Dutch rider Boy Van Poppel of Rabobank got the best of the charging peloton around him, powering ahead of them to cross the finish line first and win Stage Five of the 2008 Tour of Missouri his first in the U.S. The 20-year old Dutch cyclocross champion's well-timed effort netted him the slight edge over teammate Michael Van Stayen for his first win in the United States. Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast) rounded out the top three.

Rabobank teammates Boy Van Poppel and Michael Van Stayen get the 1-2 spots

"I was in fifth place and there was someone coming from behind. He attacked and took a few meters. I was thinking I had to go now. It may be too early but that's better than too late," said Van Poppel. "I was waiting for the guys behind to come to my left but no one came and I was going 'yes, I'm going to win."

Today's race had no effect on the General Classification Standings with Christian Vande Velde (USA) of Team Garmin-Chipotle, who finished 19th today, retaining the Missouri Tourism Leader's jersey going into Stage Six. Vande Velde has an 18-second lead over Michael Rogers (AUS) of Team Columbia. Svein Tuft (CAN) of Symmetrics remains in third place with 2007 Tour of Missouri winner George Hincapie (USA) of Team Columbia holding on to the fourth spot in the G.C.

Columbia's Mark Cavendish crosses the line first at the second intermediate sprint with no competition from his breakmates

St. James, a popular destination for Missouri's wine enthusiasts, was the starting point for Stage Five's action. As marching bands played and fans cheered along the race course, a sluggish peloton let a 12-man breakaway group hold a three-minute gap for most of the day. Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish, winner of Stage One and Two, was a part of the break and crossed both Edward Jones Sprint Lines first, moving him to the top of the sprint classification.

Peloton speeds by in front of the Capitol

As the breakaway group approached Jefferson City, they were overpowered by the peloton leaving Darren Lill of BMC and David Veilleux of Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast out in front with the pack hard on their heels. In the final circuits, Team Garmin-Chipotle and Team Columbia went to the front to try and control the race for the 300-meter uphill final. Despite their efforts, attacks off the front were fast and furious with Van Poppel perfectly positioned for the victory.

The jersey-wearers remain mostly unchanged with Dominique Rollin of Toyota-United remaining as the Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain points leader. Roman Kreuziger of Liquigas will continue to wear the THF Realty Best Young Rider jersey. Cavendish will wear the Edward Jones Sprint jersey tomorrow and Veilleux was awarded the Drury Hotels Most Aggressive Rider Jersey for Stage Five for his efforts in the break.

Jerseys after stage 5 (l-r): KOM Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United), Most Aggressive Rider David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit/Medifast), yellow jersey Christian Vande Velde, Columbia's Mark Cavendish back in the green sprint jersey, Roman Kreuzinger (Liquigas) is the Best Young Rider

Stage Six of the 2008 Tour of Missouri will start in the town of Hermann, Mo. at 12:30 p.m. Riders will launch from Hermann's Old World-Style town square area into a rugged 96.7mi. (155.6 km) course with Michelob Ultra KOM lines in Augusta, Mo., and on Scheulrsburg and Old Colony roads. The last two KOM's are challenging 1.2 km climbs. Sprinters will have opportunities to win Edward Jones Sprint points and, potentially, the Stage win with Edward Jones Sprint Lines in the towns of New Haven, Washington, and O'Fallon and a one kilometer flat run to the finish line along the Missouri River in historic St. Charles.

All photos copyright Lyne Lamoureux