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Greg van Avermaet is the man but Chris Froome is still in Tour de France driving seat

By Ian Parker

Greg van Avermaet soloed to victory and the yellow jersey on stage five of the Tour de France in Le Lioran as Chris Froome saw rivals lose more time in the general classification battle proper.

Froome may have seen his deficit to yellow balloon from 14 seconds to five minutes 17 seconds after BMC's van Avermaet attacked to win his second career Tour stage, but the GC picture was still looking good for the Team Sky man after Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali suffered on the 216km run from Limoges.

Movistar's Nairo Quintana attacked on the last of the six categorised climbs as the race moved into the Massif Central, but Froome responded and it was the Team Sky man who was first home among the GC hopefuls, finishing in ninth place.

"For us it was just about staying up front (in the peloton)," Froome said.

"Those descents were pretty tricky, pretty dangerous. It was about not losing any major time to any GC guys.

"We knew the breakaway was going to stay away today and the jersey has gone to van Avermaet, he did a pretty impressive ride.

"From our side we're happy to stay out of trouble and it's one more day down. The big GC days are still to come."

Two-time Tour winner Contador has been struggling since suffering two crashes on the first two stages, and he gave up another 33 seconds to Froome here to fall 81 seconds behind.

Tinkoff's Peter Sagan had started the day in yellow but cracked on the Puy Mary and finished 23:37 behind Belgian van Avermaet, saying goodbye to yellow although the Slovakian still leads the points classification.

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