Lars Booms, Vicenzo Nibbles

Paris-Roubaix cobbles

At the end of the fifth stage of the Tour, the Italian rider, Vicenzo Nibali, took a lead over Alberto Contador. The fifth stage was defined by a number of crashes and horrible conditions. Jonathan Vaughters, the Garmin-Sharp team manager, acknowledged the brutal, wet, and slippery stage. The defending champion, Chris Froome suffered two spills. Though two sectors of the feared cobbles were removed before the start of the ride, the stage was marked by over a dozen spills, and numerous injuries.

The severe conditions brought forth contradictory opinions from the riders. Some accepted the fact that cobbles were part of the race while others begged to differ. However, the cobbles played a part in blowing the race wide open and Nibali widened his gap over Alberto Contador. Nibali finished the stage on second spot behind Lars Boom. The Italian rider drove brilliantly the entire day while classics specialist Fabian Cancellara and two-time green jersey winner, Peter Sagan, fell apart. Team Sky’s principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, lauded the efforts of Nibali, especially for increasing the lead over Cancellera and Sagan on the cobbles. However, Nibali was modest about his achievement and acknowledged the advantage he had over Alberto. The Italian rider became the bookmaker’s favourite but his rival, Contador, who was 19th in the general classification, was an incredible climber with a new target in the mountains. The race is not over yet.