Renshaw wins stage five of Tour

Mark Renshaw (left) and Mark Cavendish (right)

Mark Renshaw went head-to-head with teammate Mark Cavendish in Exmouth

Mark Renshaw has won the fifth stage of the Tour of Britain, ahead of HTC-Highroad team-mate Mark Cavendish.

Team Europcar’s Damien Gaudin was the only real threat, testing the peloton’s strength in the closing stages.

But with 3km to go the leading pack pushed stage-one winner Cavendish and Renshaw to the front, with the Australian lead-out man winning the final bunch sprint to the line.

The stage took the riders 111.8miles (180km) between Exeter and Exmouth.

Stage five was unique as it was the first to be held entirely within Devon since the Tour of Britain was revived in 2004. It is one of the toughest on the Tour with three high climbs for the riders over the Devon hills in the opening 60km.

Rapha Condor Sharp rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, in search of the King of the Mountains jersey, was the first to break away alongside Russell Hampton, who was only seven points ahead of Tiernan-Locke at the start of the day.

By the half-way mark the leading pack were almost six minutes ahead of the peloton, but the climbs had taken their toll and the group was soon caught.

Frenchman Gaudin tried to pull away once again in the closing stages but tired, allowing the sprinters to get back in touch for the run into Exmouth.

Both Renshaw and Cavendish went head-to-head in the last kilometre, with the Australian outwitting his team-mate and the rest of the leading pack, with a bunch sprint to the line to give HTC-Highroad a one-two finish.

That result helped HTC-Highroad retain fifth place in the team competition, five minutes 35 seconds behind leaders Team Sky.

The result also left pre-Tour favourite Cavendish 34 seconds behind leader Lars Boom in the overall general classification.

The riders next leave Taunton on Friday for the 90.7mile (146km) sixth stage to Wells.

The tour, which started in Peebles on Sunday, finishes in London on 18 September.

Stage five results, Exeter to Exmouth:

1) Mark Renshaw (Aus, HTC-Highroad) 4hrs 17min 38secs

2) Mark Cavendish (GB, HTC-Highroad) same time

3) Robert Forster (Ger, UnitedHealthcare) same time

4) Geraint Thomas (Wal, Team Sky) same time

5) Andrew Fenn (GB, An Post-Sean Kelly) same time

Overall general classification:

1) Lars Boom (Ned, Rabobank) 16hrs 54min 29secs

2) Geraint Thomas (GB, Team Sky) +12 sec

3) Boy Van Poppel (Ned, UnitedHealthcare) +14 sec

4) Daniel Lloyd (GB, TeamGarmin-Cervelo) +16 sec

5) Linus Gerdemann (Ger, LeopardTrek) +17 sec

Other notable general classification rider positions:

14) Mark Cavendish (GB, HTC-Highroad) +34 sec

15) Andrew Fenn (GB, An Post-Sean Kelly) +34 sec

23) Lars Back (Den, HTC-Highroad) +2min 46secs

27) Ben Swift (GB, Team Sky) +4min 34secs

28) Alex Dowsett (GB, Team Sky) +4min 45secs

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