Wiggins maintains Dauphiné lead as Vichot wins stage
Vichot wins Dauphiné stage five
French cycling got its stage win at the Critérium du Dauphiné thanks to Arthur Vichot's solo effort on stage five.
True to his team's attacking credentials, the FDJ-BigMat rider broke clear from the day's break with 6km left to race and time-trialled his way along the flat finish into Rumilly.
Despite a brief scare when Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) gained 35 seconds on the descent of the day's main climb, the Grand Colombier, Bradley Wiggins (Sky) safeguarded his race lead by finishing alongside his main rivals in the bunch.
Although well earned, Vichot's win was a somewhat underwhelming end to a stage that had looked capable of shaking up the general classification.
The riders knew the stage and its 40km flat run in to the line represented the best chance for a break to succeed and it took a fast hour's racing before a group of Vichot, Dmitri Fofonov (Astana), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Cayetano Sarmiento (Liquigas-Cannondale), Remy Di Gregorio (Cofidis), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Daniel Navarro (Saxo Bank), Fabrice Jeandesbosz (Saur-Sojasun) and Maxime Mederel (Saur-Sojasun) got clear.
Meanwhile, after his disappointing performance in stage four's time-trial, Evans and three BMC team-mates threatened to make amends after they forged clear on the descent of the hors categorie Grand Colombier accompanied by, amongst others, Nibali.
The climb will make its Tour de France debut on stage ten of this year's race and its passage in the Dauphiné proved to be a good trial run for Wiggins and his Sky domestiques, most of whom look likely to accompany him in July.
Edvald Boassan Hagen, who initially found himself up the road with Evans, was ordered to drop back and help the Sky train of Richie Porte, Chris Froome and Michael Rogers drag Wiggins up to the Australian.
As if it were needed, Wiggins put on another show of strength when he launched himself clear of the bunch to solo the final few hundred metres to Evans. Gap closed, and point made.
With the GC threats neutralised, the Sky-led bunch were content to let the breakaway bicker amongst themselves for the spoils of the stage with Vichot coming out on top.
Wiggins's first true mountain test awaits tomorrow with stage six cramming in six categorised climbs, including the first category Col de la Colombière and the summit finish on the hors categorie Col du Joux Plane.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2012, stage five: Saint Trivier sur Moignans - Rumilly, 187km
1. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat in 4-42-1
2. Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 26 secs
3. Dmitri Fofonov (Kaz) Astana
4. Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Cofidis
5. Cayetano Sarmiento (Col) Liquigas-Cannondale
6. Alberto Losada (Spa) Katusha
7. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Saxo Bank
8. Maxime Mederel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at same time
9. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale) at 46 secs
10. Bruno Pires (Por) Saxo Bank at same time
General classification after stage five
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky in 18-54-23
2. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep at 38 secs
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky at 1-20
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 1-44
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank at 1-45
6. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at 1-48
7. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank at 2-02
8. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 2-22
9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana at 2-42
10. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 2-55
Bradley Wiggins and Michael Rogers
Cadel Evans attacks
Edvald Boasson Hagen chases
Cayetano Sarmiento in escape group
Arthur Vichot celebrates his stage win
Bradley Wiggins keeps hold of the race lead before a weekend of mountains
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Critérium du Dauphiné 2012: Stage reports
Stage four: Wiggins blitzes Dauphine time trial
Stage three: Boasson Hagen blasts to stage win
Stage two: Moreno wins second stage in Dauphiné hill-top sprint
Stage one: Evans wins as Wiggins takes lead
Prologue: Wiggins second behind Durbridge