Sunday, December 5, 2021
HomeRaceRace ReviewsLe Tour de France 2015 - Stage 5; Limoges - Le Lioran....

Le Tour de France 2015 – Stage 5; Limoges – Le Lioran. Van Avermaet’s Joy and Jaune


Mont-Saint-Michel Man of the Flatlands, the multi talented Greg Van Avermaet (BMC & Belgium) pulls off a splendid ‘double’ on the first day of climbing; solo in the grand manner he wins the stage and takes the yellow jersey – and by the considerable margin of 05:11 on Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx & France) who remains second and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar & Spain) who’s in third spot.

All the favourites finish where we’d expect them to be albeit Alberto Contador loses 33 seconds as he’s tailed off in the last K – those war wounds still affecting him.

The pundits are saying it’s over for Contador; they have short memories, this is a man who never gives up – VeloVeritas states that categorically; ‘Alberto will be back!’

No complaints about the quality of the racing today, then – but some questionable tactics from Movistar…

Van Avermaet
Greg Van Avermaet gets his reward for a superb stage win. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

As yesterday, the first move to stick went 30 minutes in: nine riders went away – Cyril Gautier (AG2R-La Mondiale), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff), Andriy Grivko (Astana), Bartosz Huzarski (Bora-Argon 18), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Florian Vachon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept).

But not before polka dotted Trek chocolatier (his uncle and he have a chocolate shop, ed.), Jasper Stuyven nabbed the points on the early fourth cat. Côte de Saint-Léonard-du-Noblat.

The gap grew in a straight line on the graph paper zooming upwards; but Grivko, Van Avermaet, and De Gendt were greedy and wanted that time to themselves, accelerated away and by the first third cat. Côte de Puy Saint-Mary at 142 K covered – taken by De Gendt – they had 12 minutes on the peloton.

Van Avermaet
The peloton negotiates some beautiful terrain and some medium mountains which will make a big difference to the overall standings. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

Majka, Pauwels, Gautier, Huzarski, Vachon and Sicard meanwhile were sliding slowly backwards but still had 10 minutes and more on the peloton.

The end game begins at 40 K to go with the summit of the cat. 3 Col de Neronne – which is followed by two cat. 2’s and a final cat. 3.

On the approach to the Neronne it was Sky’s very own Terminator, Vasil Kiryienka the reigning World Time Trial Champion who was given the mission and began to chip those seconds back but De Gendt, Van Avermaet and Grivko were spelling nicely with the carrot for De Gendt being Stuyven’s polka dot jersey and for Van Avermaet the biggest prize of all – Sagan’s maillot jaune.

Van Avermaet
Sagan in yellow – for the last time this year? Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

The gap dips below 13 minutes now but it should be enough for the three to survive with 45 K still to ride.

De Gendt takes the points on the Neronne; that was always going to be the way of it – Movistar on point now with the gap closer to 11 than 12 minutes and the casualties mounting at the rear with each 100 metres covered.

Van Avermaet
Sky and Movistar were two teams with plan today. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

Next up is the Puy Mary and it’s plane crash stuff now in the peloton as Movistar turn the screw with the lead under nine minutes as Grivko pops from the break under De Gendt’s forcing – this is a real hill battle; no complaints about ‘sportivs’ today.

Cav’s long gone and now Sagan pops, Nibali eases up – no wonder, Movistar are frenzying.

De Gendt takes the points on the Puy Mary but it’s Van Avermaet who drops like a depth charge off the summit.

Pinot doesn’t look ‘easy’ in the peloton as Movistar continue to inflict the pain.

Sky is present in strength at the top with both of BMC’s ‘contenders’ – Porte and van Garderen – there, as is Contador.

The two leaders have seven minutes at the top.

Sagan meanwhile smiles to the fans on the climb – what a boy!

Van Avermaet
Peter Sagan knows he won’t be in yellow by the end of the stage. Photo©ASO/B.BadeDe Gendt and Van Avermaet are on the penultimate ascent, the Col du Perthus – it’s a video nasty, tough, steep, brutal.

Van Avermaet kicks and goes solo; death or glory for the man who’s season was compromised by that crash back in the spring – maybe the enforced rest did him good?

Behind it’s the ‘men all over the hill’ of cliché – for sure the ‘phoney war’ is over…

Van Avermaet dances upwards, he only needs to hang on to 19 seconds of his six minutes to be in yellow at the end.

Alaphilippe is hanging tough with the ‘Bigs’ group but looking anything but comfortable as Sky now turn it on – Nieve and Thomas drive.

Froome is still there – obviously; Porte, van Garderen, Quintana, Valverde, Aru, Martin, Kreuziger, Contador, Pinot, Kelderman, Yates, Bardet, Barguil, Rodriguez – the cream has risen today…

Van Avermaet
Contador hasn’t had it easy so far, but he is a fighter. Photo©Luca Bettini

Van Avermaet is over the top, just one climb to go for him – it looks like joy and jaune for GVA as he dives under the 10 K banner.

He’s on the valley road with 5:44 to spare and 7.4 K to ride including the Col de Font de Cère, which isn’t too savage after the two cols he’s just tackled – and he’s on the hill now.

Sky still ride tempo on the front but it’s not a killing pace and GVA has actually stretched his lead to six minutes.

Van Avermaet
Froome’s Sky team looked strong. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

Four K to go for the BMC man, De Gendt is in no man’s land but is riding steadily up towards more K of M points and the polka dot jersey, tomorrow – no panic from him and not a bad day’s work.

