Three-time world champion Peter Sagan won stage five of the Tour de France in Quimper.
The Bora-Hansgrohe rider had the power to hold off Sonny Colbrelli of Bahrain-Merida in a sprint after a steep uphill rise to the finish to seal his second stage victory in this year’s race.
BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet came home in seventh place to retain the yellow jersey, moving two seconds clear of team-mate Tejay Van Garderen on the timesheets after picking up a couple of seconds in the bonus sprint.
Irishman Dan Martin of UAE Team Emirates finished in sixth place with Colbrelli’s team-mate Vincenzo Nibali 10th, both on the same time as Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas in 12th and Chris Froome in 14th.
The provisional results showed no time gaps between the main general classification hopefuls at the end of the 204.5km stage from Lorient.
However, Thomas moved down one place to overall fourth after Quick-Step’s Philippe Gilbert also picked up bonus seconds. Thomas is now five seconds off Van Avermaet in yellow.
Froome sits 15th overall, 57 seconds off yellow with Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates a further five seconds back in 16th place.
The rolling roads of Brittany provided a different test for the riders after three sprints punctuated by a team time trial. Dimension Data’s Mark Cavendish was the first of the sprinters to suffer, but was far from alone as a 15-strong grupetto of quick men had formed by the final climb.
Covering tight and twisty roads, the stage offered hope to a breakaway, and Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Samsic), Julien Vermote (Dimension Data), Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal) Lilian Calmejane and Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Tom Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) were persuaded to try their luck, building a lead of four and a half minutes at one stage.
Calmejane was the last survivor of the group, hoovered up with 12km to go as Van Avermaet popped out of the front group to take second in the bonus sprint and protect his yellow jersey.
Michael Matthews had been seen as a contender for the stage but the Team Sunweb rider was forced to abandon the Tour due to illness in the morning.
Tour de France stage five result
1. Peter Sagan (SVK) BORA-Hansgrohe 4hrs 48mins 06secs
2. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA) Bahrain-Merida Same time
3. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) Quick-Step Floors
4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
5. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Quick-Step Floors
6. Daniel Martin (IRL) UAE Team Emirates
7. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) BMC Racing Team
8. Soren Kragh (DEN) Team Sunweb
9. Andrea Pasqualon (ITA) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Bahrain – Merida
General classification after stage five
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 18:22:00
2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team +2
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors +3
4. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky +5
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors +6
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors +9
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb +13
8. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb +13
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale +37
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe +52
(c) Sky News 2018: Peter Sagan wins stage five of the 2018 Tour de France