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Tour de France Stage 5 Preview

The first of two days in the Vosges mountain range, today’s course should see a good battle between what’s left of the bunch and a late breakaway.

Stage 4 Review: a breakaway, a bunch sprint and Elia Viviani. The Italian had the speed in the final metres and, crucially, the leadout too which gave him an unimpeded run to the line, something both Caleb Ewan and Dylan Groenewegen didn’t enjoy. Ewan’s train doesn’t look as strong while Groenewegen says he’s “not yet 100%”. Viviani’s could be leaving for Cofidis and the sprint wins probably won’t be as easy although it’s reported he’s taking Fabio Sabatini; while veteran lead out Max Richeze is also said to be leaving, this time for UAE Emirates too. Viviani’s a versatile rider with a track background and not the usual swagger of a sprinter, you won’t find incendiary quotes and even a sharp elbow under the flamme rouge seems rare.

The Route: 175km and no mountain stage but still over 2,200m of vertical gain, most of which comes late in the race. The climb to Haut-Kœnigsbourg is 5.9km at 5.9% and all on a steady wide road with engineered bends and scenic, expect big aerial shots of the spectacular castle at the top of the climb. It’s followed by a quick descent on a smaller road and then 20km to the next climb which mitigates the effect any any attack on the climb but it’ll start to sap the riders.

There’s Côte des Trois-Épis is 5km at 6.7% and new in the Tour but used locally for motorsport where cars drift round the hairpins but here it’s a main road and the descent is quick and despite the profile there is a small breather on the valley floor before the next climb. The last climb of the day is the Côte des Cinq Châteaux is the easiest in terms of stats with 4.1km at 6.1% but it’s on a smaller backroad and more like 7% and the descent doesn’t come until after 6.5km, then chased by a fast descent through woodland where visibility’s limited but once the descent is done there’s 14km to the finish through the vineyards, scenic but also easy for chasers to see a move up ahead.

The Finish: ah, Colmar, the scenic canals, the fairy tale Rhenish timber frame houses… no sorry, it’s a flat finish on the edge of town, presumably there’s no room for the race in the small streets so it’s out of town next to some warehouses and big boulevards.

The Contenders: there’s a chance the early breakaway sticks, over 100 riders are now at least five minutes down and have a bit of space today, think Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Magnus Cort (Astana) has broken his finger, or Simon Clarke (EF Education First) although he might be saving himself for Urán duty tomorrow and Alessandro de Marchi (CCC) is another specialist raider.

The most probable scenario is a sprint among a reduced group so Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Michael Matthews (Sunweb) are the obvious picks, but not strong ones as they’ll sweat to make the finish. Sagan can win, and if he doesn’t he’ll rack up points on a day when the pure sprinters should be out of the picture. Matthews might cope better with the climbs and have fresher legs for the finish. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) will be thinking of tomorrow’s summit finish at the Planche des Belles Filles but today can follow the moves and try to win the sprint. Sonny Colbrelli and Ivan Garcia Cortina could strike for Bahrain-Merida.

Among the others Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) could have his chance or is he working for Sagan and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) can be a force of nature on his day and Michael Valgren (Dimension Data) can win stages like this. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) had a great sprint in Epernay and didn’t seem fazed by the climbs but they were much shorter, today’s much harder, of the Flandriens, maybe Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) could be there and we’ll see if Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) can haul himself to Colmar.

Peter Sagan, Michael Matthews, Julian Alaphilippe
Schachmann, Lutsenko, van Aert, GVA, Colbrelli

Yellow story: Julian Alaphilippe is in yellow and it’s the first time a Frenchman’s worn the jersey since Tony Gallopin’s brief spell in 2014. If that sounds like a long time, it is because it marks the longest spell the French have had without the maillot jaune.

Weather: sunshine and 26°C.

TV: the stage starts at 1.15pm CEST and finish is forecast for 5.35pm CEST / Euro time. The Trois Epis climb begins around 4.45pm.

 

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Morten Reippuert Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 7:15 am

    Cort will be on Fuglsag duty and he broke his finger yesterday, so no breakaway for him.

  • StevhanTI Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 7:17 am

    What about Wellens? The best defence of his KOM-lead is the attack no?

