It has certainly been a sprinter’s domain so far this Tour de France, all the four victories have come from sprinters.
But today will see the first meaningful climbs of the Tour as the riders will have to brace themselves for a potentially explosive day in the saddle.
The sprinters have certainly monopolised the Tour so far, Mark Cavendish has taken two stage victories, and in the process equalled Bernard Hinault’s record of 28 Le Tour stages; and the other two victories have gone to Peter Sagan, who is currently the Maillot Jaune holder and Marcel Kittel who won the longest stage of the Tour yesterday.
But the trek from Limoges to Le Lioran today will certainly not be a stroll as we saw in the previous two stages; the pace was certainly slow for the Tour, as it looked like the peloton was saving itself for days like today.
It’s hard to predict what we might see today; the climbs are not Alpe d’Huez-esque or Mont Ventoux-esque, but they will be punishing and whether we will see the GC contenders come out to play is another thing.
Five categorised climbs might entice the breakaway this afternoon
If yesterday’s stage was long, and at some point laborious, don’t expect stage five to be; the route is suited to a breakaway, and with five categorised climbs to whet the appetite, this stage might certainly be one of the explosive yet.
We haven’t seen much of Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana or Vincenzo Nibali so far this Tour; but today we could possibly see one of them lay down a marker and get a early physiological victory over one of their rivals – but even though the climbs will suit them, it might be just a little early for the GC players to show their strength.
But with climbs such as the Cote du Puy Saint-Mary (6.8km, 3.9%), Col de Neronne (7.1km, 3%), Pas de Peyrol (5.4km, 8.1%), Col du Perthus (4.4km, 7.9%), and the Col de Font de Cere (3.3km, 5.8%) lining today’s route the spectators will see plenty of action.
But the big question of who will triumph is impossible to call; it could be an unknown who is there near the end; and with some of the bigger teams yet to be represented in the break we might see the likes of Team Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo, Etixx-Quickstep send somebody up the road to try and eek out a stage win on what looks to be a really tough stage.
But whatever happens the excitement level should be a high as ever, as the Tour is now firmly underway.