AMIENS, France (AP) The latest from the Tour de France fifth stage (all times local).
On a rainy and grey day on the battlefields of World War One in northern France, Tour riders paid tribute to the fallen heroes of the first global conflict of the 20th century.
Before the peloton started its 189.5-kilometer ride through the regions of Artois and Somme – where the Battle of the Somme claimed thousands of lives in 1916 – 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome and Sky teammate Peter Kennaugh laid a wreath on the Commonwealth Memorial at the Franco-British cemetery in Arras.
Tour de France organizers said they wanted to ”honor the memory of Commonwealth soldiers, but also French and German soldiers who fell at the front.”
Australian riders from the Orica-Greenedge team joined the tribute, wearing black armbands at the stage start in Arras.
”We are all very respectful of everything to do with that era, and I don’t think they should be forgotten,” Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford told The Associated Press. ”If you remember what happened in the past, hopefully it serves as a deterrent for the future. It’s not just great for what people did, but it’s a reminder in this day and age, hopefully to find ways of resolving problems and leaving in peace.”
French rider Nacer Bouhanni’s bad luck continues as he is caught in a crash early into the stage and taken away in an ambulance.
The French sprinter was one of four riders from the French-owned Cofidis team caught in the collision shortly after the start of the fifth stage.
They all got back up except for Bouhanni.
One week before the start of the Tour, he crashed heavily toward the end of the French championships and almost missed the Tour because of damaged ribs.