Peter Sagan delivered his 12th career Tour de France stage victory in Colmar as Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey for a third day.
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Former world champion Sagan powered his way around Mitchelton-Scott's Matteo Trentin and held off Jumbo-Visma's Wout Van Aert in the final straight as the 175.5km stage from Saint-Die-des-Vosges was settled in a sprint finish.
Sagan's first stage win of this year's Tour saw the Bora-Hansgrohe rider strengthen his grip on the points leader's green jersey, which he is attempting to win for what would be a record seventh time.
Asked how the stage five win made him feel, the 29-year-old said: "Exquisite."
"I just have to ride with passion and the victory comes," he added. "I have to say thanks to all my team-mates. They have done a great job and finally we have the Tour de France victory that we were looking for.
"It's very nice for us. We controlled all day, on the flat part and towards the finish. I did my best. Everyone needs good luck and a good day for winning."
Frenchman Alaphilippe of Deceuninck-Quick Step, who has worn yellow since his solo win on stage three to Epernay, crossed the line in 10th place to retain the overall lead.
Second place on the day for Van Aert sees Alaphilippe's cushion in yellow cut to 14 seconds, although Thursday's first mountain stage to La Planche des Belles Filles is likely to see a complete rewrite of the general classification.
The yellow jersey contenders, their eyes already firmly set on the challenges to come, all crossed the line safely in the pack to ensure there was no significant movement in the standings.
That leaves defending champion Geraint Thomas of Team Ineos in seventh place, 45 seconds off yellow and five seconds behind his team-mate and co-leader Egan Bernal in sixth.
And Thomas admitted that Thursday's stage favours his younger team-mate.
"It was nice to get a bit of climbing in the legs and build up for tomorrow," the Welshman said. "You can't really tell a lot from the last few days. We will find out a lot tomorrow. It will be interesting. There are a lot of climbs before the last one tomorrow. It will be a challenge.
"(The final climb) is hard. I did it just before (the Tour de) Suisse. That sort of climb favours the punchy, pure climbers, Egan for one. Then in other teams guys like (Adam) Yatesy, Ritchie (Porte), (Nairo) Quintana. It suits those guys."
Many had tipped a breakaway for success on Wednesday's stage, which included four categorised climbs, including the category two Trois-Epis and the category three Cinq Chateaux in the final 45km.
But the last of a four-man break, Toms Skujins, was caught on the final climb and a reduced bunch headed into Colmar to contest stage honours.
UAE Team Emirates' Rui Costa attempted an ambitious breakaway attempt at the last but was reeled in with two kilometres to go before Sagan delivered for his travelling army of Slovakian fans.
Tour de France: Stage-by-stage guide
July 11, Stage 6: Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles (160.5km)
Here we go then. The GC battle should come alive over seven categorised climbs, four of them category one, including the summit finish at La Planche des Belles Filles. Recent Tour history suggests whoever wears yellow here will wear it in Paris - see Bradley Wiggins in 2012, Vincenzo Nibali in 2014 and Chris Froome in 2017 - but the Champs-Elysees is long, long way away. This year sees a change at the summit, with an extra kilometre including 24 per cent gradients and gravel sections.
July 12, Stage 7: Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saone (230km)
After those exertions there is a recovery day of sorts with flat roads taking the race south west towards wine country. However, at 230km this is hardly a rest. Expect a long, slow day with every chance of a headwind harassing the peloton. Chalon-sur-Saone is where Britain's Brian Robinson won the second of his two Tour stages in 1959 - and by a margin of some 20 minutes. That will not happen this time though, with a sprint finish expected.
July 13, Stage 8: Macon to St Etienne (200km)
The Massif Central does not boast the beasts of the Alps or Pyrenees, but with seven categorised climbs the Tour's route designer Thierry Gouvenou has made sure this will be a draining day on the legs. A day with multiple possible attack points is designed to break the control of the big teams - read Team Ineos.
