PARIS: Mark Cavendish’s wait for a Tour de France victory goes on after André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) claimed his second triumph of the 2015 race on stage five to Amiens.
On four occasions in Tours Cavendish’s first win has come on stage five; in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013, when he also recorded his most recent prior win.
But on Wednesday he was unable to do it again on the 189.5km route from Arras, as Greipel won.
Expectation was high that Cavendish would claim his 26th Tour stage success in his mother’s hometown of Harrogate last year and with it the race leader’s yellow jersey but he crashed out.
The Manxman was favorite for the sprint to Zeeland last Sunday, but floundered in the finishing straight.
World champion Michal Kwiatkowski and next Tony Martin began Cavendish’s leadout, with the yellow jersey taking to the front with 2.6km to go.
Etixx-Quick Step were swamped by rival teams, including Giant-Alpecin and Cavendish opted to bide his time, sitting behind Greipel.
Cavendish launched his sprint, but Greipel powered by him and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) claimed second. Cavendish was third.
The 30-year-old is still three behind Bernard Hinault’s tally of stage wins. The Frenchman has 28, second only to Eddy Merckx’s record tally of 34.
Cavendish will have another chance in Thursday’s 191.5km sixth stage from Abbeville to Le Harve, which is anticipated to end in a bunch sprint, but questions will continue to be asked over whether he will return to the force who won 20 stages in four Tours.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished safely in the peloton to remain 12 seconds behind Martin in second place overall.