Tour de France 2022 : Stage 5 – Clarke conquers chaotic cobbles; others, not so much

We knew it would be a rip-roarer of a stage but who predicted that Stage 5 of this year’s Tour de France would see Jumbo-Visma have a shit day of #unluck; Tadej Pogacar ride the cobbles like they were smooth asphalt; EF’s two riders in the break practically ridden down by their own teammate; that Primoz Roglic‘s Tour nemesis would come in the form of a stray haybale; or that the stage would be decided in a photofinish between Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty) and Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech)? And yet for all that, none of the jerseys changed hands. There was nothing straightforward about today’s stage and there will be nothing straightforward about this write up. Just hang on tight and see how dirty we get by the end.

Shit day of #unluck

You would be forgiven thinking that after Jumbo’s display of fireworks yesterday and the always astonishing power of Wout van Aert, Jumbo would be in the cat-bird’s seat for the Roubaix run of cobbles today. And Jumbo probably thought so too. But things were not right from the start for the Dutch team. With just under 60km ridden in the 157km stage, van Aert crashed with teammate Steven Kruijswijk, causing a frantic chase back to the peloton – and that was before the cobbles were in sight!

Van Aert caught back (not before having a brush with the DSM teamcar), but didn’t get anywhere near the front (by choice, it seems), leaving Christophe Laporte to shepherd Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard across the cobbles.

Disaster struck Vingegaard coming up to Sector 6 of cobbles, who needed a bike change. Panic ensued, he jumped on Nathan Van Hooydonck‘s bike, except NVH’s legs are about 5feet longer than Vingegaard’s. More panic, as he swaps with Kruijswijik. Then up speeds the team car and suddenly there were four Jumbo riders all at different points in the road, hoping to pick up a bike that fit them.

Wout gets called back to help Vingegaard, who by this point is about a minute down on the Pogacar group (ie front of the peloton), where Roglic was riding with Laporte. So far so good, getting over the cobbles okay, only 30km to go, luck seemed to be holding out … Until … a stray haybale on a roundabout and down Roglic goes.

The van Aert/Vingegaard group (which picked up QuickStep riders and most of Ineos along the way) rode past Roglic – possibly while he was fixing his own dislocated shoulder – and the GC leadership in that team slimmed down to one named Jonas. But it was van Aert who rode hard for, like, ever, trying to minimise the damage to Vingegaard of a rampant Pogacar up front. By the time they crossed the finish line, Vingegaard lost only 13sec to Pogacar, when he was at least a minute down for much of the chase back. Van Aert also did enough to keep himself in yellow for another. Roglic, on the other hand, lost over 2min …

Tufts of Power™

Tadej Pogacar had fewer tufts showing through his helmet today than in the last few days, but I think that was a bluff. The way he rode those cobbles, the way he kept the pressure up almost singlehandedly (except for his superdomestique from EF, Alberto Bettiol) and kept splitting the peloton on every cobbled section, the way he took off with Trek’s Jasper Stuyven in pursuit of the break and a stage win … tufts of power should have been coming out of every vent in his helmet! Is this the top spot in Paris wrapped up now?

Hey, Bettiol … WTF?

You have two teammates in the break – Magnus Cort and Neilson Powless. The break looked strong, they had minutes in hand, they were working together, they had every chance of going the distance while the cobbles made fools of many riders behind. So why, oh why, did Alberto Bettiol take to the front of the peloton and ride harder than a hard thing from Hard Town? With Pogacar on his wheel. Not once but TWICE (maybe three times…).


The sprint finish

The break of the day consisted of Magnus Cort and Neilson Powless, unloved teammates of Bettiol, obvs; Wanty’s Taco van der Hoorn; Israel’s Simon Clarke; and blast from the past Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies). No mechanicals, no crashes, just riding well together to keep the chaos behind at bay. When the gap between them and the power pair of Pogacar and Stuyven started tumbling, they got a grip and started riding even harder, lengthening the gap and keeping it there. Cort unfortunately got dropped when the pace started to go up in the final few kilometres (but took Most Aggressive Rider of the day), and it was his teammate Powless who made the first decisive move for the win under the flamme rouge.

But he didn’t get very far. Van der Hoorn was right on him and blew past him with Clarke on his wheel. The Wanty rider looked like he was going to take the stage until the very last second when, in a photofinish, it was decided on the bike throw, and Clarke took one of the most prestigious stages of this year’s Tour.

The emotions came pouring out

And Taco’s disappointment

And here is your highlights reel

The last word

Final results

Stage 5 results

1 Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) 3:13:35

2 Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wouty-Goubert) same time

3 Edvald Boasson-Hagen (TotalEnergies) +0:02

4 Neilson Powless (EF Education-Easy Post) +0:04

5 Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easy Post) +0:30

GC top 10 

1 Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) 16:17:22

2 Neilson Powless (EF Education-Easy Post) +0:13

3 Edvald Boasson-Hagen (TotalEnergies) +0:14

4 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:19

5 Yves Lampaert (QuickStep Alpha Vinyl) +0:25

6 Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) +0:36

7 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma) +0:40

8 Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers ) +0:48

9 Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:49

10 Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:50

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey : Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma)

Points jersey : Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma)

King of the Mountains: Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easy Post)

Best young rider: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

Team : Ineos Grenadiers 

For full stage reviews, go to cyclingnews

Official Tour de France website is here

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