Tour de France Tour de France 2022: Stage 5 (Lille Métropole – Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 157k)

The cobbles stage, for the first time since 2018. After the shortish route saw a somewhat underwhelming day of racing that year, ASO have responded with… another shortish route. The battle for the stage should be good regardless, but will the GC riders get sucked in this time?

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Today’s start is in Lille, France’s fourth-largest city by metropolitan area. Having developed in the Middle Ages around the textile industry, it has had quite the volatile history – French Wikipedia has pages for no less than eleven separate sieges. It went on to become a centre of the Industrial Revolution, with the textile remaining central, but the metal industry and the nearby mines also playing a key role. Like many such cities, Lille experienced a downturn as these industries declined in the second half of the 20th century, but it has recovered better than most by leveraging its newfound status as a TGV hub to develop its tertiary sector.

Pretty much the entirety of the stage is in Paris-Roubaix territory, but the first half of the race sticks to asphalt. We do have an intermediate sprint early on, in Mérignies – I doubt the sprinters’ teams will be interested in keeping the peloton together for that long though.




Midway through the stage, the first cobbles sector, Fressain à Villers-au-Tertre, is reached – this is the one that ASO decided to ride in the opposite direction a few weeks ago. We are south of the area that Paris-Roubaix usually traverses – indeed, of the first six cobbled sectors, I can only recall seeing sector 10 in a professional race (the 2018 Tour stage as well as Dunkerque - it's a false flat downhill but don't remember this causing issues in the past) before.

However, the finale starts where it always does in Arenberg stages, the north-to-south chain of three sectors between Erre and Sars-et-Rosières that features the toughest cobbles of the day. Unlike in previous variations of this stage, it’s raced south to north, putting these sectors a bit further from the finish. Even so, sector 3 ends at 17.8 kilometres from the line.

From here, the going gets a little easier, although there are still two sectors left to race. Sector 2 is comparatively unknown, only having been seen occasionally in Paris-Roubaix, and is completely straight. Just after it, the route turns south to head to the final sector, just like in 2014, it’s the iconic Pont-Gibus. This ends at 5.1 kilometres from the line.

2014 stage coverage - the stretch from Pont Gibus to the line should be identical to tomorrow's stage:

Final kilometres




Should be identical to the 2014 stage. As always, the finish is in front of the former mine in Arenberg, which is now used as the regional headquarters of Porte du Hainaut and a cinematography-themed attraction. Of course, it’s a well-known location in cycling, on account of it being the entrance to Trouée d’Arenberg.

Some bridges don’t need to be intact to be iconic.
 
MvdP has the freedom to attack, while the other cobblestone specialists are mostly in GC teams. Maybe he'll attack together with Pogacar again - but this time without surplace in the final km.
Wout: "That doesn't work for me, brother!"

Jokes aside, this is the stage where Ineos and Jumbo should try to put pressure on Pogacar. His team hasn't been up there on the flat stages, Trentin couldn't ride the Tour because of the Rona and Bjerg looked like he was totally done when he got dropped on the flat/rolling terrain. Put the hammer down and have your main cobbles guy around your gc riders.
 
Wout: "That doesn't work for me, brother!"

Jokes aside, this is the stage where Ineos and Jumbo should try to put pressure on Pogacar. His team hasn't been up there on the flat stages, Trentin couldn't ride the Tour because of the Rona and Bjerg looked like he was totally done when he got dropped on the flat/rolling terrain. Put the hammer down and have your main cobbles guy around your gc riders.
That would certainly make for an interesting stage, and hope that’s the case But I think the stage win will come from someone in a breakaway group of classics riders not involved in GC support (which might include MVDP, Sagan)
But I’m going to go with Kristoff for a career-capping win:)
 
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Also seeing that if there’s still a sizable peloton (with GC guys) together with 10 km to go, there will be a mad dash of trains trying to go first into the final pave’ sector that starts with 6.7 km to go. I hope that’s not the case ‘cause there could be carnage there.
 
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Thomas could be an interesting factor here, With his classics experience, he might fancy his chances of staying with a breakaway of cobbles specialists, rather than riding conservatively.

Am hoping that Arkea will try to animate the stage, and that Bardet doesn't lose too much time to his GC rivals.
 
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Thomas could be an interesting factor here, With his classics experience, he might fancy his chances of staying with a breakaway of cobbles specialists, rather than riding conservatively.

Am hoping that Arkea will try to animate the stage, and that Bardet doesn't lose too much time to his GC rivals.
Thomas could indeed show well here, but I don’t see other teams letting him infiltrate a break since he is a GC threat.
 
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One of the great days in Astana history. People forget how strong Westra was that day. Fuglsang should have won, still so annoyed with that annoying Boom guy. Why did Talansky stop riding so early?

For tomorrow Lutsenko, Moscon, Zeits and random dutchman for the win.
Any random old lady who rides these cobbles on a crappy bike regularly for the win! :D
 

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