Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Stage 5 Preview 2013 Tour De France Profile and Picks

By the end of stage six of the Tour De France last year, Mark Cavendish had already won a stage, André Greipel had won two stages, and Peter Sagan had won three. So far this year, none of them has tasted victory yet.
Sagan has the green jersey, but he has not yet crossed a finish line first. Stage 5 to Marseilles tomorrow gives the Slovakian speedster—and the other fast men--another opportunity.

Stage 5 Profile

Stage 5 is another rolling route similar to stage 3, except for two main, possibly offsetting differences: its climbs are a little less demanding, and the stage is 83 kilometers longer (or 57% longer).  At over 228 kms, stage 5 is the second longest of the race.  However, there is so much undulation throughout the route that the fast men who want to force a bunch sprint will have to chase very hard to keep up with a determined breakaway.

The westerly stage 5 route to Marseilles

None of the four categorized climbs is above a cat-3, and that one, the first, at km22, is only 1.4k long. The other three are cat-4’s, none of which is steep enough to cause much damage. 228 kms is a long time for a break group to hold off the peloton, but a number of possible attack sites exist on the course, and a late break could potentially succeed.

After the last cat-4 there is an uncategorized climb that tops out about 12.5k from the finish. The descent of that hill may be a good place for a bold attack to get away. If a charging peloton are not too far behind any escapees in the last 20k or so, then whatever sprinters make that group will be likely to have their bunch sprint finish.

Weather could become a factor on Wednesday. The temperature is expected to be about the same, but I read a 40% chance of showers is expected for the start town of Cagnes-sur-Mer; although the finish in Marseilles only expects partly cloudy skies. If those rolling roads are wet they could cause some unfortunate crashes. Headwinds are also going to trouble escapees in the final few kilometers.

The lack of any “real” climbs leads me to think that the sprinters will force the bunch sprint in the end. A few may not be able to keep up, but I wouldn’t bet against any of the top names. I like Sagan again, and he’ll be gunning for a win after two consecutive second places on stages 2 and 3. But since I picked him on both of those stages, I will go with someone else.

Cavendish and Greipel are both reasonable picks, of course. Julien Simon of the wildcard Sojasun team and Daryl Impey of the on-fire Orica GreenEdge team have been looking very stage hungry, as have JJ Rojas (Movistar), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil), and Francesco Gavazzi (Astana). I would not be surprised if Lars Boom tries something on Wednesday, but I am going to pick Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen.

No comments:

Post a Comment