Tour de France: Stage Five Preview: Limoges – Le Lioran

The baroudeur-rouleurs will be licking their lips at the prospect of today’s 216-kilometre stage which runs from Limoges – Le Lioran.

Expect the first real attacks of the Tour as the riders attempt to deal with several categorised climbs including two category two monsters which could break the backs of the pure sprinters.

To Win Stage
Julian Alaphilippe 5/1 | Peter Sagan 11/2 | Alejandro Valverde 7/1 | Daniel Martin 11/1 | Tony Gallopin 20/1

The Contenders

Alejandro Valverde
Valverde is a definite contender on today's stage, even if he doesn't receive any support from his Movistar teammates, who are all committed to Nairo Quintanna's GC bid. The Spaniard has only claimed five stage victories on Grand Tours - one at this year's Giro and four further stage victories on the Tour in 2005, 2008 and 2012 - he could well be in with a shout today. 

Julian Alaphilippe
This is the perfect stage for the Ettixx-Quick-Step rider to claim his first Grand Tour stage win. He'll take to these short, sharp climbs like a fish to water and could well find himself in challenging for the win once the riders arrive Le Lioran - he also has a chance of claiming Yellow, the added incentive makes him a definite contender here.

Thomas Voeckler
Voeckler is another one to keep an eye on today. The Direct Energie rider currently finds himself 16' 34'' behind the overall leader at the moment and would have earmarked this stage when the route was revealed. Keep an eye on him, he could definitely add to his four stage wins today.

The Route
This will prove to be the first real test for the field as they exit Limoges to begin a fairly arduous journey toward le Lioran. The first mountain stage of the 2016 Tour de France boasts six categorised climbs including two horrible category two climbs. It’ll give us our first look into how the GC riders line up after the first testing stage. 

The first category two climb of the day will see the field tackle the Pas de Peyrol – a 5.4 kilometre-long climb at 8.1% . Following their ascent, the riders will descend for around 10 kilometres before they begin their next category two climb up the Col du Perthus. While not as nasty as the Pas de Peyrol, the riders will still need to deal with 4.4 kilometres of climbing at a gradient of 7.9%. This will be the first day where we’re likely to see the Peloton split up for extended periods of time.

Aside from the two category two climbs, there are three category three and a single category four climb to deal with. There are plenty of points on offer here for the climbers, but more importantly, this stage may offer Alberto Contador a way back into the race for the GC after his two falls on stage one and two. The Tinkoff rider sits 1' 06'' behind the current leader, Peter Sagan. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him attack near the end of the stage, forcing the likes of Team Sky and Movistar to try and chase him down. Whether or not the Spaniard has sustained more serious injuries - especially after the hard fall he took in stage one.

There is a single intermediate sprint, although I don’t think it’ll be contested by any of the riders vying for the Green Jersey as it arrives just a few hundred metres after the summit of the category three Côte du Puy Saint-Mary.

Verdict: Julian Alaphilippe 5/1
After a few near misses this year, I think Alaphilippe will be right up there come the end of stage five, provided today's breakaway is reeled back in. While he's priced up as the 5/1 favourite, he still offers magnificent value - get on!

Value Bet: Rui Costa or Thomas Voecklar - both are at 40/1
This sort of rolling stage will suit these guys perfectly and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see either one in today's breakaway group. At 40/1, there's no reason why you shouldn't have a small strike on each, they're both definite contenders for today.

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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