German Greipel wins fifth stage
Andre Greipel pounced late for the second successive day to claim the fifth stage of the Tour de France in a stage rocked by the doping controversy swirling around seven-time winner Lance Armstrong.
Lotto rider Greipel finished fastest to claim the sprint finish in a carbon copy of his win on Wednesday at the end of the 196.5 kilometre run from Rouen to Saint-Quentin.
Swiss rider Fabian Cancellera held onto the leader's yellow jersey by seven seconds from Briton Bradley Wiggins with Australia's defending champion Cadel Evans in seventh, at 17sec.
Before the peloton set off from Rouen an explosive report appeared in a Dutch newspaper claiming four former teammates of Armstrong had testified against the Texan and were facing six-month bans.
De Telegraaf alleged the quartet competing in this year's race -Americans George Hincapie (BMC), Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma), Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie (both Garmin) - have confessed to doping.
Hincapie, a teammate of Australian Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, refused to directly comment on the allegation ahead of Thursday's stage.
"I'm just disappointed this is being brought up once again," said Hincapie, the only rider to accompany Armstrong in all seven of his triumphant Tour campaigns.
On the road and for the second time in 24 hours there was a multi-bike pile-up less than three kilometres from the finish in which one of the victims was Slovakian champion Peter Sagan, winner of the first and third stages.
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RESULTS - STAGE FIVE
1. Andre Greipel, Germany, Lotto Belisol, 4 hours, 41 minutes, 30 seconds.
2. Matthew Harley Goss, Australia, Orica GreenEdge, same time.
3. Juan Jose Haedo, Argentina, Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, same time.
4. Samuel Dumoulin, France, Cofidis, same time.
5. Mark Cavendish, Britain, Sky Procycling, same time.
6. Tom Veelers, Netherlands, Argos-Shimano, same time.
7. Oscar Freire, Spain, Katusha, same time.
8. Alessandro Petacchi, Italy, Lampre-ISD, same time.
9. Sebastien Hinault, France, France, AG2R La Mondiale, same time.
10. Yohann Gene, France, Team Europcar, same time.
11. Bauke Mollema, Netherlands, Rabobank, same time.
12. Matthieu Ladagnous, France, FDJ-Big Mat, same time.
13. Borut Bozic, Slovenia, Astana, same time.
14. Kenny Robert van Hummel, Netherlands, Vacansoleil-DCM, same time.
15. Egoi Martinez, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, same time.
16. Janez Brajkovic, Slovenia, Astana, same time.
17. Samuel Sanchez, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, same time.
18. Bradley Wiggins, Britain, Sky Procycling, same time.
19. David Millar, Britain, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, same time.
20. Michael Schar, Switzerland, BMC Racing, same time.
30. Daryl Impey, South Africa, Orica GreenEdge, same time.
181. Robert Hunter, South Africa, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, same time.
1. Fabian Cancellara, Switzerland, RadioShack-Nissan, 24 hours, 45 minutes, 32 seconds.
2. Bradley Wiggins, Britain, Sky Procycling, 7 seconds behind.
3. Sylvain Chavanel, France, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, same time.
4. Tejay Van Garderen, United States, BMC Racing, :10.
5. Edvald Boasoon Hagen, Norway, Sky Procycling, :11.
6. Denis Menchov, Russia, Katusha, :13.
7. Cadel Evans, Australia, BMC Racing, :17.
8. Vincenzo Nibali, Italy, Liquigas-Cannondale, :18.
9. Ryder Hesjedal, Canada, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, same time.
10. Andreas Kloeden, Germany, RadioShack-Nissan, :19.
11. Bauke Mollema, Netherlands, Rabobank, :21.
12. Maxime Monfort, Belgium, RadioShack-Nissan, :22.
13. Janez Brajkovic, Slovenia, Astana, same time.
14. Rein Taaramae, Estonia, Cofidis, same time.
15. Peter Sagan, Slovakia, Liquigas-Cannondale, :23.
16. Jean-Christophe Peraud, France, AG2R La Mondiale, same time.
17. Marco Marcato, Italy, Vacansoleil-DCM, same time.
18. Vladimir Gusev, Russia, Katusha, :24.
19. Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, RadioShack-Nissan, same time.
20. Wouter Poels, Netherlands, Vacansoleil-DCM, same time.
79. Daryl Impey, South Africa, Orica GreenEdge, 4:30.
167. Robert Hunter, South Africa, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, 13:04.