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The Early Lead
Posted at 12:13 PM ET, 07/06/2011

Tour de France 2011: Crashes dominate fifth stage as Norway’s Thor Hushovd maintains lead


Ukraine's Yaroslav Popovych receives medical assistance after crashing during the 164.5 km and fifth stage. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Watch video highlights from stage five here.

Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador was one of numerous riders to hit the asphalt on Wednesday as high winds led to a flurry of crashes during the fifth stage.

Britain’s Mark Cavendish showed off his sprinting skills by winning the 102-mile leg from Carhaix to Cap Frehel to capture his 16th career Tour stage victory.

With a bundled pack behind the sprinters, there was little movement at the top of the leaderboard as Norwegian Thor Hushovd maintained a one-second lead over Australian Cadel Evans.

Contador, who finished a narrow second behind Evans in Tuesday’s mountainous fourth stage, fell in one of 10 crashes during the fifth stage sprint. Heading into Thursday’s stage six — the longest of the Tour at 226.5 km — Contador is in 41st place overall, 1 minute, 42 seconds behind Hushovd.

RadioShack rider Janez Brajkovic also crashed Wednesday, and then pulled out of the race entirely.

More 2011 Tour de France coverage:

Photo gallery

Mark Cavendish wins 5th stage

RadioShack rider Janez Brajkovic crashes out

Alberto Contador tests his climbing legs

By  |  12:13 PM ET, 07/06/2011

 
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