Where in the world is the Tour?
After three days of intense Classics-style stages, today’s 189.5-kilometre flat route from Arras to Amiens will seem like the proverbial stroll in the park. That is until the wind starts howling from the north or the east over this pan-flat parcours.
The route travels from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region to the Somme, where some of the most intense fighting of the First World War took place. Riders will cycle straight across the notorious first day of the Somme battlefield.
A rather sombre but speedy peloton will cycle past the impressive Theipval Memorial, which remembers the 72,195 missing British and South African soldiers who were lost in the battle of the Somme.
Team bus tactics:
Whereas many riders will welcome this as an ‘easy day’ compared to what has come before, that certainly will not be the case for those from the wildcard teams. Riders from Bora Argon 18, Bretagne Séché Environnement, Cofidis, MTN Qhubeka and Europcar will look to get in an early break that will hope to hold onto a lead of around five minutes to the last 40 or 30 kilometres of the stage.
This stage is really for the sprinters though, coming as the first of three likely sprint finishes, the peloton’s fast men will look to get on an early roll that could see them hold onto the Green Jersey for much of the rest of the Tour, if not all the way to Paris. The Green Jersey likely won’t be won over these three stages but it could be lost.
It has been rather strange not to see the Gorilla in his custom German National Champion’s regalia but the 32 year-old German, André Greipel will be looking to take an imposing hold of the Green Jersey as a replacement.
We really could have picked a sprinter’s name out of a hat for this stage as the fast and flat run in to the finish sets up perfectly for a well-drilled lead-out team, but Greipel has had an impressive start to the Tour with the win on Stage 2 and the intermediate sprint first place on the crash-strewn stage three.
Let us know who you think will be victorious in Stage 5 in the comments section below.
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