The 2022 Tour de France has been a relative breeze for most of the riders so far, bar a couple of minor crashes towards the end of the sprint stages. There’s been Geraint Thomas’s unwanted gilet and Jasper Philipsen’s mistaken celebration, but most of the tribulations have been minor compared to what may be in store on stage 5, as the platoon takes on 11 cobblestone sectors which tend to bring no shortage of drama.
The route is a 157km ride from Lille to Arenberg Port du Hainaut in the north of France. An intermediate sprint early in the piece should bring the sprinters to the fore as they chase points for the green jersey, before the cobbles – or pave – begin. The same cobblestones which cause such chaos in Paris-Roubaix (dubbed ‘Hell of the North’ for good reason) could well claim abandonments as the riders travel through narrow uneven tracks at high speed. Most of the sectors are around 1.3km long and take around 2 minutes to complete, and the main overall contenders will make it their mission to avoid trouble.
Mathieu van der Poel is the bookies’ favorite today and with good reason, having twice won the cobbled Tour of Flanders. The man in the yellow jersey, Wout van Aert, won sensationally on stage 4 in Calais and will be a contender again here having won cobbled classics like Gent-Wevelgem, while Dylan van Baarle (Ineos), Mads Pedersen (Trek–Segafredo), Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) and Kasper Asgreen (Quick-Step) all have cobble wins on their palmares.
Follow all the action live below.
Tadej Pogacar: The invisible champion out to win historic third Tour de France
Here’s an interview with that man Pogacar before the Tour:
In Monaco, Tadej Pogacar blends into the city. He walks invisibly through the streets and potters freely around his local supermarket. Even in his favorite bike shop, the best cyclist in the world queues among the Muggles without being disturbed. “I like to go inside and see what’s new, and of course I don’t mind if there’s customers in front of me, it’s normal,” he says.
By all measures a double Tour de France champion should be one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet, a bonafide global superstar unable to walk through a hotel lobby without dark glasses and an entourage, but somehow Pogacar has not yet transcended the sport. One suspects if he was from cycling’s European heartlands or the US with a name that rolled off the tongue, his profile might be a little different. His “TP” brand with an eagle motif and a “never give up” tagline is yet to take off quite like Roger Federer or Tiger Woods.
But understated and low-key is how Pogacar approaches life and cycling, just riding for the joy of it, an ethos which has brought rich rewards so far. After winning back-to-back Tours de France, an historic third next month would set him firmly on course to becoming one of cycling’s all-time greats, and what makes it all possible is just how little he is driven by his own sporting legacy . “For me that’s not something that I would enjoy after [my career] too much and brag about it. I work hard to win a lot of races, but for me the priority is just to be a good friend to my friends and have good relations with the people I want in my life.”
Lawrence Ostlere6 July 2022 12:35
Jumbo-Visma tactics could shape entire Tour de France
An interesting sub-plot to these early stages is the tactics of Jumbo-Visma. The Dutch team are the main challengers to UAE Emirates leader Tadej Pogacar and his quest to win his third Tour de France in a row, and they possess the duel threat of Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard, the two riders who finished second to Pogacar over the past two Tours. But another Jumbo-Visma rider Wout van Aert is doing a brilliant job in these early stages, having finished second on the first three days in Denmark before winning spectacularly in Calais yesterday, and currently holds the yellow jersey.
If Van Aert was to win today he would pick up yet more time bonuses and extend his advantage at the top of the standings, and if his form was continue to the end of the week, then at what point would Jumbo-Visma decide to shift their focus? Could his lead from him become strong enough that it is worth protecting in itself, rather than risk switching emphasis to Roglic and Vingegaard? They may be the more natural climbers when the road steepens in the Alps and the Pyrenees later in the Tour, but do n’t forget that Van Aert has a stage win on his CV up Mont Ventoux – he is no slouch in the mountains.
If Pogacar is to be defeated by Jumbo-Visma, their team tactics will need to be inch perfect. Van Aert’s odds for overall victory have shrunk considerably over the past few days – he is now around 25/1 and sixth favourite, which might ordinarily be a good thing. But Jumbo-Visma now have three of those six riders, and it could provide a difficult balancing act.
Lawrence Ostlere6 July 2022 12:28
Tour de France stage-by-stage guide
And here’s a look at our stage-by-stage guide to see what’s coming up. Some hilly stages, very little for the sprinters, before some serious mountain tests where you will start to see the fight for the yellow jersey unfold.
Lawrence Ostlere6 July 2022 12:22
tour de france jerseys
If you’re new to the Tour de France, here’s a look at the different colored jerseys and what they represent:
Lawrence Ostlere6 July 2022 12:20
Stage 5 profile
The day’s profile is a little hilly in places – there are some uphill cobbled sections which drain the legs – but overall it is the terrain rather than the relief which will shape the day.
Lawrence Ostlere6 July 2022 12:09
Stage 5 route map
Today’s route map shows how the peloton will head south from Lille, through an intermediate sprint point, before reaching the cobbles and winding east towards the finish. The key here on the right shows the difficulties of each section of pave – the most challenging parts come in the first half of the 11 sectors.
Lawrence Ostlere6 July 2022 12:01
Stage 5 start time
The stage is scheduled to begin at around 1pm BST and should finish around 4:30m BST.
How to watch on TV and online
Tour de France coverage can be found this year on ITV4, Eurosport, Discovery+ and GCN+ (Global Cycling Network).
Live racing each day will be shown on ITV4 before highlights typically at 7pm each day. ITV’s website lists timings here.
Eurosport and GCN+ will show every minute of every stage. More on Eurosport’s coverage here and the GCN+ coverage here.
It is also being shown on Eurosport’s Discovery+ streaming service, with broadcast info here.
Lawrence Ostlere6 July 2022 12:01
Stage 4 recap
Jasper Philipsen: “I thought I had won but then I saw Van Aert in front and I never knew he was in front, so yeah. I felt good but at the moment I’m just a bit disappointed. On the climb I never saw him riding in front, it’s a disappointment for sure.”
He added: “For four or five seconds I honestly thought I won, it will make funny images in the end. I didn’t want this though so it’s a bit s**t also. I just didn’t know he [Van Aert] was in front. I also never heard on the radio so yeah that’s a shame and why I sprinted for the win.”
Lawrence Ostlere6 July 2022 11:52
Stage 4 recap
Not everyone realized Van Aert had got away, mind you. Jasper Philipsen clearly missed the moment his fellow Belgian scampered up the road, because when the Belgian sprinter crossed the line in second place he celebrated with a roar and a beat of his chest, thinking he’d clinched the first Tour de France stage of his career.
Lawrence Ostlere6 July 2022 11:45
Stage 4 recap
A reminder of what happened yesterday, as Wout van Aert surged away in the yellow jersey on the final climb of the day, and no one could live with him:
Lawrence Ostlere6 July 2022 11:42