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 8:18 am

      Maybe he’s better trying to go tomorrow for more points?

  • brent sword Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 8:25 am

    Breakaway day good chance.
    I think there is also some chance of lighter sprinters making it to the finish. Thinking ewan, vivani or a leadout guy for one of the teams.
    I think there is at least a chance the last hill will not be to hard. Very situational. The GC teams will not want to hard so who will is the question. If iuts only moderately hard than some of the sprinters may be close enough to come back to the front.

    • AK Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 8:34 am

      Bora and Sunweb will be pulling hard up the hills if Viviani, Kristoff, Ewan are still there. CCC will help them. Groenewegen is not going to contest this anyway so maybe Jumbo will join them for Van Aert. Plenty of firepower for ditching the sprinters.

      • brent sword Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 11:42 am

        Probably so, most likely it will be to hard although secondary sprinters like impey etc are a better chance. But sometimes all the teams look at the others and nobody wants to waste their own team. You may get a situation where a couple of riders break away and the peloton just strong tempo’s up the hill and some sprinters hang in there or catch up on the way down when the breakaways are caught.
        DQ may be feeling the pinch after pulling for 2 days in a row plus this stage so I would not be surprised if they do not light up the climb as a team but just go for a last hill break away. If they want to target the polka dot they may need to consider losing the yellow otherwise the first hill stage may be targeted by a rider from another team for the points.

    • jc Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 8:35 am

      It might be more a case of which of the teams is going to chase down a break. Clearly if some of the sprinters can manage the climbs then their teams will chase. More likely is a biggish break with the sprinters dropped, as long as no GC threats (unlikely) in the break then who is going to spend energy chasing? Better to get a contender for stage honours in the break, suspect the start will be fast and furious.

  • AK Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 8:40 am

    Very curious to see if a break sticks. Trentin is worth a chainring I think. He’s sprinting pretty well and can handle hills like these.

    • StevhanTI Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 9:13 am

      Trentin, good call indeed, he could take it both from the bunch or from the break. Which means he’s likely to go for a doomed solo-effort in the last 5km….

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 10:37 am

      Good pick. Hesitated between him and Impey as we and unable to chose between them left them out. If they make it to the finish so will Sagan or Matthews though.

  • JD Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 8:50 am

    Michael Valgren said he has targeted today’s stage and two others (stage 6 and 9). You can be sure he will be there ot thereabouts on these stages if he has the legs.

  • RQS Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 9:07 am

    Difficult to say if Groenewegen is suffering after his first day crash, but Teunissen didn’t look happy at the line. I’m not sure he ever got out of his saddle on the sprint yesterday. I was staggered by that.

    Kudos to Viviani. A nice thing for a nice guy. That’s probably the easiest he’s had it and he has the speed to win. It’ll be interesting if he and Groenewegen make it to Paris.

    Caleb Ewan seems to go out the back door faster than a naughty boy when the strap comes out when the peloton meets the hills. A tough day for him I think.

    Van Aert is my pick today.

    • Irungo txuletak Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 9:25 am

      I am again curious about wva for today, but I guess he is too close to the jersey to let him go in the break. And I don’t see him dropping JA à la pédale. With respect to a reduced group sprint, he is just one of the candidates along with JA (again), gva, trentin, valverde,…

    • Facespaz Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 8:53 pm

      Other than Viviani and Gaviria, do you know which of the current top sprinters came from track? Thx

  • noel Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 9:14 am

    Boasson-Hagen – version 2011… actually he won that stage in the Daupine recently didn’t he…

    come on EBH!

    • Mike B Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 12:09 pm

      Plus 1 for Eddie the (ex?) Boss 🙂

  • J Evans Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 9:58 am

    Looks to be a very interesting stage. As for the finish, one of the things I like about the Giro is that they fear challenging finishes less. They might add an element of danger, but they also add an element of skill and that usually makes things more interesting.

  • Kieran Degan Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 1:45 pm

    Nibali for the win and yellow jersey. You heard it here first.

    • Kieran Degan Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 1:48 pm

      Actually, just the win.

      • KevinR Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 2:07 pm

        Or maybe just a finish in the main peloton? 😀 I think all the usual suspects will be there – so yellow and green jerseys for sure. Unless a break is allowed to stay away.

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