Tour de France: Stage Five: Vittel – La Planche des Belles Filles

Cyclist

Today represents the first summit finish on the 2017 Tour de France as the riders climb toward the summit of La Planche des Belles Filles.

This is the one we’ve all been waiting for: the first summit finish of this year’s Tour will see the riders finish in the category 1 La Planche des Belles Filles. Yesterday’s stage was full of controversy as Peter Sagan was DQ’d from the Tour following an elbow in the sprint at the end of the stage all but ended Mark Cavendish’s Tour.

We’re likely to see a new man in yellow today if Geraint Thomas isn’t able to keep up with the pace up the final climb. The stage is set for one of the big GC contenders to have a go, whether or not one of them will attack this early remains to be seen.

To Win Stage
Chris Froome 3/1, Richie Porte 35/10 | Daniel Martin 12/1 | Fabio Aru 12/1 | Nairo Quintana 16/1 

The Contenders

Chris Froome
You can never rule out an early attack from the Brit who will be desperately keen to put more time between himself and Richie Porte. He’s shown in the past that he’s not afraid to go early on in the Tour and is well worth keeping an eye on today at 3/1.

Nairo Quintana
The little Columbian is an absolute machine when it comes to these sort of climbs and may well fancy a little attack today to keep the likes of Froome and Porte on their toes. If he does win, I don’t think he’ll put much time between himself and the other big GQ contenders. At 16/1, you don’t want to rule him out.

Thibaut Pinot
The Frenchman has shown in the past how good he can be on the climbs although he has struggled for consistency in the past. Many pundits have pointed to his participation in the Giro suggesting that he is here to grab a stage or two as opposed to pushing for the GC. He won a stage on L'Alpe d'Huez in 2015 and may target an early stage while the legs are still relatively fresh.

Stage Five Tour de France Profile


The Route
This is an absolute belter of a stage with a cracking mountain finish that kicks up to a 20% gradient just before the finish. We could well see a new rider in Yellow come this evening with Geraint Thomas riding to protect Froome – if a breakaway of non-GC contenders survives.

The one intermediate sprint comes in at 102.5 kilometres into the stage just before the single category three climb up the Côte d'Esmoulières. This climb shouldn’t really have too many of the sprinters struggling at just 2.3 kilometres.

The big test will come over the last 8.5 kilometres as the riders ascend up La Planche des Belles Filles. This particular mountain will evoke pretty happy memories for Chris Froome and Thibaut Pinot, who have both finished strongly at the summit in the past. It won’t be easy, however, with the final part of the climb kicking up to a gradient of 20%.

That said, this could be the first day that we see a breakaway succeed, especially if someone like Rafal Majka gets away. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider will no doubt be targeting the King of the Mountains classification but has no real prospects of challenging for the GQ. Definitely, someone to have a flutter on today.

Verdict: Froome to finish ahead of Porte (match-ups) 8/10
I’d like to back Froome to win the stage outright; he’s shown that he’s not afraid to attack early on putting decent chunks of time between himself and his GC rivals before grinding his way to tour victory. Back him to finish ahead of his nearest rival today at 8/10. 

Value Bet: Thibaut Pinot 40/1
As mentioned earlier, the FDJ rider isn’t really here for a prolonged assault but rather for stage victories. He battled a bit on the bigger HC climbs last year and will see the category 1 climb before the finish today as an excellent opportunity to grab his third stage win. 

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.net

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