Today’s stage starts in Ypres in Belgium, a Flemish city near the French border. From there it’s off to Porte Hainaut. It’s a flat stage today but one that will terrify the GC men as it features seven sections of Paris-Roubaix cobbles, 13 kilometres in total and all in the latter part of the stage.
At first it were nine cobbled sectors in 15.4 kilometres but at the eleventh hour the organisation decided to skip Mons-en-Pévèle and Orchies to Beuvry-la-Forêt due to bad weather.
The last cobbled sector, the infamous Hélesmes a Wallers, ends with just 7 kilometres left to race. The longest cobbled sector today is the 3.7 kilometres stretch from Hornaing to Wandignies-Hamage, also coming in the last 20 kilometres of the stage.
Thor Hushovd won the last cobbled Tour stage in 2010 – a stage where many GC men lost time and where Fabian Cancellara famously dragged Andy Schleck all the way to the finish line in the front group.
It’ll be interesting to see how Froome, Contador, Nibali et al handle this one…
Tour de France 2014 Stage 5: Images and more
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