage 5: Limoges to Le Lioran (216km)

1. Greg van Avermaet (BEL) BMC Racing 5h31m36seconds
2. Thomas de Gendt (BEL) Lotto Soudal +2m34s
3. Rafal Majka (POL) Tinkoff +5m04
4. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) Kathusa +5m04
5. Daniel Martin (IRE) Etixx-QuickStep +5m07
6. Bartosz Huzarski (POL) Bora-Argon +5m07
7. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Etixx-QuickStep +5m07
8. Adam Yates (GBR) Orica +5m07
9. Chris Froome (GBR) Sky +5m07
10. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing +5m07

Brits

27. Geraint Thomas, Sky +5m23
159. Ian Stannard, Sky +25m14
160. Stephen Cummings, Dimension Data +25m14
173. Luke Rowe, Sky +25m44
182. Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data +28m34
184. Daniel McLay, Fortuneo +28m34

Overall Standings (After Stage 5):

1. Greg van Avermaet (BEL) BMC Racing 25h34m46seconds
2. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Etixx-QuickStep +5m11
3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar +5m13
4. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) Kathusa +5m14
5. Chris Froome (GBR) Sky +5m17
6. Warren Barguil (FRA) Giant-Alpecin +5m17
7. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar +5m17
8. Fabio Aru (ITA) Astana +5m17
9. PierreRolland (FRA) Cannondale +5m17
10. Daniel Martin (IRE) Etixx-QuickStep +5m17

Brits

13. Adam Yates, Orica +5m17
22. Geraint Thomas, Sky +5m57
123. Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data +30m09
160. Daniel McLay, Fortuneo +35m35
163. Ian Stannard, Sky +36m04
164. Luke Rowe, Sky +36m13
188. Stephen Cummings, Dimension Data +42m14

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