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Tour de France Stage 5 Preview
CHANGÉ–LAVAL TIME TRIAL
Wednesday, June 30
Moving day at the Tour
In major golf tournaments, the third of the four rounds is dubbed “moving day” when those who have lost ground on the opening days get a chance to move up to a challenging role for the final victory. That’s what is on tap for stage 5 of the Tour de France: an individual time trial that will give a chance for GC riders such as Primož Roglič, Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte to regain some time lost in crashes, while better-placed contenders like Rigoberto Urán, Wilco Kelderman and Julian Alaphilippe will be seeking to add to their advantage.
There’s a little bit of everything in this 27.2-kilometer time trial that’s being held on a clockwise loop that has three significant hills, some false flats, long straight stretches and a finale that features a dozen sharp turns in the finish town of Laval, including a long uphill to the finish. It’s quite unusual to have such a lengthy time trial early in the race—so it is a key stage in this Tour’s opening week. Time trials traditionally show any weaknesses in a contender’s form, especially one such as this, which favors riders with great power numbers. It should best suit GC favorites Thomas and Roglič (despite the injuries they sustained on stage 3), while Swiss specialists Stefan Bissegger and Stefan Küng should challenge for the stage win. With the yellow jersey on the shoulders of Mathieu van der Poel, the Dutch phenomenon could well be challenged for the race leadership by Alaphilippe and Wout Van Aert.
At the Espace Mayenne in Laval after a flat 100m straight on a 16.4 feet wide roadway.
SCHEDULE (all times EDT)
Start on Rue Charles-de-Gaulle in Changé (0km): first rider, 6:15 a.m., last rider, 10:50 a.m.; Saint-Jean-sur-Mayenne (time split, 8.8km, 18.4km to go), first rider, 6:25 a.m. last rider, 11 a.m.; Bonchamp-les-Laval (time split, 17.2km, 10km to go), first rider, 6:35 a.m., last rider, 11:10 a.m.; Laval finish (27.2km), first rider 6:47 a.m., last rider 11:22 a.m.
Analysis by Thierry Gouvenou and John Wilcockson.