Tour de France 2014 Favourites stage 5: Mini Roubaix with many complexities
Wednesday, July 9th, 2014: One of the most highly anticipated stages of this year's Tour. We've already had a mini Liege-Bastogne-Liege in England, now it's time for a mini Paris-Roubaix. With 13 kilometres of the last 70 made up of cobbled sectors, we welcome the classics men back to the front while the GC men hope and pray to make it through unscathed. (Slideshow route/profile)
The last time the Tour contained cobbles, Cancellara dominated the stage but was doing so in the service of Andy Schleck, whom he dragged all the way to the finish to gain time on other GC riders like Contador. It was Thor Hushovd who won the stage however with Cancellara not really competing for victory. Fast forward to 2014, the younger Schleck is a shadow of his former self and something suggests the Swiss powerhouse may have free reign to go it alone. If he does, he’ll be difficult to stop.
Given his almost ludicrous strength on the cobbles, it’s only a matter of time before Vanmarcke faces the same criticisms as Peter Sagan regarding his lack of Monument wins. On the front all Spring, Vanmarcke will no doubt be looking for permission from his Belkin bosses to try his luck at a stage win. His first job for the day however, will likely be to protect Bauke Mollema and try to gain time on climbers like Froome. Mollema should be no slouch on this terrain so may see it as opportunity for some gains, in which case Vanmarcke may see his chances limited.
With no major GC ambitions (Kwiatkowski is not realistically a contender for the overall), Omega Pharma should be free to try and create a situation where one of their star men can win. Could it all be to Terpstra’s gain again?
Greg Van Avermaet
The 2014 Spring has passed and Van Avermaet is still the bridesmaid. Many say he deserved to win Flanders after making the race with a long distance attack, but the record books say he was out-sprinted to the line by a certain Fabian Cancellara. What we know about the Belgian however, is that he always comes back for more. If BMC allows him off the hook of protecting Tejay Van Garderen, he will certainly be on the attack again in stage 5 of the Tour. Finished second in the 2nd stage.
Tour de France 2014 Stage 5: Images and more
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