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Stage 5, 2016 Tour de France
Date: Wednesday, July 6
Start: Limoges. Starts here have made way to memorable stages. In 1952, Fausto Coppi completed at the Puy de Dôme a grand slam on first altitude finishes on the Tour after his victories at l’Alpe-d’Huez and Sestrières. In 1970, it was on a prologue in Limoges that Eddy Merckx started an impressive series: 8 stage wins, 18 days in yellow! In 2004, the solo effort of Richard Virenque all the way to Saint-Flour allowed him to capture the polka-dot jersey that he would eventually conquer for the seventh time.
Finish: Le Lioran
Distance: 216km (134mi)
Elevation Gain: 3450m (11318ft)
Weather forecast: Plenty of sunshine throughout the stage. Seasonal temperatures around 26°C in the valleys and 20°C at the top of mountain passes. Light northwesterly wind.
Tour de France (2.UWT) Saumur → Limoges
Comment from race director, Christian Prudhomme:“Before the serious business starts, the climbers will be able to seek inspiration in the conquering spirit of Raymond Poulidor while going through Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat. They will then have to show themselves in the series of climbs on the menu with the Pas de Peyrol and the Col du Perthus, followed by the climb heading to Le Lioran. A battle between descenders is to be expected in the final moments.”
Richie Porte (BMC Racing): “I’m looking forward to getting to the climbs tomorrow. We have done the recon on tomorrow’s stage and there are a couple of nasty climbs in there. But also the run in is a nasty, technical downhill so that could play a part in it too. There’s a bit of a kick to the finish so for sure the last 40 kilometers are really going to trim the field a little bit. Which is a good thing, it won’t be so hectic as it has been.”
Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing): “I’m really excited to head to the hills and get the GC sorted out a bit more. I think it will be a little less nervous and we’ll get a sense of who’s going well and who’s not. Richie and I did the recon [of stage 5] together and it’s a tricky stage. It’s not going to be as hard as the Pyrenees but it will shake things up. You’re not going to see Sagan and Cavendish up there.”
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff): “I don’t know how it will play. I need to study the route and see who can be a threat for the jersey.”
Chris Froome (Team Sky): “[Stage 5] will be similar to Stage 2 but harder, more selective. There will probably be a few tired legs out there — even though these days have been relatively easy, they’ve still been 250km stages. I think it’s a bit too early to see a real GC battle but it’s definitely somewhere where there will be time gaps. It won’t be a bunch sprint. Maybe it’s a stage for someone like [Julian] Alaphilippe, [Alejandro] Valverde, or Dan Martin.”
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “A complicated finale is forecast for [Wednesday], when it comes to terrain; one might say it’s dangerous, but I consider the stages we just left behind more problematic for me than Wednesday’s. We’re in perfect position at the moment, and it’s logical to think we could get even closer to yellow tomorrow, even lead the race myself, but I make this clear yet another time today: We came here to support Nairo [Quintana]. Should the opportunity arise, we won’t avoid it, but our sights are clear.”
Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale): “Everybody is looking forward to the fifth Ssage. It’s Auvergne. My region. Very close from my grandmother’s home. I know all these roads very well. There are short but tricky climbs. It’s an appetizer before the Alps or Pyrenees. Nobody wants to lose time, but I don’t think that the favourites will attack.”