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TdF '17 - stage 5: Vittel>La Planche des Belles Filles 160km

Who will win the stage?

  • Chris Froome

    Votes: 30 18.8%
  • Richie Porte

    Votes: 51 31.9%
  • Nairo Quintana

    Votes: 9 5.6%
  • Alberto Contador

    Votes: 14 8.8%
  • Fabio Aru

    Votes: 16 10.0%
  • Jakob Fuglsang

    Votes: 5 3.1%
  • Dan Martin

    Votes: 12 7.5%
  • Romain Bardet

    Votes: 3 1.9%
  • None of the above

    Votes: 12 7.5%
  • Vino-option

    Votes: 8 5.0%

  • Total voters
    160
  • Poll closed .
Let's start with the boss' thoughts about the stage:

It only took two stage finishes there for La Planche des Belles Filles to add its name to the history of the Tour. The climb is rather short however it's extremely demanding, especially on the final part. The gradients indeed reach 20%. It'll be a first explanation between the favourites.

Thank you, monsieur Prudhomme. Now have a look at the...

...profile:

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After this dramatic stage, hopefully with no serious injures, tomorrow's stage ends at La Planche des Belles Filles – short and steep, that’s sweet! The legend holds, that in the Thirty Years War young women from the nearby village Plancher-les-Mines fled into the mountains from Swedish mercenaries, fearing rape and being slaughtered. So, they commited suicide by jumping off the mountain instead of surrendering to the horrible fate that the mercenaries embodied. One of the soldiers took a board and wrote about the girls, immortalizing their story. Currently, a statue is symbolizing this legend:

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Back to the future, more accurately, 2012. This was the first time La Planche des Belles Filles was used in the Tour de France. It was also the first time the SKY train™ went in action for their captain at the time, Bradley Wiggins. That didn’t hinder a new Tour star to be born, and take the stage win: Chris Froome.

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Later on the 2012 Tour, Wiggins showed weakness on the climbs, barely hanging on to Chris Froome, who at this moment has won 3 Tours, and going for a 4th victory.

The climb featured again in 2014, where a battle royale was expected before the race between the defending Tour champion Chris Froome, a reborn Contador and the ever-attacking and the rider with strength in all areas, Vincenzo Nibali. Unfortunately Chris Froome crashed out on the wet cobbles days before.

With a stellar ride on the cobbles by Nibali and Fuglsang, Nibali had an advantage of 2½ minutes to Contador on the dawn of the day, and to this day, some still discuss whether Contador, who dropped Nibali with 3 seconds on La Mauselaine with ease in addition to his sparkling spring form (especially Tirreno, Pais Vasco/Basque Country) was a sign of things to come, or if Nibali would prove too strong for him, and this argument can be backed by his fantastic ride on the cobbles, and his utter destruction of competition in the rest of the race, winning first at La Planche des Billes Filles...

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...with Thibaut Pinot as a distant 2nd and later winning on top of Chamrousse and Hautacam, cementing a what would become an impregnable 7’37’’ minute lead to Jean-Christophe Peraud on 2nd spot and 8’15’’ to Pinot on 3rd.

This year however, the men to watch are of course Nairo Quintana, coming from the Giro; Richie Porte, who seems stronger than ever. Chris Froome, defending Tour champion, who has good memories from the climb. Will the Dawg go nuclear? Romain Bardet, the GC hope of the French this year, the ever-underrated Dan Martin, the Italian champion Fabio Aru, his team mate the flying Dane Jakob Fuglsang and the old fox Alberto Contador. That is just mentioning the most prominent names from the top of my head. The possible victors are many, but only one will stand victorious at the top of...

La Planche des Belles Filles:

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...which will show to all of us, including the riders, who haven't got the strength to win the Tour this year. But even though tomorrow will tell us a lot, the next weeks will show even more! ;) So do not despair yet, if we witness a crushing victory...

Weather forecast:

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Top 10 general classification after stage 4:

1. Geraint THOMAS 14h54m25secs.
2. Peter SAGAN + 7''
3. Chris FROOME + 12''
4. Michael MATTHEWS st.
5. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN + 16''
6. Pierre LATOUR + 25''
7. Philippe GILBERT + 30''
8.Michal KWIATKOWSKI + 32''
9. Tim WELLENS st.
10. Arnaud DEMARE + 33''

Points jersey classification top 5 [*][**]
1. Arnaud DEMARE 124
2. Marcel KITTEL 81
3. Michael MATTHEWS 66
4. André GREIPEL 63
5. Alexander KRISTOFF 43

[*] = Peter Sagan, was deducted 80 points because of the crash at the end. Therefore he loses the 2nd spot he previously occupied with 95 points.
[**] = Peter Sagan has been disqualified from the Tour de France

Please, feel free to contribute!
 
I have 3 favorites for tomorrow, and neither of them is Froome. I think Quintana and Porte will be the strongest, with Quintana beating him in the finale. And if the race is more conservative, and the favorites are still together in last km, then my vote goes to Danny Boy.
 
Train drops everybody bar a small number of GC contenders, namely Froome, Thomas and Landa. Froome will attack Thomas on the last flat part and takes the yellow jersey. Landa comes third smilling. Aru sprints for fourth place with Quintana, 15 sec down, Contador a few seconds later. Richie has a mechanical just when the climb starts but limits his loses to 30 sec.
 

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