Peter Sagan wins stage 5 on Wednesday Photo: AFP
cycling

Sagan wins Tour de France fifth stage; Alaphilippe retains lead

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By JEFF PACHOUD

Slovak Peter Sagan reserved enough strength in the hills of the Alsace region to win a reduced bunch sprint for his 12th overall Tour de France stage win on Wednesday.

France's overall leader Julian Alaphilippe will embark in yellow again on the first real mountain test in the Alsace in Eastern France on stage 6 as the local hero even had a tilt at the stage win with a downhill charge after the final climb.

Sagan's win will be popular with armchair fans as the charismatic former triple world champion, and six-time green sprint jersey winner had been frustrated in two near misses so far.

He went full gas from 150 metres out to beat pre-race favourites including break out star Jumbo Visma's Wout van Aert, who came second while Italy's Matteo Trentin came third.

Van Aert closed in to within 14 seconds of the overall lead and maintains his under-25's white jersey

Defending champion Geraint Thomas and his Team Ineos co-captain Egan Bernal finished safely in the pack at Colmar in the Vosges mountain range.

Thomas was typically drole when asked what he expected as the Tour headed off in the morning quipping: "I'm expecting the worst and hoping for the best".

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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