Britain’s Alex Dowsett (Sky) crashed out of the fifth stage of the Tour of California on Thursday after hitting a pothole in the road and ending up in hospital with suspected broken ribs. Dowsett had been hoping to put in a good performance in the race’s individual time trial stage today (Friday).

Dowsett is the third Sky rider to leave the race after Jeremy Hunt and Kurt Asle Arvesen both withdrew on stage four. The squad won two consecutive stages earlier in the race, with Briton Ben Swift winning stage two and Greg Henderson securing stage three. Both riders wore the leader’s jersey after their stage wins.

Slovakian sprinter Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) won the bunch sprint at the end of stage five in Paso Robles. Swift placed third behind Sagan, with Australian Leigh Howard (HTC-Highroad) in second.

Stage four winner, American Chris Horner (Radoshack) continues to lead the race overall with team-mate and compatriot Levi Leipheimer in second at 1-15. Tom Danielson (Garmin-Cervelo) is third at 1-22.

Britain’s Chris Froome (Sky) had played an active role in the day’s escape group, before they were swallowed up by the bunch. Froome is Britain’s highest-placed rider overall in 19th spot, at 3-37. Froome is also Sky’s highest-placed rider.

Friday’s individual time trial stage takes place around Solvang and comprises a hilly 24km (15 mile) circuit. Pre-stage favourites are David Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervelo) and Levi Leipheimer (Radioshack).

Zabriskie placed third on the equivalent stage last year and won the Tour de Romandie ITT over a similar distance at the end of April.

Leipheimer has won the Tour of California on three occasions: 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The 2011 Tour of California concludes on Sunday, May 22, in Thousand Oaks.

Results

Tour of Calfornia 2011, stage five: Seaside to Paso Robles, 223.6km

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale in 5-16-03


2. Leigh howard (Aus) HTC-Highroad

3. Ben Swift (GB) Sky

4. Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank

5. Alex Candelario (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies

6. Jonas Jorgensen (Den) Saxo Bank-Sungard

7. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned), Rabobank

8. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team

9. Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling

10. Alexander Gottfried (Ger) Team Netapp all same time

Overall classification after stage five

1. Christopher Horner (USA) Radioshack in 16-45-35

2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack at 1-15

3. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-22

4. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-29

5. Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare at 1-30

6. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 1-30

7. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-36

8. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard-Trek at 1-50

9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 2-00

10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad at 2-05

Other

19. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 3-37

Chris Froome in escape group, Tour of California 2011, stage five



Chris Froome in the escape group

Chris Horner, race leader, Tour of California 2011, stage five



Race leader Chris Horner

Peter Sagan wins stage, Tour of California 2011, stage five



Peter Sagan beats Britain’s Ben Swift (right) in the sprint

Tour of California 2011: Related links



Stage four: Horner takes control



Stage three: Henderson makes it two for Sky in California



Stage two: Swift wins and takes lead



Snow forces Tour of California opening stage cancellation



Tour of California to be shown on ITV4