Departure place Salon-de-Provence hosted last year’s finale of the 19th stage at the Tour de France. Early attacker Edvald Boasson Hagen outsmarted Nikias Arndt to solo to victory.
Now the caravan sets off in the southern French city to head for the historical town Sisteron. Its citadelle towers on a cliff above the houses, yet that’s no reason for the punchers to rejoice as the finish is somewhere else – at the end of a false flat, to be more accurate. Sisteron is renowned for its sprint stages. At the 2015 Critérium du Dauphiné, Nacer Bouhanni outpowered Jonas Van Genechten and Luka Mezgec.
Some 30 kilometres after the start in Salon-de-Provence the riders enter the Luberon Natural Park and at kilometre 48.1 they crest the first climb. This is merely to stretch the legs as shortly a more impressive mountain looms. The climb amounts to 13.3 kilometres and is averaging 6.1%. At kilometre 76.3 the riders reach the summit.
Following the descent a rolling upwards section of 18 kilometres continues to the highest point of the day at an altitude of 1,200 metres. Almost 60 kilometres left to race.
A long drop runs to two minor hurdles in quick succession. Not steep, yet these could easily break the rhythm of an attacking group. After the last hill the riders face 9 more kilometres, first on descent and then on the flat before the final 1.8 kilometres to the line go up at 2% – so that’s yet another false flat.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the two intermediate sprints (at kilometre 94.5 and at kilometre 156) come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Read also: results/race report 5th stage 2018 Paris-Nice.
Paris-Nice 2018 stage 5: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Salon-de-Provence and Sisteron at Google Maps