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Simon Clarke (right) has now won stages at all three of the Grand Tours

Australia’s Simon Clarke won a chaotic stage five of the Tour de France after a photo finish in Arenberg as defending champion Tadej Pogacar made gains on his main rivals.

Clarke, 35, beat Dutchman Taco van der Hoorn on the line with Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen finishing third.

With almost 20km of cobbles in the final 80km, crashes saw Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic lose ground, while a puncture hampered Jonas Vingegaard.

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Wout van Aert remains race leader.

The cobbled sections on the 157km route between Lille Metropole and Arenberg Porte du Hainaut added an element of stress to the peloton with Michael Gogl and Jack Haig becoming the first riders to abandon this year’s race.

While it was a notable day for Australia’s Clarke, 35, as he claimed Israel-Premier Tech’s first win on a stage at the Tour, Pogacar appeared the main beneficiary in the overall race for the yellow jersey.

The two-time winner managed to steer clear of trouble and saw Roglic concede more than two minutes after a crash on a roundabout involving Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan.

The fall, which came after an errant hay bale moved into the path of some of the riders in the main group chasing Clarke’s breakaway section, saw the Slovenian dislocate his shoulder and then put it back into place.

“I couldn’t put it immediately back in on the road so I had to sit in the chair of a spectator,” Roglic said. “I have a technique to put it back in.”

By that stage, his Jumbo-Visma team-mate Vingegaard was already attempting to make up time after a puncture left him over a minute behind Pogacar.

However, the Dane aided considerably by a huge effort from Van Aert, managed to limit his loss to just 13 seconds and came home in a group alongside Thomas, who had looked in a promising position until suffering a crash around 30km from the finish.

“[Jack] Haig and a few of the Bahrain Victorious guys came down right in front of me. I almost missed it but I got taken out. Tom [Pidcock] stayed with me and we were chasing back,” said 2018 Tour champion Thomas.

“I got the chain back on and got back up pretty quick but it’s a small gap. There’s not lot you can do with 30km to go.

“It definitely could have been worse but I felt like it could have been a lot better as well. I don’t feel too bad injury wise and the legs still feel pretty good.”

The Welshman is now 10th in the general classification with his Ineos Grenadiers team-mates Adam Yates and Tom Pidcock in eighth and ninth.

Stage six sees the Tour travel a hilly 219.9km run from Binche to Longwy.

Stage five results

1. Simon Clarke (Aus/Israel Premier Tech) 3hrs 13mins 34secs

2. Taco van der Hoorn (Ned/Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) Same time

3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/TotalEnergies) +2secs

4. Neilson Powless (US/EF Education-EasyPost) +4secs

5. Magnus Cort (Den/EF Education-EasyPost) +30secs

6. Jasper Stuyven (Bel/Trek-Segafredo) +51secs

7. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) Same time

8. Jasper Philipsen (Bel/Alpecin-Deceuninck) +1min 04secs

9. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) Same time

10. Luca Mozzato (Ita/B&B Hotels)

General classification after stage five

1. Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma 16hrs 17mins 22secs

2. Neilson Powless (US/EF Education-EasyPost +13secs

3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/TotalEnergies) +14secs

4. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +19secs

5. Yves Lampaert (Bel/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl +25secs

6. Mads Pedersen (Den/Trek – Segafredo +36secs

7. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo – Visma +40secs

8. Adam Yates (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +48secs

9. Tom Pidcock (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +49secs

10. Geraint Thomas ((GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +50secs

SOURCE: BBC Sport – Cycling RSS   (go to source)
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