Marc de Maar goes solo in Stoke-on-Trent.
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 kilometres 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.
Mark 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.
1. Marc De Maar (NED/UnitedHealthcare) 3hr 30min 26sec, 2. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL) at 0:15, 3. Boy Van Poppel (NED) same time, 4. Nathan Haas (AUS) s.t., 5. Leigh Howard (AUS) s.t., 6. Sam Bennett (IRL) s.t., 7. Damiano Caruso (ITA) s.t., 8. Leopold Koenig (CZE) s.t., 9. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (GBR) s.t., 10. Jerome Coppel (FRA) s.t.
61. Mark Cavendish (GBR) 11:45, 64. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) s.t.
Overall (after five of eight stages):
1. Leigh Howard (AUS/Orica-GreenEDGE) 20hr 38min 35sec, 2. Boy van Poppel
(NED) at 0:07, 3. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL) 0:17, 4. Nathan Haas (AUS) 0:23, 5. Christian Knees (GER) 0:24, 6. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (GBR) s.t., 7. Damiano Caruso (ITA) s.t., 8. Christopher Jones (USA) 0:34, 9. Bartosz Huzarski (POL) 2:02, 10. David Le Lay (FRA) s.t.
35. Mark Cavendish (GBR) 11:27, 41. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) 12:03.