The Tour Take | Romandie Stage 5
1st – Pascal Ackermann
2nd – Michael Morkov s.t.
3rd – Roberto Ferrari s.t.
A rolling stage, with three categorized climbs – all Category 3 ones, and the last coming with 100km to go. The longest of the climbs was 4km, and the steepest averaged 6%, but like this whole week, there were rolling roads for the majority of the stage.
Primoz Roglic takes the Overall Classification, beating Egan Bernal by 8 seconds and Richie Porte by 35.
Thomas De Gendt takes the Points and KOM Jerseys home with him, while Bernal won the Youth Classification. UAE Team Emirates won the Teams Classification
Michael Storer, Pavel Sivakov, Carlos Verona, Alexis Gougeard and Winner Anacona all jumped away after 10km and built up a maximum lead of 3 minutes. Surprisingly, Thomas De Gendt made no attempt to join the break; this stage was nailed on for a sprint finish, and he’d wrapped up the KOM jersey and had a big lead in the Points jersey that was unassailable unless Primoz Roglic turned into Mark Cavendish won the sprint finish. The break was caught with around 10km to go, at which point Will Clarke went on a short attack, but was pulled back easily.
The Winning Move
Ackermann’s Bora-Hansgrohe team timed their run perfectly, to deliver their sprinter to the line – Bahrain Merida blew this one big time though. Sky was riding on the front, keeping Bernal safe until one kilometre to go, when Gorka Izagirre began Cobrelli’s lead out. Having done the majority of pacemaking all day, their poor lead out saw them swamped as expected with 300m to go, as the road went around a right-hand corner. Cobrelli was boxed in, as Bora’s Selig led Ackermann around the outside giving him a clean run to the line.
The Suprise Packets
With QuickStep losing 4 of their riders (including their A and B sprint options) to the time cut on stage 3’s individual time trial, they wouldn’t have been expecting much out of this stage – enter Michael Morkov. In such a strong team, the Dane doesn’t get many opportunities to lead; this podium place was his first one since July last year.
Morkov’s record mirrors that of Roberto Ferrari, the enigmatic Italian sprinter who’s not nearly as fast as his name suggests. This was only his third podium in the last two seasons. He’s had little success since the 2012 Giro when he engaged in a high profile press war with Mark Cavendish - he’d inadvertently knocked over the Manxman over but hit back with a stage win a few days later.
33rd – Lucas Hamilton s.t. (28th on GC @ 6:04, 5th on Young Riders)
48th – Richie Porte s.t. (3rd on GC @ 0:35, 9th on KOM)
57th – Rohan Dennis s.t. (7th on GC @ 2:49, 8th on Points)
66th – Damien Howson s.t. (44th on GC @ 13:26)
71st – Brendan Canty s.t. (72nd on GC @ 31:56)
80th - Robert Power s.t. (32nd on GC @ 7:21, 6th on Young Riders)
87th – William Clarke s.t. (83rd on GC @ 41:35)
101st – Michael Storer @ 0:24 (77th on GC @ 38:19)
Of the top 3, this result has different meanings for each. For Porte, its confirmation his form is on the way up after a patch out of racing. For Bernal, it’s a coming out party, as he signals he’s going to be a name to watch in the years coming.
But for Roglic it’s a warning shot, and he’s also the most immediately intriguing of the three. Is he really a GC contender at the Grand Tours? Like with Tom Dumoulin’s first few GC results, everyone’s a bit hesitant to admit he’s a real contender. But Bernal couldn’t shake him on the queen stage, while he hardly lost any time on the mountain ITT – ignore him at your peril.
Of the other big names, Rohan Dennis looks good for the Giro – he showed some good form here with some Top 10 placings. A few other younger guys showed form; Pierre Latour is another of the young French riders full of promise – from 6 stages, he had five Top 10 results, and finished 8th overall; Emmanuel Buchmann was another young guy around the mark with 9th overall.
Steven Kruiswijk finished 6th while supporting Roglic; he will be racing Le Tour this year for the first time since 2015, and going to the Vuelta as well. He’s been the unluckiest man in cycling between his crash in the 2016 Giro whilst wearing the Maglia Rosa and his crash in last year’s Giro. He’s a top 10 rider at Le Tour if he’s healthy, and he looks like he’s going to go there healthy.
See you back at the social club,