Belgian rider Wout van Aert won the fifth stage of the Tour de France in a sprint finish into Privas. Van Aert used his power in the slight uphill finish to win by half a wheel ahead of Cees Bol and Irish sprinter Sam Bennett.
Julian Alaphilippe, who started the day in the leader’s yellow jersey, was stripped of the shirt after being handed a time penalty near the end of yjr stage.
British rider Adam Yates was moved up to first place in the revised general standings after Alaphilippe was docked 20 seconds.
TV footage showed Alaphilippe grabbing a bottle from a staff member of his Deceuninck-Quick Step squad about 18 kilometres from the finish. Under racing rules, riders are not allowed to receive drinks or food during the final 20 kilometres of a stage.
Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, said in a statement that two other riders, Sepp Kuss and Carlos Verona, were also penalised 20 seconds for the same offence.
Of the two South Africans in the race, Daryl Impey of Mitchelton-Scott, fared best when he finished in the main bunch, recording a 67th-placed finish in the same time as the winner after 4hr 21min 22sec of riding.
Ryan Gibbons, of NTT Pro Cycling, Africa’s only team in the race, was 112th across the line, 3min 29sec behind the main finishers.
Overall, Impey is placed 109th of the 172 cyclists, 37min 02sec behind the yellow jersey, while Gibbons is 137th, 48min 44sec behind.
Today’s sixth stage dips its toe in the Massif Central. The race from Le Teil to Mont Aigoual amounts to 191km. The last 26km are mostly uphill. Le Teil is a small town on the banks of the Rhone river.