Stage five of this year’s Tour de France took the peloton over a straightforward 196 kilometres from Rouen to Saint-Quentin in Northern France.
A four man break animated the majority of the day’s ride but the relatively flat terrain was ideal chasing ground for the peloton.
For the second consecutive day the finale was marred by a large crash less than 3km from the finish, with the most high profile victim being points leader Peter Sagan of Slovakia.
The race to the line continued though and with 1 kilometre left Belgian Cofidis rider Jan Ghyselinck, who was part of the escape group, broke for the win.
But the sprinters from the main bunch had him already in their sights and with 100 metres to the line his hopes of victory were over.
Instead it was Andre Greipel who sprinted to top honours swooping home for his second straight stage win.
The German made his move very late to deny Australian Orica rider Matthew Goss and Spain’s Juan Jose Haedo of the Saxo Bank team.
Britain’s World champion Mark Cavendish of Team Sky had to settle for fifth place.
Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara retained the leaders yellow jersey he has held since the prologue last Saturday.
He is seven seconds clear of British title hope Bradley Wiggens of Sky and French time trial champion Sylvain Chavanel of the Omega Pharma team.