RUMILLY, France (AFP) — Unheralded Frenchman Arthur Vichot broke away to take the fifth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Friday, as Bradley Wiggins (Sky) held on to the overall lead.
The 23-year-old FDJ-BigMat rider was part of an eight-man early breakaway, and then raced clear of his fellow escapees 7km from the finish line to take the biggest victory of his career.
Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) won the group sprint for second, 26 seconds behind Vichot.
Wiggins’ hold on the leader’s yellow jersey appeared under threat when last year’s Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) attacked on the descent of the hors categorie Grand Colombier.
However, Wiggins battled back and rejoined Evans, who sits fourth overall, 45km from the finish.
Saturday’s mountainous sixth stage will feature six climbs on a 167km run from Saint Alban Leysse to Morzine.
Editor’s Note: Keep your browser pointed to VeloNews.com for more from stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.