Mathieu van der Poel is the big favourite, John Degenkolb drives over a piece of cobblestone named after him. The fifth stage of the tour offers plenty of material for stories.
All teams have marked the fifth stage of the 109th Tour de France in their road books. The cobblestone passages in the north of France please the specialists and annoy the classification drivers. It is 153.7 kilometers from Lille to the infamous Arenberg forest.
John Degenkolb is one of a kind. As the only active professional, the 2015 Roubaix winner was given the honor of having a cobblestone passage named after him. The stage on Wednesday also leads over part of the Degenkolb pavé. The 2.8-kilometer section is the hardest of the eleven pavés. A total of 19.4 kilometers lead over cobblestones.
Van der Poels Hoffnung:
So far, Mathieu van der Poel has held back. But there should be no stopping the Dutch star on the cobblestones. His goal isn’t just to win a stage. The cross specialist is also hoping for the yellow jersey, just 38 seconds behind leader Wout van Aert.
In order to get over the rough pavement, the UAE team had nominated Matteo Trentin for the tour. The Italian was supposed to protect Tadej Pogacar on the stage. However, Trentin had to withdraw shortly before the start of the tour because of a positive corona test. That could be a problem for Pogacar, because there is no equivalent helper on this terrain in the squad. On the other hand, the defending champion showed in the spring that he can also drive well on cobblestones.