Yesterday saw the first climbing action of the Tour de France with BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet taking the stage victory as well as the Yellow Jersey from Peter Sagan.
And today’s stage will follow in a similar pattern as in the early part of the stage there is more climbing which will certainly suit a breakaway; and then for the second-half of the stage, the sprinters will be eyeing up another potential bunch sprint.
It won’t be a stage that will see the GC contenders come out to play; but for the likes of Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, and now Fabio Aru, who has asserted himself as a front-runner for the Maillot Jaune as Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali are struggling at the wrong end of the classification.
Stage five recap
With the opening weekend consisting of flat, sprinter’s stages it was time for the climbers and stage specialist’s to come into play and flex their muscles; and yesterday’s stage was certainly not bereft of any excitement.
BMC and Astana initiated the breakaway in the early part of the race, with Avermaet, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Andriy Grivko (Astana) animating the race.
And then when the race entered ‘crunch time’ it was Avermaet who rode away from Grivko to solo home and claim the Yellow Jersey after Sagan had a tough day in the saddle.
Elsewhere, De Gendt took the Polka Dot jersey from Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), but for some of the GC contenders it was another bad day for Contador who continued to struggle with his injuries, and then in a surprise Nibali who won the Giro D'Italia earlier this summer also struggled on the stage losing time to his rivals.
Another tough day at the office
The Tour doesn’t get any easier; today they face three categorised climbs in the early part of the stage before it flattens out.
The main obstacles for the riders today are the Col des Estaques (2km, 6%), Cote du Aubin (1.3km, 5.4%), and the Cote de Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val (3.2km, 5.1%) so we should definitely see a breakaway form today, as well as more precious King of the Mountains points up for grabs.
There is also a solitary sprint at Montbazens which Sagan and co will be keeping an eye out for.
But in terms of who could potentially win the stage, it is anyone’s guess – if a breakaway manages to stay away then it will come from them – but if the peloton and in particular the sprint teams decide they want a bunch sprint look out for the usual suspects.