Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) claimed his 12th Tour de France stage win and mimicked The Incredible Hulk like on his first victory in 2012.
In a sprint deprived of the pure sprinters after a few climbs in the Alsace region, the Slovakian beat Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) in Colmar. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) retained the yellow jersey.
Wellens, Clarke, Skujins and Würtz Schmidt at the front
176 riders started stage 5 in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. Strong attacks took place from the gun as many teams were motivated to make the breakaway. Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida) rode away at km 15 but were kept on a leash by the peloton and eventually caught five kilometres further. At km 22, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin), Simon Clarke (EF Education First) and Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) got the green light from the peloton.
They reached a maximum advantage of 2’30’’ at km 97. Wellens was mainly targeting the KOM points. The Belgian secured his polka dot jersey atop the Haut-Koenigsbourg with 66km to go.
Rui Costa tries his luck
In the côte des Trois-Epis, Würtz Schmidt was dropped and Skujins rode away solo 2km before the top with 37km remaining into the stage.
Skujins was reeled in up the hill to Cinq Châteaux 22km before the end in Colmar. Sunweb was the most active team at the head of the peloton with a lot of work being done by Lennard Kämna. Affected by a mechanical, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) chased for 25 minutes to make it back to the pack.
Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) attacked on his own with 7km to go. He got a 12’’ gap and was reined in 2km before the finishing line.
Another former world champion took over as Peter Sagan went to the front 300 metres before the line and didn’t give any chance to his rivals to pass. This is his eighth victory with the green jersey. He enters the top 15 of the stage wins tally of time at the Tour de France.