The Tour Take | Tour de France Stage 5
1st – Peter Sagan (Bora - hansgrohe)
2nd – Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida)
3rd – Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors)
Stage 5 was littered with climbs on the 205km route from Lorient to Quimper. Though there were only five categorised ones (2x Cat 4, 3x Cat 3), it was a rolling route all day with just over 3000m of climbing. The finishing climb was a kilometre long at 5%, but the majority of the ascent came at the bottom, with a slightly flatter sprint at the top. It was a fairly Ardennsey stage, with winding, narrow, rolling roads all day long, but probably closer to an Amstel Gold-type route than a Liege-Bastogne-Liege one.
Yellow – Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team)
Polka Dot – Toms Skujins (Trek - Segafredo)
Green – Peter Sagan (Bora - hansgrohe)
White – Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb)
With a lumpy profile, a lasting breakaway wasn’t entirely impossible, while there were quite a few KOM points on offer too. The result was a battle to get into the break. After 10km, a seven-man break formed, with Sylvain Chavanel and Lillian Calmejane of Direct Energie, Toms Skujins of Trek-Segafredo, Nicolas Edet of Cofidis, Julien Vermote of Team Dimension Data, and Jasper De Buyst of Lotto Soudal.
Chavanel took the Intermediate Sprint, and then on the first of the 5 categorised climbs, he sprinted away from his breakaway companions. At this point, there was still 100km to go in the stage, and the only group had around a four-minute lead on the peloton; Chavanel was merely on a mission for the KOM points. He took the first three summits, before Calmejane, Skujins and Edet bridged back up to him with around 60km to go.
By 45km to go on the penultimate climb, Chavanel was dropped as Toms Skujins pushed the pace. Only Caljemane could follow, but he could prevent Skuijns taking the KOM points on the final two climbs, and therefore the KOM Jersey. The two were brought back just before the bonus second sprint with 12km to go
The bonus sprint was the beginning of the finale, and Alaphillipe jumped away to take 3, with GVA taking 2. That closed the gap in GC between them to 5 seconds and meaning that the Yellow Jersey could have changed hands at the end of the stage.
With a rolling final 10km and the race all back together, Rein Taaramae tried his luck. He attacked solo and quickly built up a 20-second lead while Sky controlled the pace behind. It was a reduced peloton though, with teams reluctant to commit numbers forward. Taaramae was brought back with a few km to go as Sky continued to control the pace into the final kilometre.
Gilbert attacked from the bottom, going for a long one, but he couldn’t find a gap as Van Avermaet, Alaphilippe and Sagan all waited patiently. GVA found himself on the front with 400 to go and was forced to open up the sprint early, but was soon passed by the ultra-strong Sagan, who was mashing a huge gear.
Colbrelli tried to come around the Slovak for the second time in this TDF, but just like Stage 2, he couldn’t. Sagan raised his arms, taking the tenth TDF win of his career and extending his lead in the Green Jersey competition.
18th - Richie Porte
61st - Damien Howson @ 1:01
102nd - Simon Clarke @ 2:32
104th - Luke Durbridge @ 2:32
112nd - Michael Hepburn @ 4:14
128th - Rory Sutherland @ 7:52
135th - Mat Hayman @ 7:52
140th - Heinrich Haussler @ 12:50
146th - Simon Gerrans @ 12:50
162nd - Mark Renshaw @ 20:56
DNS - Michael Matthews
The Movers and Shakers
There weren’t any GC favourites that lost time on Stage 5, with everyone finishing in the front. However, a few riders did lose more domestiques
Michael Matthews had to pull out at the beginning of the stage, as the sprinter had gastro – aside from losing a valuable man, Team Sunweb’s main concern would be that the illness didn’t spread. Midway through the stage, Tommy D was seen dropping back to the team car while looking a bit worse for wear. The suggestion was made that the bug might have gotten to him, so keep an eye on it.
Team Katusha’s awful Tour continued too after Zakarin crashed and lost 59 seconds yesterday. Today he lost a key mountains man, as Robert Kiserlovski crashed early in the stage and pulled out of the race.
The Next Stage
The lumpy stages continue, with a finish on the Mur de Bretagne. The stage starts in Brest, when they get to the Mur, they’ll do a finishing loop to sprint for the stage upon completing the second ascent. Lasting 2km at 7% with a kilometre-long section at 10%, it’s a good springboard climb. Earlier in the stage, the riders will climb two more climbs; another Category 4 and Category 3, and the Intermediate Sprint comes with.
This should be a cracker as we get another episode of our new Ardennes rivalry – Alaphilippe v Valverde. Valverde is the current king of puncheurs, however, that place is under severe threat, after the Frenchman won Fleche Wallonne and helped teammate Bob Jungles to an LBL win. I’ll back him to continue his rise here, as he’s just that little bit quicker and sprightlier than the ageing Valverde.
See you back at the social club,