July 14, Stage 9: St Etienne to Briourde (170.5km)
A stage that finishes in Romain Bardet's home town is not really difficult enough for the great French hope to take victory, but how the locals would love to see the 28-year-old end Bastille Day in yellow with his family watching on. As for the stage, expect a big breakaway, full of Frenchmen, attack each other on the final climb which peaks 13 kilometres from the line.
July 15, Stage 10: Saint-Flour to Albi (217.5km)
The peloton must wait until Tuesday for their first rest day but as they climb on their bikes one more time, riders will be grateful most of the second half of this stage is essentially downhill. The sprint teams will hope for a straightforward day.
July 17, Stage 11: Albi to Toulouse (167km)
The last time a Tour stage finished in Toulouse, back in 2008, a young debutant by the name of Mark Cavendish took victory. After two tough years of illness, injury and misfortune the Manxman could certainly use a repeat 11 years on. With the mountains looming, it will be the sprinters' last chance for a while.
July 18, Stage 12: Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre (209.5km)
And so to the Pyrenees, though stage 12 is just a warm-up. Two category one climbs, the Peyresourde and the Hourquette d'Ancizan, provide the focus before a long descent into Bagneres-de-Bigorre where Ireland's Dan Martin took his first stage win in 2013.
July 19, Stage 13: Pau to Pau (27.2 time trial)
The only individual time trial of this year's Tour will be a test of strength over a rolling course, but also a test of the head. Go too deep and riders will surely be burned on the mountain tests to come over the weekend. The eventual winner of the Tour has finished in the top four of every long time trial since 2011 but this time they may prefer to save their legs.
July 20, Stage 14: Tarbes to Tourmalet Bareges (117.5km)
The first of the five HC climbs comes on stage 14 - a short, sharp 117.5km race to the summit of the storied Tourmalet. The highest surfaced climb in the Pyrenees has featured in the Tour 87 times but this will be only the second stage finish at the summit.
July 21, Stage 15: Limoux to Foix Prat d'Albis (185.5km)
The second summit finish in a row comes on a more traditional Pyrenean stage, which rolls over several testing climbs, sapping the legs and the minds. However, there is no tradition to the finish with the Prat d'Albis making its Tour debut.
July 23, Stage 16: Nimes to Nimes (177km)
After the second rest day comes a pretty flat stage, though with constant changes of direction on a loop starting and finishing in Nimes, the sprinters' plans could be disrupted if the Mistral wind blows.
July 24, Stage 17: Pont du Gard to Gap (200km)
And so towards the Alps, though stage 17 features none of the big passes on a day of gradual climbing up to Gap. This is the stage in the race where breaks are often allowed to stay clear as the battle for yellow rages behind, but this day has been made to be utterly unpredictable. A punchy final climb of the Col de la Sentinelle could be a springboard, while it's not inconceivable some of the sprinters survive in the main group.
July 25, Stage 18: Embrue to Valloire (208km)
There may only be five HC climbs in the entire Tour, but two of them come in a single day as the riders tackle the Izoard and the Galibier before dropping down to the finish in Valloire. The stage winner should come from whichever group first crests the Galibier - appearing for the 60th time as the Tour's most regular Alpine venue - and this could be a decisive day overall.
July 26, Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes (126.5km)
Stage 19 is a leg-sapping day designed to test the resolve of anyone planning a late move in the general classification. The Iseran - at 2,770m the high point of the Tour - comes in the middle of the stage and casts a long shadow before the shorter climb to Tignes offers an opportunity for attacks.
July 27, Stage 20: Albertville to Val Thorens (130km)
The last chance saloon for GC hopefuls does not look an inviting one. The final climb of the Tour is the 33.4km HC slog up to Val Thorens. If ever there was a Tour designed for a true climber, one with only a handful of time trial kilometres and four HC climbs in the last three days could be it.
July 28, Stage 21: Rambouillet to Paris Champs-Elysees (128km)
There are two big questions on the final day. Will the yellow jersey winner choose a few glasses of champagne or, as Geraint Thomas did last year, prefer a beer or two as they celebrate along the roads of the Parisian suburbs? And which sprinters will have survived the mountains in order to battle it out on the Champs-Elysees?