Wiebes takes stage, Vos keeps yellow

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Dutchwoman Lorena Wiebes has won her second stage in the Tour de France Femmes, winning the fifth stage with a powerful sprint at the end of the 176 km flat ride from Bar-le-Duc to Saint-Die-des-Vosges.

Wiebes launched her sprint with Elisa Balsamo and yellow jersey holder Marianne Vos in hot pursuit on Thursday and kept both at bay to add to her victory in the opening stage on the Champs-Elysees.

Compatriot Vos, who nearly took a wrong turn at the final corner, came in third behind Balsamo but the Jumbo-Visma rider retains the yellow jersey.

With four bonus seconds for finishing third on the stage, Vos - who has finished in the top five on every stage so far - stretched her advantage in the yellow jersey to 20 seconds from Silvia Persico and Kasia Niewiadoma.

Wiebes, who wears the green points jersey, said, "I'm really happy, especially because Franzy (team mate Franziska Koch) did such a strong effort with controlling the race from the beginning.

"When the (breakaway group of) four went away, Franzy (controlled) the pace of the peloton... She did an amazing effort, so I'm happy to finish it off."

Asked if she was the best sprinter in the world right now, Wiebes said: "If you want to say it. I don't like to say it for myself. Today I was happy to deliver this sprint after such a long stage.

"It's still a goal to get the green jersey but we also want to stay in the general classification with Juliette (Labous). Today was a real team effort and that was the most important thing."

The stage - the longest ever stage of a women's race in the modern era - was marred by a big crash with about 50 km to go, with many riders injured.

Emma Norsgaard was forced to abandon the race with her Movistar team saying she had pain in her head, neck and left shoulder. She was taken to the hospital for further assessment.

Vos's lead tis likely to come under greater pressure on Friday's hilly stage to Rosheim before the weekend's finale in the Vosges mountains.

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