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Two cobbled sectors removed from Tour stage due to rain

YPRES Belgium (Reuters) - Two of the nine cobbled sectors on the fifth stage of the Tour de France were removed from the course on Wednesday due to rain, organizers said.

They identified sector five, a 1.4 km stretch from Orchies to Beuvry-la-Foret, and sector seven, a km of cobbles at Mons-en-Pevele, as those removed.

"It takes the total of cobbled sections down to 13 km," the statement added.

Italian Vincenzo Nibali leads the race with a two-second lead over the other main contenders.

Several riders and team managers had warned that because of rain making the cobbles slippery, the stage could be thrown into chaos. Rain has been forecast for the day along the 152.5-km stretch from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Tony Goodson)