Australian Orica-GreenEdge rider Leigh Howard seized back the overall leader’s gold jersey from Team Sky’s Mark Cavendish in the Tour of Britain after Thursday’s fifth stage, which was won by Marc De Maar. UnitedHealthcare’s De Maar, of the Netherlands, made a break for the front with six kilometers of the 147km ride around Stoke-on-Trent remaining, making the move only four kilometers after crashing to the floor. He crossed the finish line alone, with Sep Vanmarcke of Garmin-Sharp winning a sprint finish for second place some 15 seconds further down the road.
Cavendish fell away from the leading pack in the hills, and could not stay close enough to retain his overall lead. The Manxman drops all the way down to 35th in the general classification, with Howard now seven seconds ahead of Dutchman Boy Van Poppel atop the standings.
The Tour enters Wales on Friday, with a 189.8km sixth stage from Welshpool to Caerphilly. The eight-stage race finishes in Guildford, Surrey, on Sunday.