Van Avermaet tops the climb as Sky drive on; you have to question Movistar today – why drive like they did and burn the team up?

Van Avermaet
Van Avermaet takes a great win. Photo©ASO/G.Demouveaux

Van Avermaet is in the steep finish straight, he rises from the saddle, sprints, drives for the line, punches the air back to the team car, he’s ecstatic, arms high, punching the air – beautiful to see.

Van Avermaet
Stage winner Greg Van Avermaet. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

GVA/BMC the stage and yellow; a great day for the Belgian ‘Classics Specialist’ – who just happened to win Tirreno this year – and his BMC team.

Bardet attacks late from the leaders’ group, trying to pinch some seconds.

De Gendt finishes now for second spot and it should be ‘poids’ for him on the podium.

There’s the red kite for the lead group with Contador just off the back – still suffering from those early two crashes.

Majka finishes third, he’ll have garnered a few points in the K of M today – but amigo Contador loses a little time today.

A good day of racing at last and a great, classy winner – no complaints from VeloVeritas.

Van Avermaet
Mark Cavendish is in demand for autographs. Photo©ASO/O.Shabe
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 9: Arc-et-Senans – Besançon (ITT), 41.5km.

I guess I have to face up to it: it’s a black and blue – and yellow, world. I best get the hand of this ‘box ticking’ thing, then.

A Hard “Easy” Day: TdF Stage 10 (breakaway)

A Hard "Easy" Day. Yesterday was always going to be the day that the breakaway succeeded. The profile of the course and the stages on the days either side of it meant that neither the GC nor the sprinter teams would be interested. It wasn’t hard enough to separate the GC lads, but wasn’t easy enough for the sprinters to make it to the finish with the main bunch.

Le Tour de France – Day 6: Stage 18, Bourg D’Oisans to Saint-Etienne

Guten dag! We honoured Carlos yesterday, so we best pay tribute to Big Marcus today. It's been a great Tour for Columbia - and it's not over yet. We had to be flexible today, the plot was to do a bike feature - the top GC riders plus points and mountains leaders - but the start at Bourg-D'Oisans was so tight for space, with team buses in the village streets that there was no room for the team trucks. These went directly to the hotels at the finish in St. Etienne, so it wasn't the best day to bike skek.

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 6: Vesoul – Troyes, 216km. Kittel surprises with a late surge

It looked like a straight Arnaud Demare (FDJ & France) v. Andre Greipel (Lotto & Germany) shoot out in Troyes but Marcel Kittel (QuickStep & Germany), over on the bright side of the road, was way too quick for them both; Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data & Norway) hit out long and produced a good performance given he was stranded at the front so early, only being swamped late as Demare slid like an eel between the Norwegian and the barriers.

Le Tour de France 2012 – Second Rest Day

I hate to start with our Formule 1, again - but to emphasis the true glamour of being on le Tour, we're sharing lodgings with the race's cherry picker truck. I had to get up early to do a phone interview with Cameron Wurf, this morning. He's from Tassie; like the Sulzbergers and Richie Porte - did I ever tell you I had a Tasmanian Devil for a fiancée? No, some other time, then? Le Tour de France 2012 - Second Rest Day.

Are we ready yet? Are we ready yet? Can we start yet?

Are we ready yet. Two days out from the start of the Tour. The whole team has arrived at the hotel, and the Show is about to begin! It's very exciting, but not much is really going on.

At Random

Martin Coll – Part 1: Remembering ‘The Girvan’ and the Peace Race

The Girvan Three Day; a Scottish Easter racing institution but now late lamented – sunshine, ice, snow and everything else in between but whatever the weather it was never a race for the faint-hearted. Some of the biggest names in British bike racing have won over that tough South West Scotland parcours. Let’s go back to 1986; aforementioned Paul Curran is after his third win in the event – but Scotland’s Martin Coll has other ideas... We recently caught up with Martin at his home in Arizona to ‘talk a little Girvan’ and - the Peace Race.

Le Tour de France 2012 – High Speed & High Stakes

The Tour Prologue is one of the most High Speed & High Stakes stages in bike racing. 6.4km of maximum effort, with the winner being gifted with the Yellow Jersey at the end of the day. The value placed upon this for teams, sponsors and the riders themselves is truly enormous.

The Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship 2009

It took Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) just 51:33 to join the likes of Billy Bilsland, Graeme Obree and Jason MacIntyre on the roll of honour for the Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship on a warm but windy Sunday morning on the fast dual carriageway of the A90 Laurencekirk by-pass.

Dunfermline Road Race

Mountainbiker Euan Pope took the top spot in the Dunfermline Road Race, with a fine solo win. Second was Lewis Oliphant and third Richard Allan.

Steve Jones – Pro in Belgium in the 80’s; “You had to sell a few races to make ends meet!”

Steve Jones is one of the ‘forgotten men’ of 70’s and 80’s cycling but he was British Junior 25 Mile Time Trial Champion - a Dutch Champion too, a serial winner as an amateur on the roads of Belgium and The Netherlands, an Olympian, winner of the amateur version of the Trofeo Baracchi, a team mate of some of the sport’s biggest names and a professional for a decade. Oh yes, and he rode for Mr. Capper’s ANC team.

The Wait and Hope: Eneco Prologue

The Wait and Hope. Yesterday was the start of the Eneco Tour, a race through the Netherlands, Belgium and (I think) Luxembourg. It’s a week-long race on the Pro Tour circuit, meaning it is one of the handful of races through the year from which teams can accumulate Pro Tour points and enhance their ranking.