Simon Clarke wins stage five as Tadej Pogacar throws down gauntlet

Simon Clarke won stage five of the Tour de France in a photo finish in Arenberg as defending champion Tadej Pogacar took a big step towards a third straight title
Simon Clarke wins stage five as Tadej Pogacar throws down gauntlet

PHOTO FINISH: Stage winner Australia's Simon Clarke, right, sprints towards the finish line ahead of Netherlands' Taco van der Hoorn, left, during the fifth stage of the Tour de France. Pic: AP Photo/Daniel Cole

Simon Clarke won stage five of the Tour de France in a photo finish in Arenberg as defending champion Tadej Pogacar took a big step towards a third straight title on a bad day for the Jumbo-Visma team of race leader Wout van Aert and Primoz Roglic.

The cobbled stage of northern France had a huge say in the general classification battle as Roglic crashed on a roundabout, his team-mate Jonas Vingegaard suffered a costly puncture, and the likes of Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates were caught up in the chaos to lose time.

Clarke edged out Taco van der Hoorn to claim Israel-PremierTech's first Tour stage victory, but the biggest winner was Pogacar who used a late attack to pick up considerable time on his rivals.

Van Aert showed he was willing to relinquish yellow as he spent the final 30km working to salvage the day for his team-mate Vingegaard, closing a gap to Pogacar that had been nearly a minute to only surrender 13 seconds by the end.

That means he now leads by 13 seconds from Neilson Powless and 14 from Edvald Boasson Hagen - two riders who had been in the breakaway - with Pogacar sitting fourth 19 seconds down.

But the Slovenian picked up 13 seconds on Vingegaard, Thomas, Yates and others, while Roglic surrendered more than two minutes, while another general classification hopeful Jack Haig crashed out entirely.

For Clarke, 35, his first individual Tour stage victory comes after a winter in which he thought his career might be over after the break up of the Qhubeka-Assos team.

"After the winter I had, I had no team, having Israel ring me up and give me that chance, it just gives you such a reality check," he said. "As you've seen this season I've come out in every race swinging, trying to make the most of every opportunity...

"I moved to Europe when I was 16 and I'm 36 on the second rest day (of the Tour). It's been 20 years now and today the dream comes true."

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox